Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

March 20, 2024

Wedding Wednesday: The Full Story of Ryan and I Met.

      I've shared before on my blog and Instagram that Ryan and I first connected by matching on the dating app Hinge in February 2022. But I never took the time to share our full story with more details. I thought this would be fun to do for today's Wedding Wednesday post!

May 1st 2022

   I struggled to find confidence in dating in my early and mid 20s, but I went through a little bit of an internal mindset transformation with how I viewed dating in late 2021. (I was 27 at that time.)  I wrote all about this change in mindset in this blog post, I definitely recommend checking out that post if you haven't read it before,  For the first time, I tried to stop being quite as picky and rigid as I had been in the past with finding matches on dating apps, and I also tried to enjoy first and second dates just for what they were, and not put too much pressure into figuring out if a guy could be "my person" so early on. 

     I had just gotten home from my sixth first date of 2022 on Tuesday, February 22nd, 2022. (If you do the math, that means I had been going on an average of one first date a week for the first couple months of that year, which I was proud of!) This particular date was meeting for an early Happy Hour, and unfortunately it hadn't gone well. It was the type of date where I knew there wouldn't be a second date before I had even gotten back home. The guy was nice, but we just hadn't connected well humor-wise, and there were some really awkward silences during the date. Ah well! When I get home, I pulled up my Hinge app and saw I had a message from a new guy named Ryan. If you're not familiar with how Hinge works, you can put specific question prompts with your own answers on your profile, so that it can give potential matches an easy-in to make conversation with you. Ryan messaged me about a question and answer that was on my profile. 

Our first messages on Hinge

     Here's the first things that we ever said to each other! I had just started golf lessons in early February, and I liked that Ryan chose to message me about that tidbit on my profile. Ryan wrote back quickly, and we continued chatting about my newfound interest in golf. I wish I had taken more screenshots of our first messages before I deleted Hinge weeks later, but I am glad I do have these initial first two messages to look back on! Here's something fun as well: I was the first and only girl Ryan messaged on Hinge in Virginia! He says when he switched his profile over to Virginia Beach, I was the first person to pop off, and he logged off the app shortly after messaging me. He didn't check it again until he saw I had written back. 

     I didn't really give too much thought to Ryan and his messages until the next day. I asked what part of town he lived in, and he told me that he was in process of moving to Virginia Beach from St. Louis, MO to be closer to family in Virginia, but he hadn't actually moved yet. Ryan's parents were originally from VA and had moved to Virginia Beach the previous year, but Ryan's whole life up until this point had been in the Midwest (his parents moved out there before he was born). Ryan said he was estimating to move to Virginia Beach in Summer 2022. The reason we matched on Hinge is he was currently in Virginia Beach for a few days that week visiting his parents, so that's why he popped up in my local area. Ryan was nervous to tell me that he wasn't living there yet. He thought the fact that he didn't live in VB yet would make me stop talking to him and lose interest. Instead- it did the opposite! I had only been living in Virginia Beach for about seven months at that point, and I had truly fallen in love with the area. It made me excited to find a dating app match who was also excited about the area and desired to move there! Someone that I had been on some dates with the month prior was the opposite of Ryan in this way. That guy was trying to move out of the area as soon as possible, and that was a factor that it didn't end up working out between me and that guy. So, it was really attractive to me to find someone who wanted to live where I wanted to live! That's when I started paying a bit more attention to Ryan's messages, and a small glimmer of excitement started to form in me. 

     Within a week, we had become Snapchat friends and also exchanged phone numbers and were texting daily. I was proud of myself for being open to talking to Ryan both of these ways, because I used to be very rigid with guys that I matched with on dating apps, and I'd refuse to add them on Snapchat or give them my phone number until after we met in person. Sometimes if a guy asked me for either of these things before I had met them, I'd unmatch them right away. I am so glad I realized before meeting Ryan that thinking the way I had been was me creating red flags out of things that didn't need to be red flags. Anyways, Ryan never did anything over Snapchat or texting that made me feel uncomfortable. Our Snapchats were mostly pictures of our pets or silly selfies. Over texting, we got into some great lengthy conversations where we really got to know each other. He never asked me anything inappropriate or that pushed any of my boundaries, but just seemed genuinely interested to get to know ME! It was a breath of fresh air. I'm so glad I didn't stick to my dumb rule of only talking to him on the Hinge app until we met (especially because we wouldn't meet in person for three weeks after matching on Hinge!). 

