Terri and Joel: “JDate worked for me!”
I’d like to give everyone on JDate some advice: don’t give up, even if you get discouraged at times! JDate worked for me. After having being on JDate for many years following my divorce, I suddenly found Joel, my soul mate. We got engaged just six weeks later, and married thirteen months after that! After meeting so many men who were not right for me, when my perfect match, my Beshert, “The One” came along, I just knew it! I never even knew what the term “soul mate” meant until I met Joel! Even though I sometimes got discouraged at how long I was on JDate, I didn’t give up, because I knew there would be even less of a chance of meeting my “Mr. Wonderful.” In retrospect, it is very clear to me now that the reason I was on JDate for so long was because I was meant to meet Joel, my true soul mate, and he wasn’t on JDate for all those years while I was searching for “The One.”
Although I had been on JDate for many years, Joel had just joined JDate a few days earlier at the urging of his then 15-year old daughter. Even if he had been on the site for longer, he never would have come up in any of my searches because he is nine years younger than I am, and my searches never went beyond a few years younger than myself. I had been through many “dry periods,” when I didn’t have anyone from JDate to communicate with, but in December 2010, I happened to have had several men who I had talked on the phone and was planning to meet during my school vacation the following week. I had actually made a list so I would remember the details I had learned from conversations with each of them, hoping I would finally click with someone after years of dating. Then I received an IM with five words that were to change my life: “Hi, I’m Joel from Huntington.” We chatted on IM and talked on the phone for four days leading up to our first date on December 24, 2010. When Joel had asked me where I would like to meet for dinner, I told him something I had never told any other JDater®: I told him I wanted to go someplace special because I was hoping it was going to turn into a long-term relationship, and I wanted to have a nice restaurant be the place we would always remember meeting at!
I knew instantly that there was something very special about Joel. I could tell he was the nicest, sweetest, most sincere man I had ever met, and we wanted the same things out of life! We had so much in common, and our daughters (who are a month apart in age) also had so much in common! We talked practically all night and didn’t want our date to end. The next day, I called all the other JDaters on my list to cancel my dates with them, and threw away the list! While Joel fell in love with me right away, it took me slightly longer (two weeks!) to be sure I was in love with him! I’m so glad I had decided to answer Joel’s IM, even though he was much younger than I had written in my search criteria (and his divorce was not yet finalized, which I had had some negative experiences with in the past). But, when he told me he never drinks because he has epilepsy, I knew at least drinking wouldn’t be a problem (I do not like to drink). I am so glad I kept an open mind about the other two issues!
Throughout my many years on JDate, I made it a rule not to introduce my kids to my date’s kids unless we had been dating for a while and I thought it was going to be a long-term relationship. However, things progressed quickly with Joel because he said his daughter sings in his temple choir and would love to join the same chapter of Hazamir (international Jewish high school choir) that my daughter was in, so we knew the girls would be meeting anyway during rehearsals. We decided to go out to lunch with our kids and have them officially meet less than two weeks after our first date. Our daughters immediately clicked, and started talking about how cool it would be if we got married! A couple of weeks later, Joel and I started talking about getting engaged, but figured our family and friends would think we had lost our minds if we got engaged so fast (especially since Joel’s ex-wife hadn’t even signed the divorce papers yet)! We decided we would wait a few months before getting engaged.
However, two weeks later we were invited to Joel’s sister’s house with our kids. To make conversation, I asked her how she met her husband. She wasn’t aware that Joel and I had met six weeks earlier, and Joel didn’t remember the details of his older sister’s courtship, but when she mentioned getting engaged after six weeks, and that her husband’s divorce hadn’t been final yet when they got engaged, Joel and I looked at each other and smiled. I said, “Six weeks?!!! You know, Joel and I met six weeks ago!” That was all our daughters needed to hear to ignite a spark! They asked Joel if they could talk to him in private so they could put their Disney-like plan into action. Believe it or not, they were successful at convincing Joel that six weeks was not too soon to get engaged, and that he should buy a ring that afternoon so he could propose the next day (which would be Valentine’s Day)! Everything went according to plan, and Joel and I were engaged six weeks after we first met! It was like a dream come true for us, as well as for our kids! Our daughters immediately started feeling like best friends and sisters from the minute we got engaged! We’re so lucky to have complete support from all four of our kids, as well as from our parents, siblings, and other family members.
