Two local couples beat odds, find love online

By By John Guidroz and Natalie Stewart / American Press

Carolyne Duty said she was “always against” online dating websites and did not expect to be married within a year of registering

with one. Duty and her husband, Chad, were wed on Aug. 4, 2012.

“As crazy as it sounds, it works,” she said.

Duty, 32, said she registered with eHarmony in August 2011 at the insistence of her friends. She said her mother even offered

to pay the website’s service fee for the first three months.

“They were very pushy about it,” Duty said. “It took four hours to fill out the whole (profile). I hated all the background

question banter. It felt odd.”

Her reluctance to use the service didn’t end with the registration. She said a co-worker made her check her profile daily

to find any compatible suitors.

A month after registering, Duty said Chad, 38, sent her a message. She said he had skipped answering the background questions.

“His message said, ‘You are really beautiful. I’d love to talk to you sometime,’ ” she said.

Duty said Chad then sent an email asking for her phone number. She consented, but “didn’t answer the phone for the first four

weeks.”

After speaking with him, Duty said she arranged to meet him at a Halloween party. But Chad, who was living in Atlanta, didn’t

wait that long. She said he visited her while he was driving through Louisiana on business.

“He came over to my friend’s house,” Duty said. “You never know with this kind of stuff, but we hit it off.”

After that, Duty said she “really threw him to the wolves” by having him meet all of her friends at a local bar.

“He said it was the most nerve-racking experience of his life,” she said. “But he handled it like a pro.”

Chad returned to Atlanta, and Duty said they began talking on the phone daily. He visited her a week later, and an unforeseen

circumstance kept him in Lake Charles longer than expected. It wasn’t long before Chad began making frequent trips to Lake

Charles to visit Carolyne.

“When he was driving back (home), his truck broke down at the Atchafalaya (bridge),” Duty said. “He came back to Lake Charles

and stayed for another week. It’s funny how those things brought us closer together.”

A month after marrying, Duty said she discovered she was pregnant. The couple is expecting their first child in June.

Since registering on eHarmony, she said she was surprised to meet other local people who had similar stories. Duty said she

would recommend an online dating service for those seeking a serious relationship, but lack the time to date.

“It’s a lot more common than I realized,” Duty said. “In Lake Charles, knowing a lot of people can sometimes hurt you. It’s

an option for people.”

Looking for a serious relationship

Sarah Spence married her husband, Charlie, on Jan. 28, 2012 — nearly one year after being matched through an online dating

site.

Spence said she had been a member of eHarmony for about a year, but had been actively looking at matches and responding to

messages from other users for about six weeks when she was matched with Charlie.

“I was just looking for a serious relationship, I wasn’t necessarily looking to get married or anything,” she said. “I work

a lot and I was in school full time, so I didn’t really have a whole lot of time to socialize and go out and meet people.

So, I turned to online dating.”

Spence said at first there was a stigma attached to online dating when she would tell her family and friends that she was

using eHarmony.

“People would ask me, ‘Why are you

looking online. You don’t strike me as someone who is desperate,’ ” she

said. “It’s not

something I was doing out of desperation — it was kind of like you

hire a professional plumber if you need plumbing work done,

so I was just looking for something more professional than just

meeting someone randomly and then realizing after a few months

of dating that it wasn’t going to work out.”

Spence said the benefit she found from using an online dating service was that she could find someone with similar goals and

who wants the same things she does in life.

“I thought it was a good way to take

dating and flip it on its head,” she said. “It gets all the serious

questions out of

the way before you decide if you want to meet someone. Instead of

meeting someone and dating them for several months and then

finding out they don’t want to have children or something like

that ... you don’t find those out immediately when traditionally

dating.”

Spence said that by using a dating service, she was able to scan candidates and make sure they were compatible with what she

was looking for.

After communicating for a month, Spence’s first date with Charlie was March 7, 2011.

“We met at a local restaurant,” she said. “I was there with a friend because I wasn’t sure about the whole online dating

thing, so I wanted to have someone with me for the first meeting.”

Spence said that after Charlie had been at the restaurant for about an hour, her friend left and they stayed and talked for

the next five to six hours.

“The second date was pretty similar,” she said. “We spent a lot of time talking, and then within a week we knew that it was

serious and we wanted to be exclusively dating.”

Spence and Charlie were engaged on Aug. 2, 2011, and married five months later.