So We Avoided Default – Now What?
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How Did You Meet Your Significant Other?

NOTE: Not long ago, a reporter for the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, Katy Reid, interviewed me for a story on what name to call old people. It has now been published and you can read it here.

That story is part of a whole section on aging titled, "The Good Life." The main page is here. Katy wrote a lot of those stories too.

Recently, I heard or read somewhere that 25 percent of couples (undefined as to whether married, living together or dating) now meet online. I have no idea if that is true, but it sounds reasonable given how much time people – especially young people – spend at their computers. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the number were higher.

That's a far cry from your and my youth. The web wasn't a gleam in anyone's eye when we were first dating and marrying.

Funny story. Well, not so funny. Back in the mid-1960s, I was producing a radio talk program in Houston, Texas. A company approached us to hold a computer dating contest to find “the perfect couple,” two people whose interests and psychology most closely matched.

I recall that we all thought it was kind of weird that a computer could choose two people who would like each other based on some true or false and multiple choice questions but we were curious to see how it turned out.

By today's standards, the match-up process was primitive. Listeners mailed in their requests for a form which was sent to them. They answered the hundred or so questions, mailed back the form and the company ran the results through a computer that came up with the closest match.

I don't remember anything about the couple who won – except this: a month or so after their date, the man turned up on the front page of the local newspaper having been arrested as a pedophile.

Uh-oh. No more computer dating on our radio show.

The host of that show was my then-husband whom I'd met through friends at a coffee house in Sausalito, California, six or seven years earlier.

Back in those days, a high percentage of married couples met through their jobs and after my divorce, I met several of the important men in my life that way. One worked in a different department at ABC-TV and another was a newspaper reporter who had come to the office to interview the host of the TV show I was working on.

At some point in the misty past, I recall that there was a premium on “meeting cute” - having a good story to tell when people asked about how a couple had found one another. That may still be true but, sorry to say, I don't have any such tales.

So today, I wonder if you have any good stories. Let's see how we met our husbands, wives, partners, significant others, etc.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Lyn Burnstine: Plastic


I met my wife in 1963 when she moved in down the street. She became friends with my sister and spent time at our house. It was a natural process. We have been married for 45 years

A friend from college introduced me to Jim. She took me to a basketball game he was playing in and said "he is the best looking guy on the floor" and I said, "It has to be #40." and it was. We met on January 3rd and married on July 2nd (same year). This year, we celebrated our 47th anniversary.

When I was 17 years old a friend asked me to go to a school dance with her because she wanted to see her boyfriend and didn't want to go alone.

It was a different school than the one I went to and I wasn't anxious to go because I didn't know anyone there but went to be a friend.

At the dance a boy danced by with another girl and made a joke about something and I overheard it and laughed. He noticed that I was the only one that got his joke so he asked me to dance the next dance and we have been together ever since.

We have been married for 61 years and I am still laughing at his jokes.

My husband was my scuba instructor at Boston, Massachusetts' Cambridge YWCA in 1966. He called after the first pool session and asked if a gentlemen could ask a lady out for a cup of coffee. How could I refuse? We shacked up for 18 years and then got married because our accountant said buying a house together would be easier if we were married.
We've been married since 1985. And we still go scuba diving every summer weekend and on holidays during the fall and spring. It's been a good match.

My future husband Walter and I met when he was a student in the "backshop" of the local college's newspaper which had contracted to typeset, layout and print our high school paper. As co-editor of that high school publication, one of my responsibilities was to work with the college paper staff on production and to proof galleys and handle the page proofs later in the process.

Hot type was still in use in the college's J-hole ( J for the Journalism Department) and printer's ink was to me a potent pheromone. We started dating well into my freshman year, after I had abandoned my agonizing studies required for a math major and enthusiastically switched to journalism.

By my sophomore year Walter had graduated and we were planning a wedding and eventually my transfer to another college closer to his work. Anniversary #44 is coming up this month.

