1:36 PM EST, February 14, 2013
It's Valentine's Day and a time to celebrate love. Now more than ever cupid is aiming his arrow over the Internet. Can you really find true love online?
It was 1998. Mike Larson lived near San Francisco, California. He happened to be on America Online at the same time a woman in Roanoke was also online. "I don't even remember what search words I used," said Jen Larson.
"My profile came up and I happened to be online at the time," said Mike Larson. And that was the beginning of this love story.
"We chatted online that first day for about six hours or so," said Jen Larson. They chatted online everyday after that for weeks. "And we were doing all of this on dial up connections," Mike Larson said.
Do you remember those old dial up connections that made using the Internet much slower than the high speed Internet most of us are used to today.
Mike and Jen met in person two months later in Roanoke. Within the year they were engaged and married. And then came children. They have four in all.
The Larsons celebrate 14 years of marriage in March. What started as a virtual relationship for these two became very real.
"I think it's exactly like real life yes," said Clinical Psychologist Lyn Day. "Once you meet in person it's either going to work or it's not going to work."Day said dating websites offer an alternative to meeting someone at a bar, at school or in church. With so many sites out there now, online dating has grown and is now considered an acceptable way to meet.
"This online dating has become very popular among kids who just finished college," said Day. "They get their first jobs. They move to a new town. They don't know anybody."
The Larsons said meeting online gave them a chance to talk about religion, politics and you name it all before they ever met. "It's a very open conversation. There was no expectation that we were going to meet," said Mike Larson. "It was just a casual conversation two people online."
Did Jen ever think she'd meet her future husband online? "No, no," said Jen Larson. "I mean in 1998 when we met the Internet was still pretty new."
On this Valentine's Day a love story with a high tech twist, that is based on something as old as time; finding true love.
"I didn't expect that the way God would bring us together was online," said Jen Larson. "We had an automatic connection from the beginning. You never know where you'll find love."
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