     I really appreciated also that Ryan would respond to my texts quickly and matched my texting energy. Some guys that I'd meet from dating apps were so slow to respond to messages. And I never wanted to seem like I was texting back too quickly or too invested. But Ryan was great at responding quickly so that stopped being something that I stressed about. From the very start, everything conversation-wise felt easy and natural. 

      Ryan was making a trip back to Virginia in mid-March to visit his parents and continue scouting out the area for his upcoming move. He asked me to go on our first date during this trip, and I was thrilled to finally be meeting the guy that I had developed such a nice texting friendship with! But I was also incredibly nervous. I can't tell you how many times that there had been guys over the years that I'd had a fun conversation with on a dating app.... only to meet them in person and realize that either 1) They didn't look at all like their photos and/or lied about their height, 2) They were easy to message on an app but had a crummy personality in-person, or 3) a combo of both! I was hoping and praying every day leading up to our first date that Ryan would be cool in person. He didn't even have to be my person! I just wanted it to not be a terrible date. 😊 Considering that he was my seventh first date of 2022, I had clearly had some disappointing other first dates shortly before him! 

     Our first date was on Sunday, March 13th, 2022. We met for an early dinner. Typically, I preferred doing shorter dates for first dates so that there was less pressure to stay too long if the date wasn't going well. I preferred Happy Hour or coffee dates to full-on dinner. But since we had such good conversations over text, I was hopeful there'd be enough to chat about in-person for dinner not to seem too lengthy. We met at a restaurant called Tulu, which is located in the Marriott resort at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. I wore a light blue blazer, black jeans and black heeled pumps! I rarely wore heels on first dates, but something about Ryan made me want to wear the fancier shoes. We met for the first time in the Marriott lobby outside of the restaurant! Ryan was wearing a light blue Vineyard Vines pullover and jeans. Not only did I see this as a green flag because I love guys wearing Vineyard Vines, but the color of his pullover perfectly matched my blazer! Double green flag. 😊 I was also so pleased to see Ryan did indeed look like his Hinge photos, and he hadn't lied about his height! 

     We had a wonderful first date. Conversation came very easily, and Ryan made me laugh a few times. I made him laugh too! I didn't experience love at first sight with Ryan, nor was I convinced after one date that he was my future husband, but I did have a great time on the date! I had fun the whole time and felt very comfortable and confident. I left the date excited to see Ryan again and keep learning more about him. And I think this is exactly what a first date should be! I don't think love at first sight is a realistic thing to strive to feel. But on the other end of the spectrum, you should never have to force yourself to go out with someone a second time or try to make yourself be excited about them. You either are excited about someone or you aren't! 

     True story: I did something right after the first date that all of my friends had told me in the past was a really bad idea. I texted Ryan first after our first date! All of my girlfriends had always told me not to do that and to always let the guy reach out first, so I didn't seem desperate. But I'd had such a nice time with him and really wanted to let him know, so a little while after I got home from Tulu I sent him a brief text. He wrote back right away! He later told me he had been feeling nervous after the date and wasn't 100% sure I liked him as much as he liked me, so getting that text from me when I got home and me being the one to reach out first reassured him. Sometimes in dating, you do have to just go with your gut instincts! And mine said text him first. 😊

     Although I did reach out first, I didn't ask him on a second date. I wanted him to be the one to initiate that, as I am fairly traditional in dating. Luckily, he wasted no time and did ask me out on a second date over text before the end of that evening. He was still in Virginia for a few more days, and on Tuesday afternoon after I got off work, he invited me to go to the local aquarium. He had been before on a past trip to Virginia Beach to see his family, and I had never been. He came to pick me up at my apartment when I got off work, and we headed off to the aquarium. We had a lot of fun! We spent a couple of hours there, and then I suggested that we grab ice cream at a local spot called Lolly's (which is now Ryan's favorite Virginia Beach ice cream place!). The weather was beautiful and warm, and we chatted more outside while enjoying our ice cream. 