I do have a "meeting cute" story, but it's too long for a comment, so you have just inspired my next submission, Ronni! Besides, all of the comments are from couples who have stuck it out for the long haul, and that's hardly representative of statistics. Sometimes it's good for a long time, and then it isn't!

Lyn and others...
Just because a marriage doesn't last doesn't eliminate it from how-we-met stories.

Also those people we did not marry for one reason or another aren't less loved necessarily than the ones we married.

I don't believe marriage is the criteria for or proof of the importance of the people we love or have loved.

My husband of 29 years and I met at a teen dance, where we both happened to be owing to the machinations of a match-making mutual friend.

A girl I met in a night school class thought she should fix me up with her boyfriend' roommate. Six months later she called me and arranged a date. I think she only set up the double date because her boy friend did not have a car but my date did. We dated off and on for 4 years and have been married for 43 years. I learned the "bad boys" are fun, but don't marry one.

I used to say jokingly that I "had met my first husband in prison." Yes, it was true! He was a volunteer in a prison program in Washington State for which I was the volunteer coordinator. The marriage lasted 26 years and we ended up with 3 great kids but not much else to show for it.

I told the story of how I met my second husband in my blog, which I just revised and republished yesterday in honor of my brother who just died on Monday. We met on an airplane in a snowstorm, he was a recent widower, I a recent divorcee, and I was flying to Phoenix in December on vacation with my 3 kids and former mother-in-law! The blog is linked below - enjoy!

My husband and I don't remember how we met. We were both members of the Newman Club at UC Berkeley and probably met on a club camping trip, but I got to know him when I was dating his best friend and he was the person I talked to when things went wrong. We've been married 46 years.

In Summer of 1956, I was a novice amateur radio operator who belonged to our school's "Ham" club - call sign, W0EEE, which is quite distinctive in Morse code (novices could not use voice on most frequencies in those days.) While looking for someone with whom to chat, I received a (Morse code) call from a fellow who wished to get a message to a friend attending our school. (My Ham handle is ambiguous as to my sex, so he didn't know he was asking a favor of a woman.)

That fall, having heard that the fellow would be attending our school (the Ham grapevine is extensive!) I looked him up at our first club meeting of the semester. At that time, each of us was dating someone else.

Over Christmas, each of us broke up with our steady and returned to school before the spring semester started - meaning that we were available to cry on one another's shoulder. By the end of February we were dating and married January 1958.

We were married 1958-1976, divorced 1977-1988, and remarried in 1988. Still going strong.

First marriage: I was 17, he was 21. We met in a roller rink. Produced my only son and eldest daughter. Marriage lasted 11 yrs. He did not have a clue about being a father, IMO!

Second: Went out looking for a man who showed good fatherly instincts. My son was 8, daughter was 3. Through a friend found a man very attentive to my children, especially my daughter! We had two daughters...Marriage ended after ll years when my eldest daughter had his child at age 14! He was a very vile pedophile!

LAST: Married a man 15 yrs my senior. Met through a friend. He was a gourmet cook, a practicing alcoholic, and a "minute man!" That marriage was over in 18 months...

All three husbands are dead...In retrospect, the first one was the best one...

Love affairs were basically very good! One lasted 3 yrs! A few weekenders, only one one-night-stand! That was the best sex ever!

For many years now I have enjoyed the company of men friends...though mostly I feel closer with my women friends... There has been no sex for years. I am fine with that...

All the horrors my 3 girls suffered are of course all my fault, they have nothing to do with me at all! They were told I knew what was happening from the beginning and of course we would all be killed should they share what they knew with anyone!

My son will be 62 this year, daughters have already turned 56, 51, and 49. My 80th is the 31st of August...

Regrets? YES! The pedophile!
Wish I had known such scum existed!

However, I do not regret the two little girls with him!

Yes, a story is developing!

We were in Miss Dayton's 3rd grade class. We went from elementary school through high school together. We just knew each other and never dated though until college in 1965. Married in 1968 and still going!!

My first husband and I met in college where we were both students; our marriage lasted only seven years (he's been married three times since).

I was single for 25 years until I met my second husband (how we met is a story too long to tell here). We were together for 14 years until he died of Alzheimer's in 2008.

