'" says Tonya, who had been married before (and has a 12-year-old daughter).Meanwhile, Frank, 41, a lifelong bachelor, had been online for a year on different match-up sites.Time was, if you met your mate online, you developed a cover story: If anyone asked, you'd say you met in a bar or at kayaking lessons. Whether it's the fact that many of us already conduct so much of our personal and business lives online, or the proliferation of online dating sites touting their successful matches, it's perfectly acceptable to say, with pride, that you met the love of your life with your fingers on a keyboard, not wrapped around a cocktail at a singles event.Here, five women who found their mate (or were found) online, and went from email to walking down the aisle: Anna & Sam Abma, Wycoff, New Jersey A divorced mother, Anna, 46, looked into the future and saw a time when her kids wouldn't need her around quite as much—and she'd end up alone.Hardly a week goes by without another new think piece about online dating either revolutionizing society or completely ruining our ability to have real relationships.But these hyperbolic pronouncements miss a deeper fact: At its core, "online dating" isn't something we just started doing 5, 10 or even 20 years ago.If you like each other, set a date to meet." (Just be safe: Meet in a public place, bring a cell phone and be sure someone else knows where you are.) Keren Bernard and Peter Mannes, Brooklyn, New York Keren Bernard, 35, signed on to the dating website JDate (which matches Jewish singles) mostly for fun back in 2005. "He was standing near one of my favorite architecture books."A friend of mine was on it, and it was free back then, so I figured why not? There were all these things he wouldn't do, like eat after 8 p.m., and after our first date he sent all these weird emails. And we went out to eat at my favorite Japanese restaurant," says Keren.
Rebecca Braverman & Ryan Olson, Los Angeles Rebecca, now 34, had left New York City for her hometown of Kansas City, Kansas, in her late 20s.The two went to a live show to see a band they both liked perform, and the rest was history: Rebecca moved in with Ryan three months later, and they got married in October 2007.Lesson learned: Though most online daters spend a lot of time corresponding by email before meeting, Rebecca disagrees: "You run the risk, intentionally or not, of creating these online personas that aren't really you. "He seemed so eloquent and sweet—just a nice, Jewish boy." The pair met for their first date in a bookstore.Within a few weeks, Tonya was matched with Frank, and they began exchanging emails, at least one a day for a few weeks."By the time we actually met, I felt like I knew him pretty well already—he was so expressive in his messages." Then they met—on a first date that lasted nine hours.It seemed like another way to meet people, like going to a bar." In her first three months, she met one man who seemed, by his profile, to be ideal: artistic, smart, with a career that dovetailed with Keren's (she's an interior designer), and with similar likes and dislikes. Within a couple of months, they were traveling to Atlanta to meet Peter's family.