He proposed over Skype
The online is an extension of the offline, and obviously, this applies to dating. The smartphone is a neat substitute for real life contact – and it’s certainly not as soulless as people think. But the usual chronology is: chat online, meet offline. It usually involves some IRL hanging out.
On the other hand, this order isn’t for everyone. There are a few people number who have relationships that start, and develop, exclusively online. It’s already been a big year for romances which started over social media. First there was the British woman who is flying out to meet her Canadian fiancee after meeting him over Facebook. They’ve never met properly. Then there’s the couple who met on Instagram and got married, right there, in the airport.
Sometimes it’s love at first sight, sometimes people are just weirdly into commitment.
Nathan Treweek is in a similar situation: he’s just married an American he met on Snapchat. He’s an 18-year old graphic designer from Truro in Cornwall; she’s a 20-year old baker and cake decorator from Port Orchard, a town in Washington state on the west coast. Somehow their paths crossed on social media, and eight months later they were married, after meeting in person only once.
Nervous snaps turned into video messages, which eventually turned into calls and webcam chats. This finally became a proposal over Skype, with a strategically placed webcam and the blurry image of Nathan down on one knee showing his ring to the screen. Now they’re married and living together near Seattle.
We spoke to Nathan to find out how their relationship escalated so quickly and what his parents and friends thought about him marrying a stranger off the internet.
Hi Nathan. How did you first meet Gabrielle?
Well technically we first met on a website named Tickld, a humour site where they were trying to get the small community together so people were posting their Snapchat. I posted mine in the hope to meet new people, to which Gabrielle found my comment and found it was the least creepy of the bunch (her word exactly). She sent me a snap at 11pm US Pacific time, waking me up at 7am UK time. From there we stayed up talking with each other for hours on end. We never stopped video talking, then eventually Skyping continuously there after.
What was your impression of her when you met? Did you think it would ever go this far?
I found her stunning, and fell in love with her then and there – though I still don’t really believe in love at first sight. For her, the first impression was one of excitement. The first time she heard my accent she asked me if it was, and I quote, “fake”.
At what point did you eventually decide to meet up in person?
We decided that being apart from each other was getting very difficult and that it would be easier if we had met at least once to see if things between us could work. As she earns more she wanted to come to me first and see the beauty and wonders of England for a vacation.
And what was it like?
I remember her stepping off of the train, seeing me, literally throwing her bags across the station and running towards me. Which at first was a tad distressing, but once she jumped into my arms we didn’t let go of each other for 10 plus minutes. I remember noticing she was incredibly small. I knew her height – 5ft 4 – but being able to actually see and feel it made it real. She actually thought the opposite, noticing I was a huge amount taller – 6ft 4 – and apparently more attractive in person.
When did you propose to Gabrielle?
Technically I proposed twice, once over Skype, and once in person eight months after we met. The first time I pushed the camera away, got down on one knee and asked, to which she said ” yes”. I sent her a diamond ring for Christmas that she wore. However I knew she wanted a face-to-face proposal as we had talked about everything before I proposed, so when she came over to England I took her to my local beach and gave her another one against the sunset.
How did you explain to your friends and parents that you’d met this girl on the internet, and now you were getting married?
It was difficult explaining to both families that we were a couple. Even harder when I proposed. Generally my family supported us, but had doubts that anything would ever last between us, telling me not to “get my hopes up” as she may not be who I think she is. My mother met her several times over Skype and she eventually came to terms with me moving away with someone, who in her mind, was a stranger.
My friends just tried not to think about me leaving or even talking to someone that far away. Plus the time difference of eight hours meant I would stay up each night from 6pm through to 8-9am. This made any interactions with family or friends hard.
How did Gabrielle’s family react to you?
They were very supportive. She would take me to family events on Skype and I would sit in bed talking with everyone, therefore making them all feel as though I was already there.
It was clearly a big step. Did you find it daunting and would you recommend getting into a long distance relationship like this?
I would recommend it every time. I would move anywhere for my wife. To experience more happiness and finding someone that thinks, feels and lives how I do is something I will never regret. As much as it was a culture shock, I had such a supportive family here and I’ve embraced so much so quickly because of it. It’s a big risk as everyone knows, but after she came to me we literally pooled our money together and I left England to get married.
What are your plans for the future?
Well we have our own house , but, to get me working again once I get my visa and have children ( two girls hopefully). We want to go back to England for a vacation with her family so they can meet face-to-face as well.