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I Met My Soon-To-Be-Husband While Using Tinder Abroad

'If this is the right relationship for me, it will flourish; if not, then it will be a good story to tell.'
PHOTO: Nick Onken

We’ve all heard about friends finding love online. While I’m optimistic about the possibility of finding love through an app, I’m also cautious. When I tried Tinder for myself, I really just wanted to see what it was like. I never expected to find my would-be husband through it.

I work in IT, and I often visit Dublin, Ireland for work. On one particular trip there in 2013, a friend told me about her visits to Whitefriar Street Church, where the remains of St. Valentine lie. She used to frequent this church and write a petition to help her find love, and after several visits to this church, she met her now-husband.

Fast-forward to 2015. I was at that point in my life where I had everything I could hope for: family, friends, and a well-paying job. But still, I longed to have that special someone. So when I found myself in Ireland again in October 2015, I went to Whitefriar Street Church and did what my friend did: I wrote a petition for God to grant me a lifetime partner.

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That trip to Ireland in October was supposed to last only two weeks, but my boss asked me if I could extend one more week, to which I said yes.

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A few days before I was finally flying home, I turned on the phone I use in the Philippines to upload photos, and these Tinder notifications came in. I don’t check Tinder often and I normally just leave it in the background for when I’m bored, but that day, I saw that someone had “super liked” me. It was an Irish guy named Mick*. The super like function had just been introduced, and you were supposed to use it only for people you super liked, obviously. Curious, I pinged him back and said, “Hiya Mick!” He responded in seconds!

Mick was very polite and very funny. We were just casually talking, but I already found myself being drawn to his wit and humor.

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The next day, we talked on the phone while I did some last-minute packing. I told him I had to go out and get to the city center to buy pasalubong before the shops close. He then invited me to go to Stephen’s Green, a park known for being a romantic place filled with handholding couples and wedding photo shoots, but I declined, knowing the park’s reputation. Before hanging up, he asked again if we could meet up, and I found his persistence cute. So I relented and agreed to meet him for coffee—what could go wrong, right?

After a few snags—he was late because his washing machine at home had overflowed, and we missed each other at our initial meeting place—I finally met him, and all the earlier hassles were worth it. He was exactly how I envisioned him in person.

As we walked to the coffee shop, he pointed out sights and offered commentary on the local culture. By the time we had finished our coffee, I was having a really good time. He suggested going to Stephen’s Green again, and I finally agreed because I wanted to spend more time with him.

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At the park, he told me about the famous Irish figures depicted in the statues. As we passed by one of the statues, he suddenly kissed me. I was surprised, but I went ahead and kissed him back. Soon after, we were holding hands.

Everything—from our conversations to the kiss—just seemed to fall in place between us. It felt like we had known each other for years. I knew then that I wanted to give what we had a chance, despite the distance that would soon come between us.

Before I left Ireland, Mick and I went to Whitefriar Street Church together to write a thank you message and a petition to keep us together. I thought to myself, “If this is the right relationship for me, it will flourish; if not, then it will be a good story to tell.”

When I left Ireland, I cried on the plane. I wanted it to work with Mick, but at the same time, I had to prepare myself for the possibility that he’d give up on our relationship because of the distance.

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But Mick turned out to be one of the most persistent people I know. He told his family about me soon after I left for Manila. He didn’t hold anything back from me; from the onset we were very open about our feelings and expectations. Our doubts as to whether the relationship would work diminished as our calls and e-mails to each other got longer and longer. I had never felt more secure in any romantic relationship than in the one I had with him.

Mick and I had planned to go to Bohol in May this year, but he ended up flying with me to Batanes in March instead for the wedding of my friend—the same one who had told me about Whitefriar Street Church. I still had my mind set on visiting Bohol after Batanes, but for some reason Mick suddenly changed his mind and scrapped Bohol for El Nido. I had no complaints, though!

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One night on our El Nido trip, we were getting ready for dinner at our hotel room when I noticed that Mick was pushing me to hurry up. He kept leaving the room, saying he wanted to check something outside. He even left for dinner ahead of me, which kind of pissed me off. But when I discovered what he was up to, I was very happy. He had surprised me with a dinner area set up just for the two of us, where we were served a fantastic five-course meal.

And then dessert came. While I was eating my ice cream, Mick kept urging me to get a second serving, so I did. Once I was on my second cup, I dug into the ice cream with my spoon and felt the spoon hit something hard. I scooped it out to see what it was. It was a ring!

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I looked at Mick, and he was kneeling on one knee on the ground. He told me that the past few weeks were amazing and that there was no one like me, no one he would rather share his life with. “I know I want to be with you forever and you are the one I want in my life,” he said. “Annie, will you marry me?”

I said yes, of course!

Soon after, I went back to Ireland to meet Mick’s friends and family. It felt good knowing that we had the support of those closest to us. Now, we’re counting down the months until our wedding in Ireland next year, but more than that, we’re looking forward to finally getting to talk to each other face to face for the rest of our lives—without varying time zones, without dropped calls, without being apart.

My experience with Mick has taught me that you have to trust God in everything—even in your love life. It sounds quaint, but for me, it worked.

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Sure, Mick and I met through Tinder, but Tinder is just a tool for meeting people. Whether you meet online or offline, a good relationship starts with knowing who you are and what you want. If you’re true to yourself and someone loves you, then he loves the real you. And the man who loves the real you will always go the extra mile to keep you.

Finally, I learned that you can only attract what you are; a happy person will always attract another happy person. It took me 31 years to get to such a state, to be emotionally ready for a relationship that I used to only daydream about. For it to unfold while I am wide awake is an amazing thing.

*Names have been changed.