“But you’re going to leave, why bother dating? And on Tinder of all places?!” Logic was nagging as usual. “Shush!” she said and listened to the voice of her intuition instead saying, “Just give it a try, who knows? Look, he seems lovely, yes, he’s bare-chested, but swipe right, just see what he’s like, forget those rules you made…”. And that’s how the fairy tale began. Read on…
Names: Danielle & Wesley
Been together since: 2015
Danielle: I’m a yoga teacher. I’d moved to Bali after living in Thailand for a while. I was sharing a place with a friend. He was just heading to Australia and told me he usually moved there for the Christmas season to work and save up some money. The amount he saved in just a couple of months there was enough to last him a good six months in Bali. He suggested I do the same.
I’m from New Zeland and I figured it was a great idea: Australia was quite close to Bali, my family was quite close to Australia and I’d make a good amount of money in a little amount of time. I decided to take that step first, then see about the rest of the steps that were to follow.
So here I was living in Australia and I wasn’t planning on staying for too long. I was working a short term Christmas job so I was also polishing up my CV.
With regards to love, I had already set my intention that the next person I dated would be the man I married.
I was house sitting at the time and I was spending a lot of time alone. That was another small influencing factor that gently nudged me along on the decision I made which would change my life trajectory forever: I decided to put myself on Tinder, the dating app*.
I still had my heart set on traveling so it made no sense for me to do that but I just had a feeling that I should do it. I decided to be open about this and see what was out there. I guess I was hoping that I would meet someone who was also open to traveling.
I actually had some rules that I had set for myself. One was that I would not pick anyone who didn’t at least have a little bit of information about himself on his profile. It was important for me that they gave a little bit of indication as to what their intentions were.
My other rule was that I did not want to talk to anyone who didn’t have his shirt on. Sounds funny but does make sense if you consider online dating.
How was Wesley’s profile? He had no information about himself on and he had his shirt off.
Needless to say, I broke all of my rules and thank God I did!
Turns out that Wesley’s Tinder account had been set up by his ex-girlfriend.
They had broken up amicably, were still good friends and were, in fact, still sharing a house. She really wanted him to meet someone and helped him by setting up his Tinder profile.
Wesley used to be a fitness model and she thought putting his photo up there with no shirt on was a good idea. There was also no information about him except for his age and his name as she simply hadn’t put any in. It had nothing to do with what his intentions were.
Wesley: My intentions were very clear in my head.
I wasn’t at the age where I just wanted to have fun. I was looking for someone that I could actually have a good connection with, someone that I could share my future with. I didn’t want to find that life had passed me by and I was alone.
I had moved to Australia some time ago and didn’t have my family with me, I was on my own. I saw how people could spend a few nights with you for some fun and then just leave. That wasn’t what I wanted.
Danielle: For me it’s always been about the whole package and I normally would never go on just looks when it comes to a relationship. So I was quite surprised when I actually right-swiped him. Something compelled me to do so, I just had to see what he was like.
See, I didn’t even think he’d right-swipe me back: He was so good-looking that I assumed he would be out of my league. I was really, really surprised when we matched immediately, I wasn’t expecting that. I actually sent his photo to my sister saying, “Can you believe we just matched?!”
Wesley: Danielle had four photos on her Tinder profile.
First one was a close-up of her face – I could tell she was a very mature, strong woman. The second photo was her on the beach and I really liked that because I love the outdoors and the beach too. Third photo: Her and her friend were on a scooter and she was making a silly face – I thought, ‘Great, she’s fun!’ Fourth photo was of her and a dog and I just said ‘Yes!’.
Saying that though I still knew I had to meet her in person to see if I could feel a connection.
Danielle: I’d been on Tinder for 2 weeks and had matched with a few people. But this was the first time I actually had a conversation with someone. Turned out to be the last.
A two-hour text messaging marathon ensued right then and there.
The conversation was very raw and very open from the get-go. We talked about who we were and what we wanted, our ideas about life and love and what it should be like. We talked about everything, it was a very deep conversation. We discovered we had a lot in common.
I told him that I respected whatever reasons he had for being on Tinder but that I needed to know them. I said that a lot of people were actually on there looking for some fun and that was absolutely fine but it was not what I was there for. I told him straight out that I was there because I was looking for a beautiful person who is strong and honest, someone who is ready to fall in love.
This is the part that he says that really got him:
I told him the one thing that I want in a relationship is knowing where I stand. He always says to this day that the second I told him that he thought, ‘This is my girl!’ because that’s the one thing he always felt was missing in his relationships – he wanted to know where he stood!
