How We Met

It all began with a combined total of well over 100 horrible dates. On the brink of taking a break from the dating scene, we both decided to give one more date a shot. We met online sometime in mid March 2007 thanks to the wonderful world of JDate, where all single Jews go to find love (and lots of crazy experiences to get there!).

Talking online and on the phone shortly after for about two weeks, we decided it was time to go on a date. So many times we have both made that next step, where we get along great with someone online and on the phone, but in person it's a whole different story, so to us, this was to be another one of those times.

With Stacey living in Manhattan and Matt in Connecticut, it only made sense to meet somewhere in Manhattan. In the beginning of this Jdate thing, you wanted to go to nice places for your first date, do nice things, but after well over 100 you realize it has nothing to do with the place and everything to do with the people.

Our date decision took us to Dave and Busters in Times Square. D&B is a huge arcade/restaurant chain, and we figured its a place we can go and eat and have a good time playing video games and still be able to interact with each other.

The date was April 6, 2007. I remember waiting in the lobby of D&B looking at every girl walking in to see if it was Stacey and to see if I could pick her out from her pictures online because almost all the people online look nothing like their pictures in person. In she walks, and no lie, my heart sank - she didn't look a lot like her picture, but enough to tell it was her. She was much more beautiful in person, and immediately friendly and a smile came across my face and didn't leave until the date was over.

D&B closes its restaurant side at 10 and turns into a bar/arcade, so unless you are accompanied by an adult, at 10, no one under 21 is allowed. While waiting in line, this young black girl, probably about 18 was turned away from the door because it was just about 10. Before Stacey and I could even get a full conversation going, the girl asked us if we could accompany her in. Without hesitating we both said sure no problem. When we got to the front of the line with her the bouncer told her she had to leave, and then she quickly said no, this is my brother, without missing a beat Stacey chimed in and said half brother, and I went back and said yeah my dad remarried her mom. The bouncer looked at us, with no belief, but still let us all in. From that little stunt, I knew Stacey and I would get along great.

We started out with dinner, where conversation just flowed and everything felt natural. We then headed to the arcade where we played everything from air hockey to driving games and we never stopped talking, smiling and laughing. On our way out, we still had some points left on our game cards and wanted to waste them. There was a photobooth where it takes both of your pictures and prints out what your child would look like, or you can do fun ones like animals and aliens. We got two pictures done, a son and a daughter, neither which look anything like either of us, but it was still fun to do and a great keepsake that we still have after all these years.

After leaving D&B's Stacey walked me to Grand Central so I could catch my train. Getting there about 30 minutes early, we grabbed a seat on the floor on the terminal and immediately Stacey interlocked her arm with mine and it felt entirely natural. We continued to talk right up until I had to catch the train. We said goodnight and parted ways. On the train I couldn't stop smiling. Shortly after leaving, Stacey sent me a text message thanking me again for the date and saying she had a great time. The fact that conversation flowed all night, there was an attraction, how well we got along and she waited with me in Grand Central, I knew this was going to be the start of something special and I could not wait to ask her out on a second date.

A little fun fact we learned when my sister and her husband got engaged, their first date was also at Dave and Busters and they also met on JDate.

Dating

The day after our first date, I was on the phone planning a second one. I know you're supposed to wait a few days, and not look anxious, but I was anxious to see her again and couldn't wait. It seemed like she felt the same way.

The second date was another low key one in Manhattan, but it introduced us to someone who would play a small, but reoccuring, special role in our relationship.

We started out at a bar, having a few drinks, talking and we got to spend a little time with one of my closest childhood friends, Jeff. He met us at the bar and immediately gave Stacey the stamp of approval, which meant a lot because he was subject to meeting a few of my bad dates and hearing about all the rest. Jeff pointed us to a nice Italian restaurant for dinner and we all parted ways.

Stacey and I were walking, holding hands, when we heard this high pitched, soft voice walk past us and say "Look at you two in love!", we turn around, and there he/she was - our gay, black, transvestite, gaurdian angel as Stacey likes to call him. We smiled at him and kept walking and talked about how strange that was. Little did we know that wouldn't be our last run in with him.

After the second date, I knew in my head, Stacey would be the girl I would marry, I had no doubts.

We continued going on dates through the next month, each one getting better then the last but we still had not made our relationship offical as boyfriend and girlfriend. We talked about it, but nothing ever came of the talks. On May 30th, 2007 I was in the city with 3 of my friends to go see Roger Waters (of Pink Floyd fame - start learning some floyd wedding band!) at MSG. Stacey came along, having no idea who he was, but was a good sport about it. After the amazing show, we headed back to her apartment. When I walked into her room, there was a build-a-bear sitting on her bed, dressed like me with a T-shirt on that said I Can't Bear Not To Be With You! Attached to it was a little note that said "I wouldn't want to be with anyone else, be my boyfriend!" It was finally official and I was so happy! I still carry that note around with me everywhere I go in my wallet. The very next day she was leaving for family vacation in Greece for 10 days. During her time away, I emailed her every second I could, which was a good way to deal with how much I missed her!

We continued our relationship doing lots of things together, and a lot of the time we also found comfort in just sitting around watching tv and enjoying each others company. One night, about 6 months into the relationship, we were heading home from a movie, walking holding hands, in the pouring rain when standing front of us was our gay, black, transvestite, gaurdian angel. He looks at the both of us and then looks at me and says "mmmm hmmm honey, you better marry that one!"