As soon as we got engaged our daughters asked me what kind of wedding I wanted to have. When I said I wanted to find out if it’s “appropriate” to have a big wedding for a second marriage, Joel’s daughter, Laura, said, “Why not? Isn’t MY dad just as important as Rachel’s dad?” When she put it that way, I realized that a wedding celebrates a marriage, and I’m marrying the man of my dreams so there’s no reason I can’t have a big storybook-like wedding! A year and a month later, we had the big storybook wedding with, as Joel put it, 200 of our closest family and friends there to share in the happily-ever-after, and the new beginning of our blended family!
Our parents walked us down the aisle to the chuppah for a beautiful ceremony. The huge smiles on their faces showed how happy they all are that their children have at last found true happiness. During the reception, the DJ announced we would be doing a special “Bonus Family Dance,” during which our newly-blended family of six would switch dance partners! While I danced with my 20-year old son, Jason, Joel danced with his 16-year old daughter, Laura, and my 16-year old daughter, Rachel, danced with her new 12-year old “bonus brother,” Joey. Then I danced with Joey while Joel danced with Rachel, and Jason danced with his new “bonus sister,” Laura.
Rachel, my maid of honor, and Laura, Joel’s “best woman,” sang a duet of “One in a Million” at our wedding. The chorus of that song describes our feelings perfectly: “They say that good things take time, but really GREAT things happen in the blink of an eye. Thought the chances to meet somebody like you were a million to one…I cannot believe it…Oh, you’re one in a million!” It was SO true with us! I feel as though I’m living in my own Hallmark love story movie, but it’s real! Laura gave a wonderful and touching “best woman” toast describing how special our blended family is and how much she appreciates that my family and I have welcomed not only Joel, but Laura and Joey into the family as well. Rachel introduced and presented a beautiful and amazing montage she created with lots of love with pictures and videos set to music chronicling our blended family’s first fifteen months together. Needless to say, the speeches, songs, and montage brought many tears of joy! In fact, it’s been four months since our wedding day, and I still get emotional when I listen to the music of our first dance, watch our wedding video and montage, or tell people about our wedding! (Yes, I’m a hopeless romantic!)
I never imagined it was possible to be this happy every single day of my life! My two children and my two “bonus” children all get along great, and we’re all so happy and thankful for JDate! Our family, friends and colleagues are continually making comments about how happy we both look, and how they have never seen either of us smile so much in our entire lives! Some of the comments my friends have made is that I’m like a teenager in love, and that I look and act like I’m living on “Planet Ecstasy!” A nurse in a doctor’s office was in tears as she told me how my story gives her hope and inspiration that her 35-year old daughter will also be able to find true love and happiness like I have been lucky enough to find with the help of JDate!
I could go on and on talking about our JDate Success Story; it’s my favorite topic of conversation! I wish everyone could be this happy! I like to share my story with singles so they can believe if it happened to me, it can happen to them, too! Dreams really do come true. When I had first told one of my friends at work that I wanted a big wedding (even though it’s a second marriage for both of us) because I wanted all my friends and family to see how happy we are and share in our happiness, she said, “Terri, we all KNOW how happy you are! We see it in your face every single day and we’re all thrilled for you!”
Although we’ve had our share of bumps in the road (which I’m sure is to be expected when two families blend to become one), Joel and I are absolutely sure that we have found our true soul mates! Joel is everything (and so much more!) I’ve ever dreamed of having in a husband, best friend, and partner for life! We both can’t believe how lucky we were to have found each other! I feel like I found the “Fountain of Youth,” because I feel more like I’m 21 than 51! If it weren’t for JDate, I’m pretty certain our paths never would have crossed. We tell and show each other so many times every single day how much we love each other! We both agree we are perfect for each other, or, as Yenta the Matchmaker would say, “It’s a perfect match!” Rachel keeps on saying how I really should write a script for a Hallmark movie based on our very own true love story! Maybe I will…I already thought of a perfect title for our story, but it’s a secret for now!
Terri and Joel
Commack, New York