A Bride So Special He Married Her Twice
Richard and Kristie
In 2010, after sixteen years of marriage, Richard found himself single. He hadn’t dated since college, and the dating world had changed a great deal since. He decided to take a sabbatical from dating for an entire year. He wanted to figure out his next step. He wanted to experience that peace of being alone but not lonely.
“I had lots of friends say, Hey, my sister’s dog walker’s niece is available,” he says. “Everybody wanted to fix me up.”
Post-sabbatical, in 2011, while in his early forties, Richard and the first girl he met online talked back and forth on the phone before they met. He told her he was “dipping his toe into the dating pool.” Richard wanted to go slow; this was his first date since the mid-nineties. She also claimed she wanted to move slowly. Everything seemed ideal.
They met for dinner. “I could tell it was her, but she didn’t look too much like her profile pics,” Richard says. The two sat at a table and had a good conversation. But it wasn’t clicking like he thought it should–although he didn’t have anything to compare it to because he hadn’t been on a date in sixteen years. He was trying to be open-minded and think, Well, maybe it’ll take a couple of dates.
At one point, his date reached both of her hands across the table to hold his. Then, she looked at him and said, “To start with, we need to spend four to five days a week together to get to know each other.”
Richard looked at her and said, “I’m not going to do that. I thought we were going to move slow.”
She said, “Well, what were you thinking?”
He said, “I thought if things went well, then maybe we could go out next weekend if you’re free and start that way.”
She looked at him and chuckled. She said, “Honey, this is how it works.”
He said, “Well, I think we’re on different pages. I think maybe we need to be friends. Or if you want to grab a burger sometime, that’s fine; you can give me a call. But I think we’re just looking at things very differently.”
After dinner, Richard walked her to her car. She said, “Aren’t you going to kiss me?”
He said, “No, I don’t think so. Good luck in your search. I wish you well.” He gave her an awkward hug, and they parted.
Richard thought it was clear that this was not a love connection. But the next day, he started getting texts from her. She began with, “Hey, Richard. We had a great time last night. Have you read The Five Love Languages?”
He said, “Yes, I have. I’m familiar with it.” Still, she felt compelled to send him a barrage of texts explaining each.
Then she began explaining her love languages. Finally, she said, “Well, what about you, what do you need?”
Rich, a thirty-one-year FedEx driver, was thinking, how do I respond to this?
Then it came to him. He said sternly, “A restraining order.”
She started laughing and said, “Oh, you’re funny too. You’re perfect for me.”
Then Richard said, “Look, this is not going to work. I’m not interested.”
Richard began dating other women and had great times, but he wasn’t connecting with any of them in a meaningful way. Finally, one woman said, “You’re a great guy. But I can sense you’re just not ready to date.”
Richard thought, Well, maybe she’s right but forged ahead.
“I think about all that time I spent on dating sites over the past ten years. I’d be on Match for a while; then I would shut it off. Then I’d get on Bumble or Tinder for a month or two and then take a break. Being with FedEx, I would never have time to date in November and December anyway, so I’d shut it all off until January.”
There was a point where Richard thought, Okay, maybe I’m just meant to be single, and that’s okay. “You have this list of requirements you want people to meet; you have to check off all these boxes. I learned pretty quickly that we’re all broken, and no one’s going to measure up to that list. And if they did, you’re probably not going to measure up to theirs. So it seems like you come out of the gates after a while, almost defensively. You’re looking for red flags; you’re looking for a reason for something not to work. At least I was. I didn’t intend that; I tend to be very open-minded and accepting. But that’s how I felt.”
Richard used to joke that he was rooting through a barrel of apples to find a good one. “The fact is, there’s a lot of good ones out there. But when you’re meshing together, sometimes it’s hard to fit with people when the gears are either broken or ground down a little.”
It didn’t help Richard’s quest when some women he met would not share their complete story–the true one. They would get to know him before they mentioned they had been married not once or twice but three or four times. One of the women told him she had a child, but she neglected to tell him until later that she had four children. She thought that would scare him away instead of just being honest upfront.
“I think about all the experiences I’ve had in life and all the experiences each woman I’ve met has had. It’s interesting how once you’ve lived long enough to have scars, you’re not sure which scars to show. I’m talking about the damage of past relationships, how you were raised, maybe some abuse issues.
“When you spend time on dating sites, one of two things can happen. Either you get to a point where you’re like, I’m just going to be super open, and they can either accept me or not. Or you begin to learn how to fashion things so that you’re only showing the shiny parts of the car. You’re not letting them see what’s in the trunk–until you’re comfortable enough and they’ve fallen in love with the rest of you.”
Richard shares other cautionary tales.
He met a woman online but hadn’t met her in person yet. She figured out where he lived. “It was a Friday, and that’s when I do laundry and clean the apartment. It was raining out, light rain, and getting close to midnight. I took some trash out to the dumpster, and a woman was standing there, out in the parking lot, in the rain. I began to get concerned for her. I thought, I better make sure this person’s okay. When I got closer, I could see she was holding a bar of soap. I asked her if she was okay, and she started to cry. Then it clicked who she was; she was from a dating site. I said, ‘What are you doing here?’”
She didn’t answer. Richard asked, “What’s the bar of soap for?”
She said, “Well, I was going to write on your truck.”
Richard tossed the soap into the dumpster. She was married and had driven an hour. She would leave stuff at his door. She’d go out to his FedEx route, and when he returned from a stop, there would be a Powerade, or some cookies, or something set out for him. He called the police.
“Some people find dating excruciating; horrible. I can understand that. But I enjoyed the process (as long as stalkers weren’t involved). It’s a great avenue to meet people you would not typically cross paths with, especially if you’re busy. I enjoyed hearing other people’s stories, getting to know what brought them to where they are today. I met a lot of great people online and a few crazies, too. I had a great time!” During those ten years, Richard had three exclusive relationships. The longest lasted ten months.