Being in love is great at any age!

My second husband and I met when our 13 year old sons from our firt marriages made sure we met at a PTA meeting. For two years we formed a "bad movie club" where each Fri night either the kids or the adults chose the movie, so the other half always thought the movie was "bad." Finally, in our third year as friends, 32 years ago, we decided to get married. We have 6 combined children and now a family of 21 who meet twice a year for reunions. It is an all-American story.

For Mr C and I, it was a blind date set up by mutual friends. We have been married for almost 47 years.

We met when we were both involved with helping out at an inner-city soup kitchen and homeless shelter.

Given divorce statistics, this is astonishing, so far in the comments, how many of you have been married for many decades.

Also, how many of you met way back in school and are still together. It's making me smile a lot.

I met my husband while a junior in college and the feature editor of our college newspaper. He had just returned to college as a sophomore after a 3 year stint in the army. I had heard about him through mutual college friends before he arrived. When he showed up at the newspaper office volunteering to help out, in all of my immature arrogance, I asked him, "Oh, do you write?"

Indeed, he did, and we began a passionate and competitive relationship that ended 15 years and two kids later. Neither of us remarried, and when he passed away four years ago, we had become good friends, again.

Married once 22 years. Still cordial. Several relationships since -- two relatively serious. Philosophical and political differences were the deal-breakers. Sigh. Have decided that I haven't got time for the pain anymore but one never knows . . .

Ronni, you've turned on the faucet full blast with this question, I predict 56 comments.
As for us, I was going on a group camping trip but the lady that was going with me cancelled. Next thing I knew I was in the office and somebody yelled, telephone, I said who is it? they said, "Love". Yes, it was a woman named love that I had talked to maybe 10 minutes in a bar once and she convince me to go on the trip. I went, Love never showed up and I met my future wife instead. The rest was history. Love called, indeed.

We met on a blind date New Years Eve 1965, my freshman year of college, and got married a year after I graduated. So, know each other 46 years, married for 42.


For a generation that was raised on Ozzie and Harriet, Father Knows Best, etc.-- the so-called Silent Generation--we've had more marriages and divorces than I'd have imagined. I certainly made my contribution!

Husband #1: I was 21, fresh out of college (at least I graduated) and painfully naive about everything involved in marriage and in life. Although I was also the primary wage earner, the bank required HIS signature when I applied for my first credit card! It lasted 5 years.

#2: Compared to eHarmony, etc., computer matches were extremely primitive back in the day, as Ronni noted, but that's now I met spouse #2. Unfortunately, the computer missed a couple of humongous differences between us. He was a heavy construction engineer who liked nothing better than building things in remote areas, the less civilized the better. I was (and am) a city girl who opts for indoor plumbing and central heating. When I declined to accompany him to a project on the tip of the Aleutian Islands, that was it. Another 5 years.

#3 and still going strong: We met the old-fashioned way--in the workplace. Since on-the-job relationships in the '70s, if discovered by one's employer, could still result in the woman getting fired, we were POSSLQs for a year (remember that acronym for Persons of the Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters?). Ultimately, we got married, he accepted a great new job, and we've been happily together for over 32 years.

I jokingly say I married my brother. He worked for my grandmother when I was a teenager. He became a family friend and he and his wife and daughter spent a lot of time at our house. He called my step-sister and I "Sis" and he was like a big brother to me.

He got divorced and had many girl friends who always asked me about his wife. I was 21 when I went home for Christmas and his current girl friend had gone home for the holidays. Since both of were out of circulation at the moment he asked me for a date New Year's Eve. I ended up standing him up when an old boy friend appeared. He was persistent, broke up with his girl friend and we dated for two years. I finally said 'yes.' We had been married for 32 years when he died.