We went on so many trips, events and excursions together, filming in NH, Mystic and RI, the catskills cabin, Jamaica, Florida, Bar Mitzvah's, Weddings, Surprise birthday parties, etc but one stands out the most - going to PA to pick up Bradley, our dog for the first time. The trip was planned out as a weekend get away, spend saturday at an amusement park and sunday we would get Bradley. The reason this trip stands out is because I truly feel this is when we really felt like we belonged together forever. Picking up Bradley made us feel like a family (of sorts) and complete. After this trip, when either one of us were apart, we didn't feel whole and it didn't seem right. This was he turning point in our relationship that really brought us up to the next level.

Although we have never had any true problems in our relationship and hardly ever fight (and when we argue it lasts for all of 2 seconds), there has been doubt at times. About 6 months ago Stacey was doubting how I felt about her and our relationship, and both of us being into saying prayers, she asked for sign - and sure enough she got one in the form of our gay, transvestite, guardian angel. After running into him again, all doubt left her head and soon we were talking about marriage.

We had originally planned to get engaged in the fall, but unfortunately it was just impossible to do and before we knew it, it was winter. Stacey has been planning to move to CT for me once her lease was up on her apartment in August of 2009, so we wanted to get married no later than December so this way she wasn't living alone for more than a few months, plus we couldn't wait to start our life together. With planning for a wedding underway due to time constraints and personal issues, there was still no ring and no engagement, and again Stacey started doubting my commitment in this relationship, little did she know I had the ring and was scheming on how to surprise her, since she knew too much information as it was.

Since we hadn't got engaged yet, again she was starting to doubt if I even wanted to marry her. She turned to g-d and again asked for a sign. Stacey was walking to work and got stopped at an intersection waiting for all the cars to pass so she could cross. Thats when she noticed, standing right next to her was the gay, transvestite, guardian angel. He looked at her and gave her a huge smile that put her at ease. That night we got engaged.

The Engagement

It was Januray 22nd, 2009. Stacey and I had planned on a weekend trip to Disney with my brother, sister and brother in law to celebrate Scott, my brother in law's 30th birthday. I knew Stacey expected me to propose in Disney, for awhile, that's all she talked about, so I decided it would be a perfect opportunity to surprise her.

Our flight was leaving from JFK early in the morning, so Stacey was expecting me to stay over that night so we can leave at 5:30am. Normally when I would stay at Stacey's I would take an early train and spend the day at her apartment while she was at work, but if she knew I was going to be there all day it wouldn't be much of a surprise.

I concocted a story that I had all these videos I needed to get in the mail before we left for the weekend and that I probably wouldn't be at her apartment until 7 or more. I even talked about dinner plans with her and had her schedule us to go see a wedding band perform to make sure she had no idea.

Meanwhile I have been chatting with her best friend (and maid of honor), Melanie about my plans to surprise her. I enlisted Melanie to not only help with the whole thing, but to be there as our official photographer because I knew it would be great to capture the moment and mean that much more to Stacey to have Mel there to experience the moment as well.

I ordered 72 square votive candle holders and candles, 2 dozen roses, rose petals, heart shaped petals that say I Love You and I packed away a nice suit.

The morning of the big day I got online and told Stacey I had so much to do, but most of the computer work was automated so I would use that time to pack, get a haircut and run odd end errands - but I really was on the train to ny. I got in about 12pm and started decorating. While in Manhattan, I got lunch, got a haircut, watched some TV, took a nap - all the while Stacey thought I was still home plugging away on these DVDs.

Stacey gets out of work at 6 usually and is home at the latest 6:30, I told her my train came in at 6:30 and I would be to her place no later than 7. I told Mel to come over around 5:30 to get into place incase Stacey somehow got out of work early.

Mel arrived around 5:00, we had a drink together, talked all about the plans, she calmed me down as I was pretty nervous something would go wrong, and then there it was. 6:00. My heart started pounding. I decided to make sure Stacey was leaving ontime by texting her some bull about passing through White Plains on the train and asking her what she was doing. She came back with, ugh I was all ready to leave and now I have some work to do.

I pannicked! I didn't think it would work, if she knew I got in first the surprise would be gone, but Mel calmed me down and soon enough I got a text message from Stacey around 6:20 saying she was leaving. Of course I answered back I am almost in grand central and made up some story about a smelly old guy sitting next to me to make it more believable.

In her doorway, leading into the apartment, I lined a "runway" of candles on either side, covered with rose petals. I was at the end on one knee with the ring out and box open ready to propose. I heard the door handle shake, my heart sank as the door slowly opened up. As soon as she saw me, she started to tear up. Mel, who Stacey didn't see at first snapped pictures away as Stacey, crying walked towards me. I grabbed her hand and starts speaking - I wish I could remember what I said verbatim, but it was such a fog, so here is the jist; I said, Stacey, I love you so much, We have been doing long distance for way too long. I need to be able to go to bed at night and say goodnight to you in person every night, I need to be able to wake up in the middle of the night during a bad dream and see you laying there letting me know everything is alright, I need to wake up to your beautiful face every morning. I can't imagine ever spending another day apart. You are my life and my world and I would the luckiest man in the world to be able to call you my wife, will you marry me? Again, this is similar to what I said, but I was in such a fog, in my head it could have sounded amazing but what actually came out could have been gibberish (although Mel says it was really good!).

Stacey immediately said yes, I placed the ring on her finger, we hugged and kissed and started to celebrate!

Our Disney trip now turned into a shared celebration, Scott's 30th birthday and our Engagement.