Viktor: Thank you so much for reaching out! Each time a couple reaches out it makes my week! I am extremely happy to see the site changing people’s lives in such a wonderful way. Before we start, could you please share a couple words about yourself?
She: I’m Ellie located in the US. My main hobbies right now are yoga, personal finance, and hanging out with my dog. Before the pandemic my other main hobby was going to see live music.
He: I’m Mr. X! My hobbies include binge watch great shows, personal finance, and (pre-COVID) going to the movie theatre. It’s not very FI, but it’s one of my favorite things and can’t wait to start going with Ellie :)
Viktor: How did you discover the site?
He: I saw someone mention it in the “Singles In Pursuit of Financial Independence” group on FB.
She: I believe I also saw the link in that Facebook group as well.
Viktor: It is very interesting that you both came from that group. While we are at it, how long have you been in “Singles In Pursuit of Financial Independence” Facebook group?
She: I’ve been a member of that Facebook group for maybe 2 years? It’s not really a singles group, although a lot of people on there are pretty thirsty and I know that people have started dating by meeting there. The concept of the group is really more about how to reach FI as a single person, which can be more difficult because you have half the income of a couple and don’t have anyone to split expenses with.
He: About 2 years. Most of the conversations in the group are geared toward people asking questions about FI and their relationships, or to poke fun at some ridiculous encounters/conversations from dating apps. It’s not really a group for “finding” someone although there have been several couples who met via the group :)
Viktor: I see. That was definitely my misconception about the group that it was meant for finding a partner. Since you mentioned that people met through the group, how does it compare to the firedating.me? What are the advantages of each?
She: Well the Facebook group is really not a dating group, per se, however they do have some “speed dating” events. They also have game nights and in person meet ups as well! Not just for dating, but also for connecting with other single FI people as friends too. The advantages of firedating is that it’s a dedicated dating platform so it’s more specific and obvious if someone wants to date you.
He: Agreed. The SIPOFI group isn’t specifically geared toward finding another person, though it does happen. Firedating.me has that purpose.
Viktor: Thank you! My misunderstanding of the group’s purpose definitely puzzled me. By the way one can find friends on firedating.me as well. I also have plans for organizing online speed dating events here too. So why do you think you were able to meet each other on firedating.me and not through the group?
She: I have no idea! I never recall seeing any posts from him in that group because there are thousands of members. Plus I never would have slid into his DMs, it’s not my style.
He: I’m not sure. I don’t think either of us posted much in the SIPOFI group, so we probably wouldn’t have seen each other and become interested.
Viktor: To me this suggests that firedating.me allows one to better signal their preferences and interests. Since SIPOFI is not exclusively for dating, I suspect it would be weird to actively try to find someone or to approach someone (what if they are not looking for dating?). In any way, let’s get back to firedating.me. What was your impression of the site when you visited it for the first time?
He: It was interesting and different. It was obviously much more focused on people communicating, vice posting pictures and hoping someone bites.
She: It was in beta (back in early summer of 2020) and I could tell there were not many users yet because I live in a major metro area and there were only about 2 people local to me at the time. I loved that there was a limit to the amount of potential matches per day so it wasn’t endless swiping. I had tried other online dating sites before and I thought the interface was a little bit harder to navigate than those but I gave it a shot because it felt more niche.
Viktor: That’s true, the site was intended to encourage communication. I am also happy that you liked the daily limit - that was precisely the idea - to avoid endless swiping. Did you think you would actually meet someone through the site?
She: I was hopeful! But I didn’t think it would happen. At the very least I was hoping for some friends who were into FIRE because I didn’t know anyone else who even knew what that meant.
He: Honestly, no. I had become so burned out on Tinder with conversations that went nowhere, people that I had nothing in common with, etc.
Viktor: Many romantic relationships start with friendships, so aiming for friendships is a good idea too. I can definitely understand why Tinder can feel so frustrating for a FIRE person. Fortunately you’ve met each other. How many people have you connected with before each other?
He: I don’t remember, but I connected with Ellie about the same time as I connected with one or two other people, but Ellie was the one I hit it off with right away.
She: I remember talking with one person but I didn’t have any sparks with anyone until I started talking to Mr.X.
Viktor: Sounds like “having sparks” is a good criterion for a match. What did you think when you saw their profile for the first time?
He: I loved that we were both non-religious and both were into investing and financial independence. It was clear from her description that she was also a money nerd and someone I could have a 2-way conversation about finances with, vice someone who just listened to me nerd out about it.
She: I remember that he was not religious, very handsome, and also he was located all the way across the country. I almost debated about not accepting his message because I was not interested in endless texting without meeting in person. But I took a shot and I’m so glad I did! We are into all the same stuff and since day 1 we have been able to talk to each other for hours about anything.
Viktor: ...And who sent the request?
He: I sent the request to her. This was in June 2020.
Viktor: Did you chat a lot through the site or move somewhere else?
She: I think we chatted through the site for about 2 days, yeah. It was just easier to text off the site at that point because our messages were getting super long.
