Mixed Couples

Athena & Michael -
Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, United Kingdom

Married April 2018

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The Odds Were Against Them

Fittingly, Athena posted a profile on our site with the username “G0ddeSs.” Michael picked “Mikkeeg.” Maybe that was a Greek demigod or great warrior, because these two are definitely in the same pantheon.

“A colleague told me about the site and I was curious about it,” Athena says to explain her choice to sign up. Michael’s motivations were more complex. “I was in the throes of an awful divorce and really needed to find my confidence again,” he admits. “I figured that online dating was a great option, as it not only gave me the opportunity to meet people from all over the world, but also everyone who was utilizing it had to be there for similar reasons to myself ¬¬–¬ I wanted a genuine relationship, and this really seemed like the best chance for me.”

At the beginning, Athena didn’t consider success a given. “I had the intention of meeting new and interesting friends, but if I found love in the process then that would be an amazing bonus.” Michael’s feelings were remarkably similar. “I had no preconceptions but was realistically optimistic, if that makes sense!”

It does. About a month into his membership, Michael messaged Athena through the site. She says she was in her second or third week at that point. The biggest factor in Michael’s decision to reach out was physical attraction. We asked him why he did: “I can’t lie – her stunning profile pictures! Also, she seemed pretty wild and crazy, which really intrigued me, but upon reading her profile I was astonished to find out how many interests and principles she shared with me.”

After receiving his message, Athena gave his profile a gander and came away impressed. “His wording on his profile was genuine, sweet and funny,” she recalls. “His interests in music and film were very similar to mine too!”

Getting together in person was the next step. What inspired them to pull some plans together? Athena has the answer. “Well, after having constant communication over a period of three months, and us feeling this strong whirlpool of emotions for each other, we confessed our love, then decided it was time we met.” Michael can elaborate on that. “After three months of daily messaging and talking on the phone, and noticing a powerful bond forming between us, it was simply a given. There was no way we weren’t going to meet in person.”

They couldn’t just hop on the freeway and meet up downtown. They lived in different countries! “I flew to England for the very first time in my life,” Athena exclaims. Michael reports that Athena was “mind-bogglingly gorgeous” getting off the plane. She shares her reaction to meeting Michael for the first time. “I felt relieved that he was actually real! The thing that surprised me the most was how it felt as if we had known each for years, maybe even from a past life. It felt so easy and safe and relaxed.”

So what did they do on this date, exactly? Athena says, “We had our first date in Newcastle, at a beautiful Spanish tapas restaurant.” Mmm, sounds good. But just as pleasing was the conversation. “We had been chatting for months so I was fully confident that we would get along swimmingly, but I was very surprised by how effortless it all seemed and how relaxed I felt with Athena,” says Michael. But Athena actually showing up was most satisfying of all. “It was a huge relief when she finally arrived in the U.K. after weeks of planning flights, arranging visas and praying she would get to me without any problems.”

The challenges this couple faced were formidable, Athena reveals, listing them as follows: “The obvious doubts of friends and family, but what was really challenging was having to endure remarks from his ex-wife… Her making it difficult for Michael to see his own daughter and her not wanting her daughter around me, even though I love her as if she was my own.”

There were also institutional obstacles to overcome. “The immigration system in the U.K. is in a total shambles right now and will still not allow us to be a family and live there together,” laments Athena. “To this day we are still fighting to return together.”

Michael confirms this, citing “a lot of suspicion and genuine concern from family and friends, which was quickly dispelled once they managed to meet Athena themselves. Had major issues with my ex-wife. We are still experiencing tremendous problems with the British Home Office, who are making it incredibly difficult for us to settle in England together as a married couple, despite allowing us to marry there and us meeting all the necessary criteria.”

They knew pretty early on, though, that it would all be worth it. “We were texting each other and both inadvertently blurted out our love for each other at exactly the same moment,” laughs Athena. Michael elaborates on this event. “I was at home in the U.K., texting Athena one night after about three months of correspondence when, suddenly, without any warning or prompting of one other, we both professed our love for each other at the exact same second in our messages. It was an astonishing moment, made all the more incredible by the fact that we had not actually met each other in person at that point.”

One of the questions we ask couples is to tell us the things they appreciate about each other that their profiles didn’t prepare them for. Athena answers immediately. “His strong willpower and his ability to adapt and be creative in any situation. Also, his deeply caring and sensitive nature… And his corny sense of humor! Michael becomes very animated when excited or happy. Last but not least, his unconditionally loving nature.” Michael wants to highlight “her empathy, sensitivity and how caring and considerate she is. She also has a wonderfully zany sense of humor, which mirrors my own.”

Athena is very pleased with their match. “In a physical sense I had no type, but on personality and in an emotional sense he is everything I ever dreamed of!” Michael didn’t have a wish list, either. “I never really considered myself to have a ‘type’ at all. In terms of a ‘dream girl’ however, Athena has proven to be the absolute epitome of the term and way more, besides.”

It should be clear by now that these two are a match made in heaven – they have a ton in common, communication is easy and they make each other laugh. So getting hitched seemed like a foregone conclusion. “He proposed at the rooftop bar of the Southern Sun Hyde Park Hotel in Johannesburg,” recounts Athena, swooning at the memory. “It was odd because, despite the bar being quite crowded, no one noticed us save for one lone waitress!”

The proposal may have been low-key, but we’ve certainly noticed that their story is special. “Finding love started from within me first,” Athena explains. “By appreciating myself, then allowing myself to be guided to someone – this amazing person who shows me every single day how I deserve to be loved and appreciated. It has taught how to forgive, how to show compassion, and how to be strong even when I am at my weakest. It has completely changed my view about life.”

Michael nods. As usual, he and Athena are on the same page. “It has completely changed my outlook on life and the world in which we live,” he says of their relationship. “It has restored my confidence and my sense of worth. This sounds corny, I know, but it has made me believe that truly anything is possible and that the only limitations you have as a person are those you impose upon yourself. It has also shown me, in no uncertain terms, that it’s never too late for a second chance.”

Here’s what this happy couple has to say to singles on our site. Athena kicks it off. “Before you even go online, show yourself the love you want to receive from others, as no one is going to know how to love you if you don’t know how to love yourself first. Secondly, don’t take it all too seriously. Love is joyful and fun and happy, and the happier you are, the more people you will attract. Lastly, be honest with yourself when you set up an account. Don’t go into it concerning yourself with what other people may think of you. Focus on yourself and what really matters to you.”

Michael has a lot to say to folks who are still searching for love. “Stick to it,” he advises. “I know it didn’t take me long at all, but it’s crucial to keep trying, however many setbacks you experience. Put aside whatever has happened in the past – there is only what lies ahead. There is someone out there for you, you just have to find them, and there isn’t a broader, more far-reaching platform for you to get yourself out there, and be seen and heard. In terms of interacting with people, just be sincere and genuine and make sure you have fun. Most importantly, if you like someone, make time for them and make sure you tell them how you feel. You’ll soon know if they’re going to reciprocate. Finally, never be afraid of going for someone whom you may kid yourself into thinking is ‘out of your league.’ I almost didn’t send that first message to Athena for this very reason, but you really have nothing to lose and everything to gain – our story proves that. Go for it... chances are you will surprise yourself! Happy hunting!”

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