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'We Met on AOL, When Meeting on the Internet Wasn't Cool'

Merrimack's 'Cutest Couple' TerryAnn and Jake Bowen tell the story of how they met – and it turns out, they are huge fans of Valentine's Day.

MERRIMACK, NH -- Last week we put out a call for local lovebirds to share photos of themselves in a "Cutest Couple" gallery in honor of Valentine's Day. A dozen couples shared photos and a panel of Patch editors voted on Wednesday night, naming TerryAnn and Jake Bowen the winners.

They filled out a questionnaire sharing some information about themselves, their family and the then-unconventional way they met.

Meet the Bowen's, scroll through their photos above (we were big fans of the baby shower t-shirts) and leave them a comment below.

Don't forget to check out all the other wonderful couples who uploaded their photos to the Cutest Couple gallery.

Names:  

TerryAnn and Jake Bowen

Relationship:

Married 13 wonderful years!

Wedding or Dating Anniversary?

10/10/99. We had a big vow renewal on 10/10/10 and had a big wedding all over again.  All of our children were included.  Even the 4 month old baby (from the belly in the baby shower photo) was the ring bearer.  With a little help, of course, from his aunt carrying him :)

Children?  

6 children. When we met, we had 3 children. He had a daughter and I had two sons...then during the course of our marriage, we had 3 more, which were 2 girls and a little boy who is now two.

Pets?  

One kitty named Valentine ... he was a Valentine gift from my husband to me 5 years ago.

How did you meet?  

This is an interesting story for you. We met on AOL, when meeting on the internet wasn't cool yet.  We met in an ordinary chat room, and sparks flew. Jake didn't even see my photo for more than a month.  After conversing for several months, we just had to meet.  I flew all the way to Oregon to meet him, and two months later, he moved here to be with me. :)

Favorite thing about each other?    

Jake: Her eyes are awesome, but my favorite thing is her adventurous spirit. TerryAnn: He says that I have an adventurous spirit??? This is coming from a man that moved 3,000 miles to live with the woman he fell in love with! What's more adventurous than that? I love the Daddy in him. He can be strong and protective and then mild and sensitive. It's very attractive. And his laugh is my favorite sound in the world.

Where did you go on your first date?  

We went to an Italian restaurant in Jacksonville, Oregon. Jake had TerryAnn try tiramisu for the first time and she fell in love ... with the dessert too.

Favorite date spot in Merrimack?  

We enjoy dates at the Common Man restaurant. We love to share the baked apples. Although, most of the time, these "dates" include some of our children.

Do you celebrate Valentine's Day?    

We like to tell people that in our house, it's Valentine's Day every day! Valentine's Day is a very special day in the Bowen house!  We have a cat named Valentine because he was a gift from Jake to TerryAnn 5 years ago. Valentine's Day also lives in our hearts and on our hands since we have each others names tattooed onto our wedding ring finger. This was also a Valentine Day gift to each other on 2/14/02.  These days, we have to incorporate the children into our Valentine's Day routine, so it's a special dinner at a kid-friendly restaurant, followed by chocolate fondue at our kitchen table.  

Which do you prefer:

Bowling or the movies?  

Jake: Movies    

TerryAnn: Movies  

Chocolate or vanilla?  

Jake: Vanilla  

TerryAnn: Vanilla

A night out or a night in?  

Jake: Night out  

TerryAnn: A night out ... what is that?   We can't get out much because of  the kiddies ... but clearly, if it were an option, a night out would win!

Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall?

Jake: Summer  

TerryAnn: LOVE LOVE LOVE the summer!

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Jake: Yes, when I first saw her I fell in love. But the truth is that I fell in love before I saw her. We met on the Internet, and didn't meet in person for months, and when you take a man's eyes away, all he can see with, is his heart.

TerryAnn: Not only did it happen then, but after 13 years of marriage, I still fall in love at the first sight of him every day.