    Ryan brought me back to my apartment, and I invited him inside briefly to show him something (I don't remember what it was now 😂). He also got to meet Delilah which was fun! I then walked him back out to his car... and we shared our first kiss! He was so sweet and asked permission if he could give me a kiss goodbye. It was the best first kiss of my life. I was a little bummed because he'd be heading back to Missouri and didn't have plans to visit Virginia again until April or May. But I had to trust that everything would work out. I went back into my apartment after he left and was a bit sad, but within an hour he texted me this really sweet and long message about how he felt like meeting me was a sign from God that moving from Missouri to Virginia was the right move for him, and he was already excited to keep getting to know me more on his next trip out. All of the bummed feelings I had evaporated right then! 

    About a week later, I asked Ryan if he was comfortable to delete Hinge with me. We hadn't even communicated on the app in about a month (since we had exchanged our numbers for texting). I had some awkward conversations with guys in the past about asking them to get off dating apps when they didn't feel ready yet, and I was so nervous to ask Ryan. But he was super on board and seemed glad that I didn't want to pursue other dating options anymore! It was another big reassurance for me, despite the long distance. He did tell me a couple weeks later that he didn't want to make the relationship official until he could see me in person again, but that he would ask me to be his girlfriend whenever he came to Virginia next. 

     Ryan came back to visit Virginia for nine days (!!) in late April, about six weeks after his previous visit. The third time we saw each other is when I picked him up at the airport! I had a bunch of nerves that day. I was so worried Ryan would suddenly think I was uncool or weird after not seeing me for six weeks in person. But as soon as I saw him walking towards me out of the airport terminal, those feelings went away. I dropped him off at his parents' house after picking him up. I always tease him now that I technically met his parents before we were an official couple! Lol. With anyone else I never would've felt ready to meet their parents so soon, but with Ryan it felt totally natural and nice.

     We had a wonderful nine days together in late April 2022! The day after he flew in, I took him on a day trip to the cute town of Cape Charles in Virginia's Eastern Shore. This is where Ryan asked me to be his girlfriend (and now we have a tradition to go every April for our dating anniversary). This is also where we took our first picture together! We had so many other fun relationships "firsts" that week. We visited Norfolk Botanical Garden together for the first time, and Ryan came over for dinner at my apartment and I cooked for him for the first time! It was one of the best weeks of my life. 

Our first photo together!

    Ryan officially moved to Virginia six weeks after that, on June 12th, 2022! Our four months of long distance had already come to an end. My only regret about the early part of our relationship is that I was never able to fly out to Missouri to visit Ryan while he still lived there. I had too much going on in the six weeks between his late April visit and his move. This is when my mom and I went to Ireland, and I also had a friend's wedding out-of-state on a different weekend. I also had work events on some other weekends, and it just didn't work out to squeeze in a Missouri trip then. As of now, I still haven't been to Missouri with Ryan! I am hoping we can make a trip out there at some point in 2025. 

     And that's the full story of how we met! It isn't something wildly romantic or a crazy meet-cute... but it is ours and it's perfect for us. Two people that both didn't have any luck with dating apps for years and years finally connected when the timing was right, and everything has kept getting better and better every single day since that first message. 


No comments

Post a Comment

Thanks so much for reading Southern Belle in Training! Comments make my day- so feel free to share your thoughts on this post! I read each and every comment.
If you have a question in regards to one of my posts, or just want to say hi, the best way to get ahold of me is by e-mailing me directly at: I am better about responding to e-mails than blog comments sometimes!

Blog Design Created by pipdig