He: We messaged several times back and forth over a period of maybe 2 days, then I gave her my phone number and she texted me. After another day of that, we talked on the phone. It was relatively quick, but we were sending very long messages back and forth and it made sense to take that risk :)
Viktor: I can understand. Unfortunately the messaging here is not the most convenient. But as we can see this does not prevent people from meeting each other! When did you feel the connection between you two?
He: For me, right after our first conversation on the phone. It was over 2 hours long. It didn’t feel awkward or forced or like we had to search for things to talk about. It just flowed, and I had a smile on my face the entire time talking to her. It was different from my previous experiences with online dating where I felt like both parties were looking for things to talk about; this just felt so natural.
She: Oh yeah after the first phone conversation I was buzzing. We have so much in common it’s almost freaky. We started talking deeply (past the ice breakers) and building a really strong connection after about a week I would say.
Viktor: Oh, I am so happy to hear this. Looks like you just clicked together the moment you called. This is so wonderful. You mentioned living on different sides of the country, have you started a long distance relationship first?
He: Yes, I was in Hawaii and she was on the East Coast. Originally when I joined the site, there were only around 900 total users. When I selected Hawaii as my area, there were no other users, so I enabled the option to look beyond my geographic area and found Ellie :)
She: I initially chose “local only” matches and there were only two other people. I didn’t hit it off with them so I expanded my search and accidentally ended up with someone on the other side of the world, oops. We’ve made it work with long phone calls, video calls, and even traveling to see each other (I had to quarantine for two weeks in Hawaii!)
Viktor: Wow, that’s right across the entire country and even some ocean. By the way I was making a world map with firedating.me cities recently and I noticed that there were quite a few people in Hawaii. Two weeks in quarantine sounds like a challenge. So how did your meeting go?
He: Yes! It was amazing. It was our first real “test” to make sure we were compatible in person, as well as over the phone. We were both nervous, but we met in person and had an amazing time.
She: Oh he was just the same in person as he was over the phone. I was nervous because I was the one who took the 13 hour flight to Hawaii to meet an internet “stranger”. I let my parents and my friends know where I was going. Also the literal state of Hawaii was checking up on me due to the pandemic so I knew it would be difficult for him to murder me and get away with it if he turned out crazy. Plus I was prettttty confident he was normal and nice due to our multiple daily conversations. I think the longest we ever talked on the phone in one day was 6 hours so I felt like I knew him super well. We had already fallen in love before we met in person.
Viktor: (laughing out loud) that’s probably the most creative use of the pandemic situation I’ve ever heard. It is also very interesting that you took the risk despite so many obstacles. I am so happy that it worked out for you! I think this is another argument for people to be more open to long distance relationships. It is indeed much better to find someone far, with whom you match well (have sparks as you said), rather than no one nearby. If one has to relax their criteria, location seems to be the least important one in my view. In any case, what do you plan next?
At first I was planning to move to Hawaii, but then he decided to move to the east coast instead. Plans are still in motion :) He’s the love of my life so I’m pretty confident it will work out. It’s my personal rule that I have to live with someone first before I marry them but he is more spontaneous than me so i bet if I asked him to marry me sooner he would say yes.
He: I plan to move to the East Coast to be near her as soon as I get out of the military. After we live together for a period of time I’m pretty sure we’ll get married :)
Viktor: The spot for firedating.me marriage #1 is still vacant and you know where to find me ;) but first let’s discuss you reaching out for this interview. Could you share how and why did you decide to share your firedating.me success?
He: Ellie found a link to another one of your couple’s interviews on the MMM forum. She sent it to me and I loved reading that couple’s story and thought ours might inspire some people as well :)
Viktor: I’d bet it will. It has already inspired me! Thank you! What is your advice to others?
She: Absolutely expand your geographical search, and just reach out to people and be friendly. Look for common interests and try to find someone with an open, sweet heart. Also there were several key moments where I was at a crossroads where I could either open up to him, or not. And I made the conscious choice to not hold anything back just because I was afraid of being vulnerable or looking stupid. Instead I thought that I would really regret it if I didn’t jump in and be 100% me.
He: Don’t give up on love! I never thought I would find someone I connected so well with. It took a long time, but she was worth the wait! I’m happier than I’ve ever been and can’t wait to start my life with her :)
Viktor: I can’t agree more. Being vulnerable is indeed very important. Trust begets trust, so when you talk to someone in order to build a relationship with them you have to take some risk and open up. This will motivate the other person to open up too. In the worst case you will just find out that you are different people and continue your search. In the best case, you will soon become couple #10 ;) would you like to add something?
He: Thanks for this website; it changed my life for the better.
She: FIRE people are the best kind of people! This dating site rocks.
Viktor: Thank you so much for your kind words and feedback! I strive to help FIRE people to meet each other and form meaningful relationships and be happy! The site is non-profit, but hearing stories like yours is much more valuable to me than financial gains. It does make me really happy and fulfilled. I really hope to help many more couples to meet each other and strive together. Oh, you got me emotional. In any case, if you are a couple who met through firedating.me, please reach out to me. This is extremely important to me. We don’t have to do an interview, but we might. And it's just a lot of fun to get to know more couples.