Daniel F Sheehy February 15, 2013 at 12:24 AM
My wife and I also met 13 years ago on AOL. She was from Ipswich, United Kingdom and I from Albany, NY. We've been married 10 years coming up on our 11th anniversary March 23rd
Daniel F Sheehy February 15, 2013 at 12:31 AM
AOL should arrange a big weekend get together for all the people who met on AOL and married. C'mon AOL...This will boost your PR image.
Diane Pelinka February 15, 2013 at 12:50 AM
Met the love of my life in an "Over Forty" AOL chatroom on October 6, 1995. He was the only person who had a regular name - "ThomFL". I lived in Duluth Mn and he was in Ft. Pierce FL. We racked up huge phone bills (this was back in the day when AOL charged by the minute to be online), met in person on New Year's Eve and he moved to MN that following June. We were together until his death January 12, 2012. Still love you, Thom Burrell. Thanks for creating a great love story with me!
Carolyn Dube (Editor) February 15, 2013 at 12:53 AM
I wish we had a "Like" button on our comments. There would be a whole lotta liking going on! Thanks for sharing your stories!!!
Judy February 15, 2013 at 01:00 AM
I met my husband on AOL too, 18 years ago! We have been married almost 10 years! Where is my story?
P February 15, 2013 at 01:22 AM
My husband and I met online 15 years ago. We will celebrate 14 years of marraige this year. Who would have known? :-)
Neil Lavey February 15, 2013 at 01:22 AM
I met my husband on an AOL posting board (remember those!?) 17 years ago. We married two years ago; within two months of Mr. Cuomo making it possible for us to do so....
Steve Becker February 15, 2013 at 01:24 AM
I met my wife on AOL just after thanksgiving in 1994, I ran home to hear "You Have Mail" It is amazing. and yes. we're still together. She was in Orlando Fla. and I was in Oakland Ca. at the time.
Dawn Medley February 15, 2013 at 01:29 AM
My husband and I also met on "Love at Aol". We had our first date the day after Thanksgiving in 1999 and by January 8th we were engaged. We'll celebrate our 13th anniversary in May and we couldn't be happier!
julia wilkinson February 15, 2013 at 01:33 AM
LOL...The Flirts' Nook! That takes me back. Julia (aka "Tangent" on PC-Link and AOL circa 1988-1997).
Lynn February 15, 2013 at 01:40 AM
It's more common than you think. Me and my husband mate 10 years ago, married 6 years ago, have one son, and met on gothmatch.com when we were both gothic metal heads.
Kim February 15, 2013 at 01:41 AM
My husband and I met in Southern Charm chat room on AOL. Fifteen years ago today we were engaged and will be married 15 yrs 8/8. Our maid of honor was a girl I became friends with in the same chat room.
Matre Carrefour February 15, 2013 at 01:46 AM
My wife and I met on AOL 12 years ago, and have been married for 9 years. We were 600 miles apart when we met, and I moved to another time zone to be with her. Congratulations to all the other happy couples that have met on AOL, I couldn't imagine my life without her..
Sue Martens February 15, 2013 at 02:46 AM
Like so many others on here, my husband and I met online too, and we were certainly not young kids. He was 59 and I was 55. In the fall of 2002, I was going to give dating one last shot (after kissing a few too many frogs) so I signed up for Match.com for one month. Later I found out he had the same thoughts, but he signed up for a year! The running joke is that it cost him a lot more to find me than it did for me to find him. We started e-mailing for about a month, then phone calls, and finally met on New Year's Eve day at the zoo -- another running joke. By March we had decided to get married, which we did on Sept. 21, two days before his 60th birthday since I had said I didn't want to marry an old man in his 60s. (I was 56.) We're still happily married and will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary this year.
Deborah Conlon February 15, 2013 at 02:58 AM
My husband and I met on line at Love @aol.com. It was a strange way to meet someone back then. Much more common place now but I think in many ways it is scarier today than back then. We met in 1998, engaged in 1999, married in 2000, and our first son was born in 2001. We celebrated our anniversary last October and we are still going strong! Thanks AOL!
Pat Wickam February 15, 2013 at 03:05 AM
My husband of 12 yrs (next week) and I also met on AOL personals. He found me when i had forgotten I even had a profile on there. He has now just been diagnosed with prostate cancer. My heart just sank as I read you post. God bless you and the years you had together. We are and the doctors are too, very positive about the outcome. I am 65 and he is 63., so we would have been in the over 40 group too.
Pat Wickam February 15, 2013 at 03:10 AM
After seeing "you have mail" on New Year's Eve with the girls, I went home and asked my daughter and niece to help me sign up on AOL. Met my husband through AOL personals in 2000 and we married in 2oo1. Luckily we were both in the Kansas City area. I had met several men and did the long distance thing a couple of times, but for me the miles were just too much to overcome. Glad it worked for you.
Heather February 15, 2013 at 03:12 AM
My husband and I also met in a chat room on AOL....we have been married almost 13 yrs as well. Back then, all you heard on the news was people getting ax murdered by people they met on the internet :) My friends were so worried. We talked on the internet and eventually the phone for 11 long months before we were able to make the trek to meet each other half way between our home states. We loved each other before we met in person. I can still remember the magic and strangeness of that day. Its something that a lot of people don't understand....unless you have met that same way. I think we have such a great marriage because we talked so much and learned so much about each other for such a long time before we met in person. Happy Valentines Day!
