Kathryn's Blog

We Love Love Stories-- Who Doesn't?

Couples find romance, wedding bells on the Web

By Ann Marie Ames
Gazette staff

MILTON-Today, Beth and Ryan Krenke will celebrate their first Valentine’s Day as a married couple.

And Ryan insists neither he nor his wife is a dirty old man.

The Krenkes met in March 2005 through the online dating service eHarmony.com.

Some might think that Internet hookups involve creepy old men or “cyber geeks who are locked to their computer,” Ryan said.

He thinks the opposite is true.

“There are a lot of normal people out there,” said Ryan, 33. “It’s actually becoming pretty stylish or chic to date online.”

Ryan and Beth Krenke met through the online dating service eHarmony.com. The two married last fall and moved to Milton.
Dan Lassiter/Gazette Staff

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Beth, a 29-year-old dental hygienist, was motivated to try online dating when she grew tired of her friends setting her up on dates “just because the guy was single.”

Ryan turned to eHarmony because a former job kept him on the road most of the year. He hadn’t had a chance to set down roots before he took his current job at TDS Telecom in Middleton, he said.

Beth had been online for about nine months and Ryan about four when they met. They’d each had one bad date with another Internet match before meeting for dinner and bowling in April 2005.

“I was pleasantly surprised that she was a good date,” Ryan teased.

Ryan popped the question in a horse-drawn carriage in downtown Chicago the next December. The two were married in September and moved to Milton shortly after.

Beth attributes the couple’s success to strict personality surveys that singles take when they sign up for eHarmony.com, as well as a modest charge to use the service.

“You have to fill out a lot of questions. It takes quite a while, but the honesty really comes out,” Beth said. “Plus, if people aren’t really interested, they are not going to pay the money.”

The survey took some of the pressure off the first date, the Krenkes said.

“A lot of stuff is already established before the first date,” Beth said. “You have some background.”

Ryan cited one downfall to knowing your date before you meet him or her.

“You’ve already talked about things like knowing you want kids,” Ryan said. “So you don’t have the excuse to end the date early if it’s bad.”

‘I didn’t want to do it’
Michael Boyd wasn’t a collector when he logged onto a collector’s chat room in 1996.

But he found a keeper.

Michael and Tammy Boyd met through an Internet chatroom eight years ago. The Footville couple eventually married and have two daughters.
Al Hoch/Gazette Staff

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Boyd of Dumfries, Va., married Tammy Boyd, formerly Tammy Rein of Palmyra, on August 15, 1998. It was the couple’s fourth date.

Eight years and two daughters later, the Footville couple are still in awe of the slim chance they had to find each other online, chat for two years and fall in love.

Michael, now 32, was 22 and shy when his father convinced him to try to meet a girl online.

“I didn’t want to do it. I thought I’d meet some 900-pound woman and have to marry her!” Michael said.

But meeting girls in person was even more intimidating. Temporarily paralyzed in a car accident at age 16-he was clinically dead for a short time on the operating table-Michael walked with a limp, and his arm didn’t function well.

When he and Tammy started chatting, he told her right away about his condition.

“I didn’t want her to think I was a regular guy,” Michael said. “I didn’t want to surprise her.”

He also asked her right away for her phone number, which she refused to give up.

“It was March of 1996,” said Tammy, 31. “I didn’t know much about the Internet. I just knew you shouldn’t be giving your number out to strange people.”

Six months later, Michael confessed he was in love. But Tammy still wouldn’t give up her number.

“I wasn’t having any of that from a guy from the Internet!” she wrote The Janesville Gazette.

In spring 1997, Tammy realized that she, too, was in love. The couple’s first date was a trip to New Orleans that summer.

Tammy’s parents insisted that Michael come to Wisconsin first to meet the family before “their little girl” could go across country with him.

He fit right in.

“They had this dog, Spike, that bit everybody,” Michael said, grinning. “Her mom said she knew I was the one when Spike didn’t bite me.”



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