Our conversation flowed very, very easily. Funny now even our silence flows easily. Sometimes we don’t even need to talk – there will be a look between us and we will both understand what the other one means to say. One of us will open up after the fact and the other one will say, “Yes, I knew it,” which will be followed by, “I knew you knew it.”
I was a little nervous on our first date because I haven’t dated very much. It was a good kind of nervous though. Plus, we had decided we would see each other on our very first conversation and met two days afterwards so I hadn’t had much time to get my head around it all.
I also had additional thoughts about first dates. It was my opinion that the place that a man chooses to meet you actually gives you a clue to what kind of person he is. So I asked him to pick a place and watched to see if he put thought and effort into it. He ended up picking a very cute tapas place that I actually knew of. He passed the test.
I’ve never been on a blind date but this felt like one. I had no idea what I was walking into. Sometimes what you find in person is very different than what you had found on paper.
Thank God my first impressions were no different than when we had chatted. He was incredibly genuine, very sweet and thoughtful, easy-going and easy to talk to.
I think we knew pretty early on that this was something different. I was trying hard not to let my mind run wild but it just felt different to anything I had experienced before. I couldn’t help but think, ‘Wow, this is him: This is The One!’
Wesley: After meeting her my feelings for her grew and grew and just got stronger.
Danielle: We basically spent every moment that we could after that together. There was no taking it slow.
Wesley: We were on the beach one day and she actually had to go home because her friend was coming over and she was going cook her a pizza. I could see that was a very sweet, caring woman. All these little things added up.
Danielle: We really enjoyed each other’s company and were very open about it. We wanted to see each other all the time so we did.
There were no games played, no waiting a few days before texting back – nothing. I would text him to come meet me on the beach without a second thought, he would text back immediately and tell me he’d be right over after work and he’d come. This had never happened to me before – it was great. It felt so right.
There was never a moment feeling uncertain – we both knew exactly where we stood.
About 3 months into our relationship I started looking for a place to stay. He was still sharing with his ex-girlfriend, who I’d already met and liked. He asked me to move in with them but it was a really long commute for me and just not ideal.
Then Wesley suggested that we move in together into our own place. He’d been thinking of getting his own place for a while anyhow. I was still planning on traveling a little later in the year to continue my yoga education and didn’t quite want to lock myself into a lease. We spoke openly about it. I told him I wanted to stick to my original plan and take my yoga course which would mean I would be away for 3 months.
I didn’t want to scare him away and I did still want to develop our relationship. I told him I’d be happy to come back to him if we were still going strong once my course was over. I told him he was free to decide if he wanted us to wait for each other or just take it as it unfolded. I figured it would be a good way to determine the essence of the relationship.
Soon after, he found a place to live and we moved in together. That was April, around 4 months after we started dating.
Two days after we moved in together, we discovered we were pregnant!
Two days after discovering our pregnancy, I lost my grandmother! It was a very intense week: Moving in together, the pregnancy and then my grandmother passing away.
Wesley was my blessing and my rock that week. It was a terribly confusing time for me with big decisions to make which required me to think very deeply. He allowed me to talk and think things through with him. He was fully present, giving me full support through it all.
The head and heart were doing their usual thing with my head telling me I had just met this guy and that this was absolutely crazy and my heart telling me to go right ahead without a worry.
Emotionally, I felt that I was in a really good place and was the strongest that I have ever been. Wesley had already proven himself to be an amazing partner and would be an amazing father. We could really do this.
Wesley: My feelings were that she was a pretty strong woman and that it would be very right for us to have children together. I had no doubts, she was the right one for me.
Daniele: That’s another thing that I could see was there. I wanted to meet someone who was strong in himself, someone who knew exactly what he wanted, who could actually verbalize it and show it. I wanted a relationship where two people were in it fully, I didn’t want it to be where one person was giving more than the other. With him, the balance was right.
Wesley: My mother had a very bad relationship with my father I did not want my relationship to be like that. My mother and sister are doing so well now; they were always a source of hope and inspiration for me. Even when I had dark days before I met Danielle, I would always keep moving because talking to them every day kept me strong.
I believed that if I led a life where I did things that I believed were wrong, if I lived a life of crazy partying for instance, that I wouldn’t end up with the right things. I tried to do the right things and always believed that love would find me.
Danielle: I have a tattoo in my on my arm in Portuguese and it says something along the lines of positive breeds positive. So I believe whatever you put out you receive back and that’s karma.
Saying that, I believe that love comes to you at the right time and the best thing that you can do is not put your life on hold waiting for it. You have to keep living fully.