He did get to a point where he thought, Man, this is a ride I don’t want to be on; this is a weird cycle of judging women solely by what they look like. “Granted, you want some attraction but seeing face, after face, after face, it just seemed like I got to a point where I got superficial.”
Meeting his One True Love.
Kristie had gone through a divorce and hadn’t started serious dating yet. She had gone out with one guy twice, but it wasn’t a guy she met online. And it wasn’t love.
On August 31st, 2019, while out with girlfriends, Kristie learned about Bumble. At first, she said, “No, I’m not going to do that; I can’t do that.” However, she did install the app that night and completed her profile the following day.
Richard had already been on Bumble for a few weeks but hadn’t met anyone of interest.
On September 1st, Kristie had been on Bumble for maybe trickstricksard likewise swiped right on Kristie’s. He was the first and only person she met online.
“Kristie and I chatted for a couple of weeks because I was getting ready to go on vacation. Then, the day I got back from vacation, on September 13th, I picked her up, and we went to Eagle Creek for a hike. After that, we went to dinner at Outback. We hit it off instantly. I wouldn’t have normally done that on a first date, but we had some close personal friends in common, so that made it seem like not such a strange thing in this day and age.”
Kristie is a pastor’s daughter; Richard is a pastor’s son. Her mom is a retired nurse; his mom is also a retired nurse. They’re both homebodies and yet like nature. They both like to hike.
By January 2020, Richard started thinking of a future with Kristie. It felt different. Richard shared that with Kristie, and at that point, she said, “Yeah, I’ve already felt that way.”
Kristie attended Richard’s church a few times before COVID-19 hit in early March. “Everything got halted, and FedEx got pounded. I was working a ton of hours, so it limited our time together. Which I think she would agree was nice; it set our pace. It slowed things down, and I think that was helpful. Instead of just spending a ton of time together at the beginning and just riding a feeling, we could keep things slow and learn about each other.
“I think I saw her once a week through the end of 2020. We spent a large part of our early relationship in a lockdown.”
October 3rd, 2020.
It was a beautiful fall day, and the two didn’t have anything planned, or so Kristie thought. Richard had stored the ring in the center console of his truck. After errands, he asked if she wanted to go to Putnam County to see the foliage. She was game, so they drove out there, stopping at a gas station along the way.
“It was there that I snuck the ring into my pocket. I took her to a covered bridge, the Houck Bridge, built in 1880. We walked through it, and as we turned to walk back across it, I took a knee and called to her. She turned around, and I was kneeling there holding the ring. I asked her if she would do me the great honor of being my wife; she got down on her knees with me and said ‘YES!’ We embraced and shared some happy tears mixed in with a kiss.”
Unbeknownst to her, Richard had taken a photo of her at the bridge. He wanted one last pic before he proposed. “I told her that lots of people make a big production with the proposal, but that I felt like this fit us perfectly. A beautiful fall day on an old covered bridge, just us.”
Before Richard met Kristie, he met many women who still had kids at home. So, he had to assess what a co-parenting situation would look like. Kristie has a young adult son and daughter. “I’ve had to find my role here. I don’t have biological kids. So, I’m coming into a situation where my role is basically to support, mentor if I can. Her kids have a healthy relationship with their father. Kristie and her ex-husband co-parent very well.”
Having been single and living by himself for over ten years, it was an adjustment for Richard to get back into the married mode.
“I think at our age, there has to be time for oneself. One of the things I love about Kristie is that she understands I need some alone time, and I appreciate that she does, too. She’s not threatened by it, nor am I. So, it is nice to have that understanding where it’s like, Well, I’m going to go downstairs for a while. For eleven years, my mornings were always just me. Getting up, getting ready, and knowing where everything is. Not having to talk to anyone. But we talk about these things, the adjustments. Kristie is a great communicator, so it’s been nice to have conversations and not have her feel like she’s responsible for my happiness, which she’s not. But obviously, she does play a part in that. It has been great.”
The wedding, March 13th, 2021.
Kristie’s dad, being a pastor, traveled from Georgia and officiated the wedding. Richard’s parents live in Houston; his mother has Parkinson’s disease and Dementia and was unable to attend.
“It was confusing for her; she didn’t understand that she couldn’t come up to the wedding. So I talked to my dad and said, ‘How would you feel about us having a little ceremony when we come down to see you?’ He said that would be great.”
Kristie bought another wedding dress because she didn’t want Richard to see her before the wedding. She had it on standby the week of their visit. One day when Richard’s mother awoke from a nap, she said something that indicated to Richard that she was connecting with the day. Richard’s dad took her to a back room. Richard told Kristie, “Time to get your dress on.” Richard put on his slacks, shirt, and tie.
When Richard’s mother and father reappeared, his father saw Richard dressed up and said, “Okay, looks like we’re doing this.” Richard led his mother to the couch and sat her down. She said, “What did y’all dress up for?” Richard said, “You’ll see.” Richard’s dad put on a sport coat. Richard played wedding music on his cell phone. Kristie appeared with some flowers; she gave them to Richard’s mother. His father officiated. It was quick, but it was great.
“Of course, mom was bawling. Then afterward, she said, ‘Are Kristie’s parents going to be upset if you guys got married and they weren’t able to come?’ She thought that was our only wedding, which is fine. But yeah, that was an extraordinary moment. So, we got married twice–unofficially in Texas and officially in Indiana.”
– from A Gentleman's Journey into Online Dating at 60
Now available online in Kindle Edition or Paperback
ASIN: B099TN9VZG (Amazon’s ISBN) ISBN: 9798503264715 (all other booksellers)