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Nearly Gave Up

Ray and Pauline

Sacramento, CA

I was about ready to give up on eHarmony when I was matched up with Pauline in December of 2007. I’d been with eHarmony for 3 1/2 years and still hadn’t found the person I wanted to spend my life with, but I decided to give it another go after I was offered a special discount. Based on the advice of one of eHarmony’s customer service representatives, I revised my profile and began receiving a variety of new matches. Pauline was among the first matches I received.

Unlike the couples in eHarmony’s TV commercials, I can't say my chemistry with Pauline was instant. When we started communicating through the eHarmony Web site, our emails were just the standard get-to-know-you chit-chat. Still, she seemed like someone I wanted to get to know better. After our first phone call in January 2008, I could tell that Pauline was a stable person at a happy place in her life. She was a breath of fresh air, and I hung up the phone thinking I wouldn't mind talking to her again.

Our first date was magical. We met at an Italian restaurant and talked for more than an hour before we ordered our food. If we didn’t have tickets to a play, we’d have probably stayed there talking all night. When the night was over, I asked her to my law school’s Barrister’s Ball, and she agreed to go. I left feeling like I’d just been on the best first date ever.

The Barrister’s Ball was even more magical than our first date — it was like we were the only two people in the room. She wore this amazing red dress. We shared our first kiss that night, and the following day I closed communications with all of my other eHarmony matches.

After each date, I looked forward to when I might see her again. We began talking nightly, sometimes until 1 or 2 in the morning. By our fifth date, I was introducing her to my parents and my younger sister. By April, we were planning to travel to her native China in late July/early August — her to visit her family in Beijing, me to take a law school class in Suzhou for three weeks before heading north to Beijing to meet her family. By May, Pauline was a fixture at family gatherings — my mom already thought of her as a daughter by Mother’s Day.

My sister got her master’s degree in library science in May 2008, and at her graduation party, my mom joked about how some of her co-workers were running a betting pool regarding when I’d propose. Later during the party, an idea came to me, and I whispered it in my mother’s ear: “If you want to win the pool, pick a day somewhere in early August — I’m going to propose to her on the Great Wall.”

On August 10, 2008, I traveled to the Great Wall with Pauline, her sister and her brother-in-law. As her brother-in-law stood by filming with his video camera, her sister took pictures with my digital camera, and a bunch of total strangers stood by taking in the scene, I presented Pauline with the ring my great-grandfather once gave my great-grandmother and said, “Ni neng jia gei wo ma?” (That’s Chinese for, “Will you marry me?”)

We’re planning to get married in May or June. 

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