Correction that I can't let pass. In the sentence "he called my step-sister and ME ----

I know better. ;-(

Sky and I met at Esalen and I still think the whole story of how it came about is pretty amazing. The story is online if anyone wants to read it. I called it The Patterns that Connect

Husband #1..we met my high school jr year (he was a sophmore in college. He was the best friend of MY best friend's boyfriend, so it was pretty obvious that we should meet. We eloped right after I graduated high school..I was 17 and he was 21. We had two children together, but the marriage failed after 15 years.

Current husband..he is the first cousin of my ex-husband's best friend..guess I like to keep it in the family!
We lived together from 1979 to 1998 and married because I was leaving a job that provided insurance to work part-time. Maybe not a very romantic reason to marry, but a reasonable one.

First met him when I was 15 and he helped out with the printing of my high school newspaper. Couldn't stand him.
He was friends with one of my girlfriends and came barrelling over at a dance to get her out on the floor when she was whisked away by someone else and he was left foolishly standing in front of me and I rolled my eyes and said "do I have to?" and he said "manners decreee you do" which left me in a bind so I went on the dance floor with him and I agreed to a date as he was so persistent but made the date 2 weeks away hoping he'd forget. I did and he didn't. We were married 15 years and are still amicable.

I met my husband while we were both in high school. A mutual friend introduced us.

Even though he asked me to marry him three times, once right after high school, once when we were both in college, and once three days before I married my first husband, I didn't marry him until 30 years after I met him. By then we were both divorced and had children.

I wrote about our first date, and the one who introduced us, on my blog. You can read it

I was a sophomore in college and met my husband when making up a college dance class I had missed by signing up late for a PE class. Two of us had come in to a different class and were told to tap in on some of the dancers. I had seen him the year before in a class but we'd never talked. When I tagged his partner and we began to dance he knew my name, where I lived and my major. He'd looked me up from the year before. Now today I might be concerned that was a stalker but back then it interested me and we began to talk after that class, then date and two years later were married.

I met my husband as I was moving into the rental house that he was moving out of.

I was married at the time, and his live-in relationship had ended- thus his exit.

He was packing up, and I was doing some cleaning to ready the house for my move-in.

We spent many hours talking about this and that in the casual,offhand way one does while working.

I found him easy to talk to and also very interesting.

A few years later my marriage ended. I remembered Dan, and I called him up and asked him out.

The rest is history. We celebrate our twenty-fifth anniversary this year.

Both my wife and I were attending college in Denton, Tx. (where we still live today) She was from St. Louis attending TWU to become a nurse and I was across town at North Texas State university (now Univ. of North Texas) working on my B.A. majoring in Sociology.

I worked part-time at a full service gas station (remember those) and she would come in routinely. We'd flirt with each other and she wound up asking me out to watch Young Frankenstein. Six months later in August 1976 we were married at the Little Chapel in the Woods at TWU.

One of my apartment roommates brought Sam and his roommate, Max home with her after running into them on our city bus. She had known Max before.

She told Sam that she had A "CUTE ROOMMATE" for him to meet.

They came on out to the apartment and Sam and I hit it off almost at once.

We married 3 months later and:

The rest is history almost 60 years later. :)

It was a Saturday night and I went on a first date with a fellow that I had met at a bowling alley.

It was the custom in those days to get all dressed up for a Saturday night date so I pulled out all the stops and since it was winter time I topped my black dress with my new fitted purple coat that had a white fur collar and white fur trim at the hem!

When he picked me up he was wearing blue jeans and a jacket!! I asked where we were going, he said, "my club is having a picnic in the woods." He never told me this beforehand.

Well, when I walked into the cabin I made a big impression on one particular fellow who I later dated and married!!

I've been going out with my fella for nearly 2 years but we've had the same mutual friends for over 20. There's a photo of us at a party where we're in the crowd and the only ones looking up at the camera. The photo was taken 25 years ago and we didn't know each other then. I'd heard of him during those years but never met him till 3 years ago after he'd split from his wife. While we didn't meet online part of our courtship was through Facebook.

Interesting stories, so I can't resist adding my own.

