✍️ Write to the Point
The story of a satirical, yet honest dating ad that lead to 22+ years of love.
Today we bring you an unexpected, love-filled journey that began with a simple online satirical ad. Meet Rob and Wouter, two strangers whose curiosity to go on a blind date fueled the discovery of their mutual passion for languages and movies. As Rob and Woulter’s time together lead to deeper conversations and genuine connections, their relationship blossomed, especially as they realized they shared another passion: prioritizing purpose and human emotion over material goods. Read on to see how their connection grew into a strong bond that has stood the test of time as they celebrate 22 years together.
Let’s start with the story of how you two met!
Rob: In 2001, we met because I placed an online ad. It was on the website of gay magazine, the magazine for youth actually, in the Midlands.
Wouter: The youth branch of the most renowned gay organization (Exprezso), it's been around for 80 years!
Rob: They hosted a platform where you could place ads. I was a bit bored of seeing all types of the same ad, so I decided to place an ad with a bit of a different, satirical perspective. A bit nerdy looking for the same — no gym, no shopping. I got five different responses and one I continued emailing with for more than two emails. That's the person who's sitting next to me now! So the ad well, was successful, I would say. And we met on a date for about three weeks after the online ad. Two weeks later we started dating.
Wouter: It was kind of unexpected, because we weren't really looking for a relationship. But it was more like meeting people with common interests and I thought, “Okay, this is very promising”. I kind of already felt like this could be something bigger than just a friendship. And it was a blind date. I hadn't seen a picture of him.
Rob went on to point out that Wouter’s linguistic expertise and his captivating writing style stood out to him, making their initial date centered around their mutual passion for languages.
Was there chemistry immediately? Or was that something that built up over time?
Wouter: We went out on Valentine's Day, which was actually an accident. It was the only day where they showed Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia film in theaters, and we decided to go there. That was the first date night we had. Movies are something we have in common…We could talk for hours without end because there was so much to talk about. And we both really wanted to get to know each other and dive into each other's lives. We were just curious for more so that's what happened over the following weeks.
What was something that stood out to you about each other that maybe you didn't expect at first?
Rob: I expected him to be smart, but he was smarter than I expected. So that stood out for me. He’s also very modest. Just not self centered — it's a very good quality to have. It's not very unexpected, but it surprised me in a positive way to see that it was one of the main things.
Outer: A lot of people are quite shallow, and Rob is not at all. He’s always light-hearted. He thinks a lot, and maybe overthink things, but at least he’s really serious about life and about friendships. His relationship about being true to his family and things like that. He’s serious about everything because he's a doctor, but it also makes him very dependable.
You've been together for a long period of time now. What would you establish as your secret to success in maintaining a relationship and connecting with each other?
Wouter: I think it also has a lot to do with the connection between us, but also being embedded in our complete networks, or separate networks, but also the friends we have in common. We are very much a couple of people that depend on each other and want to be together. We complement each other because I'm more of the outgoing type and I go places with people. Rob would rather invite people and have them over in a group.
Rob: It also has to do with letting the other person live their life, not do everything together or also have your own lives. Keeping an eye for what's best for your partner.
What excites you about being together and progressing and growing?
Rob: Seeing how we managed to keep our health and get old.
Wouter: Also, being as inviting as we've always been for others. People can depend on us because we’re generous and it feels really good. I think it would be really hard to do that alone. And we are strong as a couple and it gives a purpose to life.
Rob: What you do for others, which gives purpose and sense to your life. It's not the material things. It's the immaterial things, the social things, the emotional things for the people around you, if it's family or friends, or what you do for others.
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