Helene Greenspan February 15, 2013 at 03:22 AM
My wife and I met on AOL thru a good friend. We started Im'ing and talking on the telephone...about two months later I invited her to visit me in New Mexico where I was living at the time. When I saw her come bouncing off the plane ramp I new "she was for me". I brought yellow roses....we stopped for dinner and a drink then took her home to meet my "Mama" since we were sharing a co-joined apartment so I could help her out when needed. We have not been apart since then....I proposed to my wife on February 11, 2000. We just celebrated our 13th anniversary the other day. My wife is the light of my life and I love her more today then when we first met (if that is possible) I am almost 71 and my wife is 75!! Thanks Neil for sharing your thoughts and feelings on this wonderful Valentine's Day. Nice to hear of other gay couples being "out" and in love!!
TerryAnn Bowen February 15, 2013 at 03:49 AM
Thank you for reading our story and sharing yours! I just wanted to add that we have been loyal AOL customers ever since just because it's too sentimental to change. Thank you AOL for making it all possible! Wishing you all a lifetime of Happy Valentine's Days!
George Roberts February 15, 2013 at 06:10 AM
how depressing. im the only person in the us that hasnt met anybody on aol. not a single person. what an i doing wrong? and how do you meet there anyway? do they have a dating site, or something?
George Roberts February 15, 2013 at 06:13 AM
unreal. i was their mailman. we should have a reunion.
Shawn February 15, 2013 at 08:01 AM
Ahhh, AOL chat rooms, and the virtual love affairs I had there! Never hooked up with anyone, but had my heart broken really really really bad. But it is all good, and the memory is actually sweet from those days. Except for the part where someone was using my pictures.
Anita February 15, 2013 at 09:49 AM
I met my husband on the AOL of the 70's ... a CB radio of all things !! My dad had one to listen to truckers and one night I heard this young guy talking with someone else. From the conversation I heard I garnered that he lived in Harrison just like me. I picked up the mike and started talking. A few weeks later I took my older cousin with me (by one year ...ha!..I was 16 she was 17) and we went into town to meet with this guy. And the rest is history ... that was in Jan 1971, we married in 1978 and 34 years later have 3 kids and are still together.. how about that !!
charlies angel February 15, 2013 at 01:52 PM
Met my hubby in Aol forty chatroom. Him Illinois me Indiana. We talked for 5 wis on phone before meeting. We planned on meeting at a restaurant in Indiana not far from il border. He said he would be in white truck. Inever saw him but he had my pic. Well when I showed up in the parking lot the restaurant was torn down lil I kept looking for his white truck. Thought for sure he got there 1st and thought I stood him up. All of a sudden a black car pulls up and a guy is rolling down the window saying its me its me. I'm like who are you? Its me Bob. We both got out of our cars. He looked me up and down and I asked what are looking at. He said nothing. I looked him up and down. He asked what are looking at?. I said nothing. It was love from there and here we are together 11 yrs. 2dating and married 9. The reason he was in the black car was because if he didn't like what he saw in person he was going to do a drive by lol.
Abbe February 15, 2013 at 02:57 PM
Joining in with the AOL love stories. My husband and I met over 14 years ago on Love@AOL and have been happily married for 13 years. The surprising thing was how many real world connections we had - even though we met online. He worked 4 minutes from my house, we rode our bikes in the same place, shopped at the same grocery store, I'd met a cousin of his when I lived in another city - 10 years BEFORE I met my husband, and he and my best friend's husband worked at the same company for over 20 years. People often forget that we met online because our lives were so intertwined - even before we officially met. And online dating was still new and scary back then - but - we talked on the phone for 2 months before meeting in person and I think we were in love before we ever saw each other face to face. I thank AOL for bringing me the amazing gift of my husband.
Carol February 15, 2013 at 02:57 PM
My husband and I met on Love at AOL 12 years ago. I put my ad on there as a dare from friends. I stood him up the first time we were supposed to meet. I am glad he didn't give up, he is the best thing that ever happened to me. We have been married 11 years now and are going strong. I was tired of being set up with the wrong kind of person by friends and relatives. Of course you have to be careful because some people are not so desireable and honest. Just be smart about it. Glad to see success stories since everyone thought I was crazy to use the internet to date.
heidi February 15, 2013 at 02:58 PM
My husband and I met on AOL also!!!!!
flick40 February 15, 2013 at 03:01 PM
I met my partner on AOL over 15 years ago and we are still together. Can't get married though, most states wont recognize us a legitimate couple. We don't care.
Terrence Brunner February 15, 2013 at 03:03 PM
Gosh re reading this thing I feel like I left alot out, We met alot of great people in that chat room,some have become very dear friends,we have been to room parties hung out with roomies met up with roomies really great people, someday I hope to be able to have a party for those friends we have met, SOme are no longer with us passed on ya know, none the less their smile and memories remain.

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