Online love case study: When we first met, it felt as if we knew each other. People kept saying, you two look like a couple

Karen Kennaby, 54, is from London and John Degnan, 49, is from the US

Karen "I think I’d been single for a little while, and a friend suggested online dating and over a bottle of wine. I knew some people had tried e-harmony and had some success, so I thought, OK why not? I was up for trying anything.

I immediately liked e-harmony because it was so detailed, the questions delved deep into subjects that really matter; values, morals and ideas, things that were important to me. I found this reassuring specifically because I had undergone a lot of personal and spiritual development in my life. I was very comfortable with myself and I wanted someone to enjoy life with. I was ready to express who I really was, which meant in turn that the matches were of a higher calibre.

It makes me laugh because I had one person who said I was too far away – about 45 minutes, which seemed silly because if it’s right you’ll find a way. I met a few people before John either online or in person, nice people, interesting people, people I could talk to about travel and music and books, varying places in the world, decent interesting people. But I think the advantage of doing internet dating, is that some of the more traditional avenues can be noisy. In the pub for example, you don’t seem to get past some really basic questions and information. Whereas the amount of info that you can get about someone quickly on a good site, is more than you might ever know about someone that you know casually.

I got married at 22, was married for 11 years – should never have got married, we met in the wrong way, first on holiday, then at a holiday reunion we got together. I know this sounds silly, but I thought I was going to be left on the shelf if I didn’t get married. I cried on my wedding day, I went ahead with it even though I knew I wasn’t doing the right thing, the only good thing was that my son came out of that marriage, it was always a struggle.

We suffered from fundamental differences, which online can be easily filtered out, values are important for a lasting relationship past a fling or a good time, you start to feel very uncomfortable if you’re stuck with someone who doesn’t want to grow, and my ex didn’t want to grow.

I spent 3 months with e-harmony and another internet site for about a month, if even. I was sort of playing the field as I hadn’t had a chance to do that in life. When I first met up with John it felt like we knew each other. We just got on with things together. He was helpful, so much more than my previous partners. People were very intrigued as I hadn’t told anyone who he was, or that he was going to be at the party, I kept joking that he was cheap American labour, but people kept saying, you two look like a couple… I don’t really think it matters where you meet, I think some people give up too quickly. When looking online you need to be clear about who you are and what you can bring to a relationship. It is always very dangerous when people are looking for someone to complete them."

John “I had been in a 22 year marriage, my ex-wife and I grew apart, we still loved and respected each other but wanted different things out of life, but what I had learned from the relationship was that I didn’t need somebody else to complete me. I never strayed or cheated, even though it wasn’t fun, but I just wanted to be everything that I was without having to walk on egg shells.

I hadn’t been on the dating seen for two decades and so I had some younger colleagues who wanted to get me back in the game, they acted as my wing men. I wasn’t looking for someone, I was just as happy to remain single for the rest of my life. That was fun, but when they suggested internet dating, I thought, no that doesn’t have a good reputation, but they protested, ‘nah, nah, there’s something for everyone’.

I said what about just some nice people who might lead to a relationship? They suggested eHarmony. I read some referrals which were good, and was reassured by the detail required. The sign up took 3 or 4 hours, really in depth stuff, and at this point in my life, I thought, I know who I am and what I want. When I looked at my list of ‘wants’, I was pretty convinced that the woman didn’t exist. I took the approach, take it or leave it world, this is who I am, probably because I wasn’t desperate to find someone.

If someone didn’t put their photo up then that was a deal breaker, if you only have one eye and a scar across your face, then you have to be comfortable with that. I received over 200 matches and engaged in email correspondence with a few. When I finally met Karen, it was a bit of a whirlwind romance, I travelled from the US for our first date a few days after we were matched. Not coming from a place of desperation, I thought, why drag this out? I believe I have found my soul mate. We just celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary and I have now moved from London.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
News
A photo of Charles Belk being detained by police on Friday 22 August
news
News
i100
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
News
i100
News
In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Jim Carrey and Kate Winslett medically erase each other from their memories
scienceTechnique successfully used to ‘reverse’ bad memories in rodents could be used on trauma victims
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Pixie Lott will take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2014, the BBC has confirmed
tv
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    C# Developer (C#, ASP.NET Developer, SQL, MVC, WPF, Real-Time F

    £40000 - £48000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Devel...

    C# Swift Payment Developer (C#, ASP.NET, .NET, MVC, Authorize.N

    £45000 - £60000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Swift...

    Front-End Developer (JavaScript, HTML5, CSS3, C#, GUI)

    £55000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End Deve...

    Graduate C# Developer (.NET, WPF, SQL, Agile, C++) - London

    £30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Graduate C# De...

    Day In a Page

    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
    Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

    What is the appeal of Twitch?

    Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
    Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

    How bosses are making us work harder

    As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
    Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

    Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

    As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
    Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

    A tale of two writers

    Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
    Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

    Should pupils get a lie in?

    Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
    Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

    Prepare for Jewish jokes...

    ... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
    SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

    A dream come true for SJ Watson

    Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
    10 best cycling bags for commuters

    10 best cycling bags for commuters

    Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
    Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

    Paul Scholes column

    Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
    Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

    Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

    A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
    Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

    The science of herding is cracked

    Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
    Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

    This tyrant doesn’t rule

    It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?