Ten years ago, Jaine Nelson, a former teacher from Dr. Phillips, decided to take a leap of faith. After being married for fifteen years, and then going through a devastating divorce, she chose to take the plunge back into the dating scene.
A lot of people wanted to set her up on blind dates. Through several attempts, she maintained a healthy attitude. “My policy toward dating was that if we didn’t click, I’d at least have a nice evening,” Jaine says.
As a mom, she realized that whomever she met would have to take on a lot. “I’m a package deal. I came with three kids,” Jaine says.
After having little success, one of her friends had an idea: online dating. She suggested E-Harmony. “My friend said, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun if we were both matched up?’ By that time I was done with blind dates and being fixed up,” says Jaine.
Once Upon a Time
The site required Jaine to answer about 450 in-depth questions to find her a match. “I decided to be brutally honest. I had nothing to lose. By answering all those questions, you really recognize who you are. It took all weekend,” she says.
Knowing the online dating company provides its own idea of the person it thinks you should be matched with, Jaine assumed she would find someone close by. At first, it hunted the immediate area. Then the site came back to her and suggested she expand her search, so she went beyond Central Florida to encompass meeting someone from within the entire state. It still wasn’t enough as it was suggested that Jaine expand her search even further. “So I put in for other states. I only got one match. They sent me someone from Minneapolis,” she says. Her friend saw the photo of the man and told Jaine he looked perfect for her.
At the same time, Bill Nelson, a public relations and business consultant, was searching for the perfect woman. He had two adult children from his first marriage and had been through a difficult divorce. Bill knew he was finally ready to meet someone. “I’d spent two years dating but had no luck. In 2004, online dating was just beginning to explode,” he says. “It was a great resource for someone who had just gotten divorced. It offered a new avenue for how someone can meet.”
A match was found, but in Florida. No problem, he thought. He wanted to take the chance, so he began communications. “Both of us were very honest with each other. First you have to be honest with yourself, then in your communication. I talked about my true feelings and she was honest with me. This provides an authenticity that comes from the relationship,” Bill says.
Knowing honesty really was their best policy, they got to know each other for who they really were. “This was the secret to our success,” Bill says.
In fact, their communication was so successful, Bill felt blessed. “I felt it was a direct link from my soul into Jaine as we were communicating. We felt this intense connection,” Bill says.
What started as communication through the dating service turned into e-mails, snail mail letters and phone calls. “First it was one e-mail a day, then three, then five, then we were talking constantly. Then we said, ‘Well, let’s talk on the phone,’” says Jaine. Their first conversation led to a phone call once a day.
Then came time to meet face to face. “By the time we met, I knew him better than anyone in my life,” Jaine says. “Unless I was completely off, I knew this was the guy for me.”
Both were nervous but they decided it would be best for Bill to come down to Florida. “My cousin said, ‘If he wants to stay with you, he is a loser. If he is a gentleman, he’ll ask you for hotels close by,’” says Jaine. Needless to say, Bill passed all the tests.
With their theme of honesty continuing, Bill landed right in the middle of a family function. “Our first date was my son’s six grade graduation that June. He sat between me and my ex,” says Jaine.
After the graduation, they went to a party at Jaine’s best friend’s home. Her friend, after meeting Bill, gave Jaine a thumbs up. Then, the most important test was meeting the kids. Bill says, “We take the feelings of our kids very seriously. The kids were part of the courting experience.”
“I knew if my kids liked him, that was a really good sign. Meeting him was the final component to see if there was that chemistry,” Jaine says.
And They Lived Happily Ever After
“Jaine is so grateful for the online dating site because she found Bill, who is just the right man for her. She would never have been able to meet him on her own with Bill in Minnesota. They’ve beautifully tied their lives and families together. What a success story,” Darcy Lessel, a friend of the couple, says.
After they got married in 2005, they would tell people they met on E-Harmony. “They’d say, ‘Wow, really?’” Bill says. Offering advice for others who want to take the plunge into online dating, Jaine says, “Fill out the questionnaire honestly.”
Bill took on the move to Florida gladly. Both work from home, with Jaine now working as a travel agent with her own company. “The fact that we met online and being 1,500 miles away, was a miracle, a divine thing” Bill says.
Jaine adds, “We love our story.”