BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - You're single, work full time and struggle to find the energy to keep up with your day to day routine. How in the world do you find the time and confidence to meet someone new?
Let's face it; putting yourself out there in the dating world can be daunting. That is why so many people are now turning to their computers or smart phones to find their perfect match.
Facebook, e-Harmony, Match.com, Christian Mingle, Farmers Only, Tagged. . . The list goes on and on. Millions of people are logging on to various dating sites every second, eager to find "the one." It makes sense when you have hundreds of options at your fingertips, waiting to chat at your convenience. The trick is finding the right person, at the right time.
"I felt like I was on cloud nine. I don't remember driving home," said former online love seeker Deborah Gebhart.
Deborah is one of the tens of millions of people who found her true love online. Just as she was about to give up on a number of dating sites, she clicked on PlentyofFish.com.
"I wasn't even a member for two weeks, and all of a sudden Gary contacts me."
Like Deborah, Gary Gebhart too had turned to the Internet, looking for a new life partner.
"I think we just happened to be online at the right time," said Deborah.
"For me, you know it worked out great for me, because I have a hard time meeting people," said Gary.
At 53 and divorced, Gary didn't know where to turn for a second chance at love. Then he found Deborah. He saw her profile and contacted her. After a few weeks of emailing back and forth, they exchanged cell numbers and started texting.
"Then I said, 'Ok. If you want to call me you can'," recalled Deborah. "As soon as I sent that text-Boom! The phone was ringing in my hand. It was that quick."
Six weeks after they met online, it was time to meet face-to-face. Deborah wanted to meet somewhere public, just to be safe, so they drove to a Walmart parking lot.
"We stood there in the heat like two teenagers, sweating; talking," said Deborah.
The rest they say, is history. They married in Ocean Springs a few months later and will celebrate their fifth anniversary this Valentine's Day.
"Even today, almost five years after we've been married, I know I made the right decision, and there's nothing I wouldn't do for her," Gary admits.
Not every online dating story has a happy ending though. There are quite a few horror stories out there, but Gary and Deborah have this advice for web browsers: take it slow. Think baby steps, and always choose a public place for those first encounters.