Trish and David Palmer have proved that you can meet the love of your life just about anywhere. They were random players in the online game Words With Friends, and struck up a conversation (and relationship) that way. Despite living across the country from each other, they met, fell in love, and got married.
Can the same thing happen to you? While the Scrabble-like game certainly isn't a dating service, there are several lessons from the Palmers experience that you can apply to your own life.
Use Small Talk as a Way to Find Out More About the Other Person
David (52) and Trish (41) were connected together by the online game's random opponent feature. After a few rounds of the word game, Trish started the small talk ball rolling by asking David where he was from. She lived in Rhode Island and he lived in Houston. Trish said that their conversation went from "Simple, really basic "how do you do" stuff" to more meaningful questions.
Small talk isn't just something that fills time between strangers. If you use it correctly it will help you find out about the person you're interested in. If you navigate small talk properly, you'll be able to tell if you have enough in common with someone to go out with them.
Find Out What You Have in Common
Discovering the commonalities between you both can make you click that much faster. Trish and David found out they each "both left marriages after 18 years and had two children," so they had similar life paths they could talk about and share.
They were also able to talk about their divorce. David told Trish, "I went through it, mine was horrible. But if you have any questions, let me know, I'd be happy to talk to you."
He offered up his divorce as expertise he could share with her, rather than using it as a sticking point to complain about. One mistake midlife daters sometimes make is being too negative about their previous relationships, so David's example is a good one to follow.
Take Time to Get to Know Each Other
Obviously, Trish and David didn't get married the minute they met online. At first, their communication was done solely while they were playing Words With Friends. As time went on, they got to know each other over time by texting and emailing.
It wasn't just a few emails, either. Trish says that "The first month that he and I started texting each other, I had over 9,000 texts."
Be Your Unique Self
You can show your personality even when you meet someone online. David and Trish admit that they were attracted to each other even before they met. David says, "It was just a matter of how refreshing she was."
Keep this in mind when emailing someone you meet. Insert your personality into your online profile (if you use a dating site), and make sure the emails you send are penned in the same tone you use while chatting with your friends so you sound like your genuine self.
Meet in Person and Reassess Your Feelings
Developing an online rapport is one thing, but in order for a relationship to happen you have to meet in person. Trish and David first met in Texas when she flew out to see him in October 2010.
Don't worry if things are a little awkward at first. After all, even though you're comfortable chatting online, you'll need to give yourself time to click in person. David admits, "We had a terribly awkward first kiss. I think I missed half of her mouth and got her nose."
If things are a little weird at first, give each other time to adjust. Trish and David got past that first kiss and met several times after that. Eventually, in June 2011, they planned to have their kids meet during a family vacation in Disneyworld.
David had been looking for jobs, and found one close to where Trish lived in Rhode Island. He had made the decision to move, and they set a date for the wedding. Trish's lucky number is 11, so what else could their wedding date be but 11/11/11!
Trish and David are a good reminder for any midlifer out there looking for a genuine relationship that there is someone out there who wants love as much as you do, and you'll never know where you end up finding them.