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Tuesday

April 2014

22

Hartland couple is match made in cyberspace

Love blooms through couple's online life

Love is a strange thing. Cupid can hit you with an arrow walking down the street, from across the room or during a blind date. But in today's ever busier and technology-based world, love is adapting to take root through the Internet.

Keri Loberstein, 34, hadn't been looking for a relationship in December 2009 when she first made acquaintances with Michael Hanko, 28. In fact, she was already in one, albeit one that left something to be desired for Loberstein.

She was working as an office coordinator at a law firm in Brooklyn, N.Y., at the time, and when not working, Loberstein would relax by playing Kingdoms of Camelot on Facebook. Loberstein was so into the game, in fact, that she served as a chat room moderator. That was where she first made contact with Hanko, who was living in Wisconsin.

"Michael and I are both big nerds, so we enjoyed the game," said Loberstein. The duo soon became friends and eventually decided to chat on the phone.

"The first telephone conversation we had was almost an hour; then it just became longer and longer," Loberstein explained. "Once, somehow, we spent eight hours on the phone with each other."

"I think initially what drew us together as friends was our tactical side," stated Loberstein. She and Hanko were on the same alliance in the game and would plan attacks with the others in their group.

"Prior to talking on the phone, things like both of us being natural leaders in the game, having the ability to realize how others are thinking" were just some of the similarities between him and Loberstein, Hanko said. "A few differences also made us a good team, such as her strength in politics while I hated it, but I excelled at doing the math/numbers, which Keri detested."

Over the course of their conversations, sometimes up to three times a day, Loberstein and Hanko found that they shared many of the same common goals, such as how many kids they wanted to have and how they planned to raise them.

"We both love technology and are big nerds - him more than me- in a lot of aspects," said Loberstein.

"Then one day I hung up from talking with him and just texted 'I think I'm in love with you.' His reply was he was thinking the same thing but never said it," said Loberstein.

She added, "It still took him some long, hard convincing to get me on a plane to meet him in Chicago." Loberstein explained, "I was scared to meet him. Honestly I thought he wouldn't like me once we met each other."

In anticipation of meeting, she was "terrified," but Hanko said he wasn't at all. "But I've always been the exact opposite of shy, whereas she can be at times," Hanko added.

As it turned out, Loberstein's fear was unnecessary. "It may sound cliche, but once we met each other, I think we both knew we found our better halves," she said.

Loberstein added, "When we met we met in my hotel room because I was there early; he drove from Wisconsin to Chicago after work. I was nervous so I opened the door and hid behind it to let him in. When I saw him and he smiled, it just drew me in, and we had made a choice that when he met me if he liked me he would just kiss me, and he did, and it was just magical."

Living hundreds of miles away, "We both knew in order for it to work, one would have to move," Loberstein stated. She hated New York and felt that Hanko was too nice of a person to live there. "I quit my job and moved here (to Hartland) January of 2011, and we moved in together," she added.

Although Hanko and Loberstein didn't meet on a conventional dating website, "If I could advise anyone on online dating, I am 100 percent for it," she said. "There are so many people out there, and years ago we didn't have the technology to meet people outside of where you lived. Now that it's there, love can be found anywhere; you can live in New York and find someone in China that fits you in every sense of the word."

Loberstein added, "Even though we didn't meet each other on a dating site, I do think a lot of dating sites offer a good chance to describe who you are and what you are looking for in a mate."

One of the perks of meeting online, according to Hanko, is that it "gives you a great opportunity to get to know a person instead of just thinking about the physical assets right away. It's definitely a great way to get past the surface right away and learn more about a person before deciding whether or not to pursue a relationship."

He said online dating might be easier for busy people to find love. "Being a busy professional, short of going down to the local bar, I wouldn't even know how to begin meeting others."

Through online dating, "you're not confined to settle with someone because 'where else will I meet someone?' If you take the time out to get to know someone from online, it can be a wonderful life-altering experience. I couldn't be happier," said Loberstein.

For those considering online dating, Hanko said, "Don't be embarrassed. I've known too many people who are afraid to tell their friends that they've tried/are trying online dating. The joke will be on the single one who was too afraid to try it and teased their friend for doing so."

Hanko and Loberstein plan to marry on Aug. 24.

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