We both try and be good people to each other. We both had our share of people who are not suitable to us, people who were not particularly thoughtful, to say the least. So this is quite new for both of us.
We both still pinch ourselves in wonder to make sure we’re not dreaming, we have no words. It all feels very surreal now; this is the happy ever after, the three of us.
I’ve never really been the type of person who planned her dream wedding. One day out of the blue I did have a thought about marriage. That same day Wesley came home telling me about an older colleague he had and how he liked his wedding ring and how warm it made him feel. I never used to think about these things but on that particular day I had. It was quite random that he also thought the same thing on the same day.
What advice would you give to someone looking for love:
Wesley: Love is something that just comes naturally. So if you really want love, you really have to believe in it and look for it.
Danielle: I think when you surrender to who you are, learn to love that person in your entirety, and really start living for yourself, that’s when love comes to you and as Wesley said you just really have to believe.
What I used to try was to please the other person by always trying to fit into the box that they expected of me instead of speaking and living my own truth. This is what I mean by loving myself: That it’s okay just to be me, express my emotions and say what I feel I want to.
I have made it a point to keep working on myself and becoming a person that I could be in love with myself. I had gotten to a point where was confident about who I am. I surrendered to me.
And another story comes to mind now:
I had unknowingly gotten blessings from a priest in India when I was traveling through Calcutta. My friend and I saw a huge queue outside a temple and we joined in. We found out there was a holy tree there and a priest giving you blessings.
We made our donation and when our turn came, our translator took us to the priest and suddenly we were receiving his blessings. Just as suddenly, we were being escorted out. I hadn’t even told the priest what my wishes were! The translator then told us that was a place specifically for people who wanted a family. Destiny had made my wish for me.
What advice do you have for couples going through a hard time?
Danielle: I think honesty and communication are very important. I don’t think it’s very fair on the other person to expect them to change unless they themselves want to change.
This might not be the best way to put it but I think that is where you can tell if a relationship succeeds or fails – you have to want to be a good person and work on yourself not only for the other person, but also for yourself. It is like ongoing soul education. Grow and change together, try to figure out the different ways in which you can really try understand your partner as much as you can.
Actively love them and actively love yourself too. Recognize the different ways in which you can show love to your partner and also see how they receive it.
Wesley: It’s all about taking the time to stop and ask the other person what they really want because sometimes people just cannot say it. Sometimes the other person thinks I’m being giving and the other person is receiving and it’s all okay but it is not. Because they are not giving what the other one wants to receive.
Danielle: I think having different backgrounds actually had a positive impact because we both have a desire to understand each other entirely. It also helps to try to understand without judging. Neither of us are judgmental people by nature too, so that also helps.
I don’t think there is such a thing as perfection in many things anyway, in any sense, but just a beautiful state of satisfaction and contentment with what you have.
One reason I love yoga so much is the sense of balance and awareness it constantly teaches me.
In fact, I find yoga to be almost a mirror of the self, and often the way you are in your practice is a reflection of your state of mind, your natural disposition, of you. And hopefully both yoga and those people closest help you be a better person, diminish your ego and just be happy.
Wesley and Taj give me this, they remind me that love and choosing to be happy is what life is all about. If I have them and I’m in good health, I’m living an amazing life. They show me how to be a kid and be light again, which I love. Life with them just feels easy and right.
Wesley: It doesn’t matter that I don’t practice yoga every day, it still is a big part of my life. Danielle being a teacher and practitioner breathes yoga so this influences me. Our conversations and shared outlook, as well as my upbringing influence how I am in my relationships with Danielle and Taj. I see myself as a spiritual person who tries to be the best person that I can be.
One thing I have learnt about love is…
Wesley: Love is everything, it’s everything!
Danielle: We were watching this documentary. There was a couple there that voiced an opinion that could be considered controversial. They said they loved each other more than they loved their child and that was what kept their family happy. There are many different flavors of love. One thing I believe in though is that when a couple has a child, the balance of focus does shift drastically. I find there is enough love to go around, it is infinite, unconditional and that a couple should never lose focus of each other whilst still maintaining a loving role as parents.
As a parent I think I am purely trying to be a stable, positive mum, staying open to all of the unknowns, accepting what comes, and showing Taj what life is like when you’re loved unconditionally. I’m having a ball being a mum!
- Tinder is a dating app. It works by looking at profiles of people that are on it and right-swiping when you like them and left-swiping when you are not interested. When both parties right-swipe each other you are considered to ‘match’ and can start communicating with each other.
(Interview & write-up by Bianca)
Read about our next couple Anita & David.
Read about our previous couple Nur & Askin.
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