I Risked Everything To Move Abroad To Marry A Man I Met Online

The story of how I had the world in common with someone 5,000 miles away.

bride and groom sitting on stairs outside stefanopessinaph / Shutterstock

Thirteen years ago, I left the US to marry a Norwegian man I met online.

Nope, it wasn’t one of those mail-order things. We were actually introduced by a mutual friend neither of us had ever met. The whole thing was a testament to the magic of the internet — and human connection.

I was in an odd place in my life. I lived in San Francisco then and had just self-published my first book.

I quit my job to devote my time to writing and didn’t really do much aside from living in bohemian irresponsibility. I had tons of friends and plenty to do, yet still felt "off," and unfulfilled.


RELATED: I Traveled Miles Around The World For The Love Affair Of The Century

An old friend of mine, who had been a digital pen pal since my teens, was helping me promote my book online.

We had yet to meet in person due to distance and different lives.

She knew Martin from a Depeche Mode fan website, and after she posted about me there, he checked out my work. He was curious to know about my influences, so my friend introduced us on Facebook.

Martin was a teacher in Oslo.

We first chatted during our slivers of common hours; my mornings were his evenings, his dawns my middle of the nights. We had a mutual love for writing and of course our favorite band. We entertained each other with stories of our travels, friends, nightclubs, and old jobs.


Soon, we were constantly talking about the messengers of the day. I was unemployed, he had insomnia, so time was on our side. We had so much in common! From deeply personal struggles to favorite parts of rare novels, movies, foods, and song lyrics — it was uncanny.

He had lived in the states for a while as an exchange student, but there was a lot about the culture he didn’t know.

I once cracked a "time to make the donuts" joke, to which he remarked that he couldn’t believe there wasn’t a place near me where I could just buy the donuts. I spent a while educating him on old American commercials online that day.

Martin was planning to visit his friends in the Midwest that summer, and I mentioned off-hand that if he ever wanted to see San Francisco, he should come out for a weekend.


I was now on the hunt for a job.

Between interviews, I was writing on my computer or talking to Martin. In the span of three months, we were attached at the digital hip. Trading secrets and wishes and day-to-day nothings across the 5,000 miles between us.

And apparently, sharing a brain.

RELATED: Woman Asks If She Should Reject Proposal After Partner Of 8 Years Gave Her A Tiny Ring

One day, I left for an interview and told Martin I’d be back in a couple of hours.

When I got home, I was coming up the stairs mumble-singing an old New Order song to myself. It had become customary between us to start chats with a lyric from whatever we were listening to instead of saying "hi." 


When I opened my computer, his status showed he was online and typing something. I typed one line of the lyric I had in my head — as he simultaneously sent me the next one. He was listening to, and I was singing, the same song at the same time.

Eventually-inevitably, things started to take a romantic turn, and he planned to come to visit. I sat on the border of happy and freaked out. Was I falling for a creep? Would he look in person the way he did on that so-not-hi-def video quality of our calls? Was he who he said he was? I trusted my nervous gut, and I went to the airport the day he arrived.

Martin was the first person I saw at arrivals, a living version of his pictures. After the laughter, hugs, and kisses hello, I knew I was standing with someone I wasn’t going to live very well without. He was a real person! No longer in 2-D, no longer words moving on my screen.

He spent two weeks with me, and it was as if we had always lived together. We were engaged after six days. My friends, not surprised by any of this, absolutely loved him. The problem was, we had no idea how we’d stay together. When Martin left, I didn’t know when I’d see him again.


He wasn’t in the position to move to the states, so I decided to be the one to make the jump. I had already lived in or seen all the places in the US that I wanted to after leaving my native New York City. The test of actually going ahead with all this was in the year it would take to deal with paperwork, money, and time.

It would also take a lot of creativity and patience to pull this off while tolerating the anguish of being without my other half until an uncertain date. I worked harder than I’d ever worked in my life to save money for that move.

RELATED: Woman Says Fiancé Told Her He Didn't Remember Proposing After She Spent Months Planning Wedding

Then, one day in June, I left everything I knew and everyone I loved to cross the Atlantic for the first time.


I landed in Oslo as an ex-pat, proud that I could understand fleeting words of what people around me were saying.

Everything Martin had shown me online now lived and breathed around me. As we took the train to the suburb of Oslo where he lived, I couldn’t believe how everyone on that train was the same shade of blonde.

Everyone…was blonde.


We were still no different in person than we had been online. Only now, we really did share everything — from moments to meals, keys to chores, and frustrations with paperwork, and money.

A year and a half since our meeting on Facebook, Martin and I married before a judge that fall. It was so surreal that my time of being lost would lead to moving to the other side of the world to marry my best friend, who was once just a name on a screen.

It’s easy to forget that real connections still happen amidst the digital sea of content.

It’s easy to forget that the music we love, the books we read, and the people we talk to, are more than algorithms.


They’re the stories of our lives.

The internet has become an entirely different force from the one it was when Martin and I met, but I’ve always loved its fundamental charm: it reduces miles to keystrokes and lets strangers change each other’s lives forever.

RELATED: Woman Says Man She Met Online Robbed Her Home & Ghosted Her On Their First Date

Celeste Ramos is a freelance writer of fiction, poetry, scripts, and blogger, and she teaches online workshops for writers.