I had no intention of marrying as I had just told one guy. Then I encountered, a fellow whose avocation from his "regular job" was being a professional jazz musician. He occasionally played bass with our quintet on an hour and a half live daily talk show on which I was a production assistant. He and I hadn't really had much contact, but one day he phoned our show's host and I answered the phone. The show's host wasn't there and the caller said, "Too bad, as he wanted me to call and arrange to take him flying." Without even thinking, or missing a beat, I immediately said, "Oh, that's too bad you've missed him, but I'll go!"

He shocked me by immediately taking me up on my offer, so we made a date to go night flying over the city of Columbus, Ohio. When I hung up the phone, I gasped to a co-worker, "What have I done? I can't even recall what he looks like. or much about him?" She said, "Oh, don't worry, he's really nice. We've had him to dinner."

She and her nurse roommate periodically enjoyed practicing their gourmet cooking by inviting eligible young men of interest to dinner. Little did they know he was a traditional meals, Italian dinners and White Castle fan, having been a youthful classmate of the popular Columbus miniature burger chain's founder.

During our flight featuring spectacular night light sights he unintentionally managed to scare me. After we landed we went for coffee and donuts. Almost immediately, we each felt as though we had known each other all our lives and began dating increasingly frequently.

Somehow, marriage now seemed worth considering when he kept asking, and three months later we wed. We had been married two months to the day shy of our 43rd wedding anniversary six years ago when he died unexpectedly, though he had been having some serious medical issues. I'm sure we would have remained married had he lived, as we were just moving into a new phase of our relationship. I have no particular interest in wedding again for this final quarter of my life.

I married for the third time 7 years ago after willingly spending 7 years on my own saying "never again". I was his third wife (the other two died). We are good mates, have a lot of common interests and both value periods of solitude. We met through a website for older people, in a Poetry section. He lived in Portugal and I in Cornwall, where his daughter also happened to live. His poem was about Dozmary Pool on Bodmin Moor. I admired the poem, we started emailing, then telephone-talking and met 3 months later. We moved to Spain together in 2003 and married in 2004. I do feel as if I´ve met my soul mate.

I met my second husband via work; the marriage collapsed after 18 years when I began to expand my career and started reading books he didn´t approve of. He found someone else he could control.

After 7 years, my first marriage ended when he became a mature student and wanted to live like a teenager. We were in our late 20s. I agreed that was fine if I could do the, double standards prevailed and we parted. We remained friends for many years.

From 18-23 I lived weekdays with a guy who disappeared at weekends for the Sabbath. He was my first real love and this secret (to his family) relationship suited me as I never wanted to marry or have children.

Writing all this and now reading it, I sound a bit weird! I can´t imagine what it´s like to live with the same partner for decades. I never had children (no, I have no regrets) and this must have made a big difference to the way I see relationships.

I met my current husband (the term is an inside joke between the two of us) on the south rim of the Grand Canyon. We were both on vacation. Three weeks later we were engaged and 11 months later we got married.

I was dating my husband's best friend when we met. After the best friend and I broke up, Joe called. We started dating in August, got engaged in December, and married the following June, 31 years ago.

My husband and I were college students working part-time jobs in the same records office of a hospital. He was a file clerk, and I had to retrieve files. One of the other young women was very interested in dating him, so I was designated to try to find out if he was interested in dating her. He was not. But we had many long conversations, and he finally asked me on a date-to see a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house. From there, we dated for several years before marrying. The other young woman never forgave me. We will be celebrating 32 years of marriage this fall.

met her on the phone... :)

I met my SO when I was 14 and he 16 at church run group therapy sessions our parents sent us to. This was in 1972! We stayed in touch for maybe a year...ran into each other once in our 20s...and that was that, until Feb 2010, when I looked him up on Facebook. There he was, single; there I was, single but going through cancer treatments. We met for coffee...then saw a movie, then another, had dinner...and now we live together.

Met through his ad in a local newspaper. The header of the ad was "Quirky Intelligent Woman...desired by divorced male who enjoys.... We have been together since our 3rd date and married for 20 years

We actually did meet online, but not a dating thing. She stumbled upon my website and sent me a message to say she liked my music. That was 5 years ago and we now live together!

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