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Their online dating experience turned into love and marriage

Theresa Coates Ellis, Manassas City Council, and her husband, George Ellis, tell quite the story about their meeting, falling in love and marriage. Though it seems meeting online and “Tinder” dating may be a thing for people in their 20s, the Ellises met online 11 years ago when they were in their 40s.

Their meeting was so successful that they were heralded as an eHarmony success couple with their photo on the eHarmony website.

The two were both married for more than 19 years when they found themselves “suddenly single.”  They both lived in Manassas and owned a business with each having three daughters living at home. Theresa also had a son who was already off living his adult life, so neither had a lot of spare time for dating.

Theresa says she dated through being set-up by friends, and George admittedly used dating sites just a bit. He met someone on eHarmony a year earlier and after that relationship, he went back on the site where he found Theresa.

They both agreed they liked eHarmony because it had a list of comprehensive questions and they felt that people were vetted before meeting. Theresa said her daughters knew she was on the site. She said it cost $60 a month and laughingly says that she didn’t want to end up with someone who “couldn’t afford $60 a month.”

She originally said she didn’t want to be date anyone in Manassas, anyone with his own business, or anyone with children, but that is everything that George is.

She admits those who had never been married and had not had children did not understand that her children were her priority, and George is every one of those things that she didn’t think she wanted.

She said that when George’s profile popped up, she noticed he didn’t follow any of the rules. She said he had photos of his kids on it and that was advised against on the site. She said that he initially clicked on her, but never initiated conversation. She said it took him three days to respond. It was around Christmas time when they first saw each other online.

When she asked what he liked to do in his spare time in her initial conversation online, she laughs that he replied, “I like to pick up sticks after a wind storm with Mickey.” Though the answer was odd, she was intrigued.

She recalls he seemed “humble” and had “no game.” The couple recall that they met on Jan. 10. She says she is a staunch Dunkin Donuts coffee drinker and he is a Starbucks coffee drinker, but she agreed to meet him at Starbucks. He says he had just bought a new car and was waiting for her, she was late, and parked right next to his new car. He said he found her “really attractive” and thought to himself, “holy smokes.”

They broke all of the rules of the first date, they recall, they discussed their ex-spouses and their children. George was afraid to look her in the eye, but Theresa says he had “kind, warm eyes.” They had immediate chemistry, but then it went “cold,” Theresa recalls.

It took two more months when “out-of-the blue” George sent Theresa an email where he said, “I kind of messed up,” and asked her out to dinner.

They went to dinner in Manassas and then two nights later went to dinner again. George says she was late both times.

After a couple of months they decided to let their girls, who were ages 13-20 at the time, meet. After about six months, they got engaged. Theresa says that her friend, Jane, in South Carolina got engaged and she thought, “What are we doing here?”

She describes dating before George “a sport”- meaning that she was dating, but nothing ever became permanent.

The two went to Skyline Drive when George asked her out to the porch. She said it was foggy and she had no idea why they would be out there. There wasn’t a view because of the dense fog. That is when he popped the question. She says he got down on one knee. She says that by the time they drove down the mountain, she had planned the wedding and they drove by the church.

They got married initially in St. Paul’s Church in Haymarket. She had been married in the Catholic Church previously and had to go through a long, two-year process to get an annulment, but the couple was ready to begin their life together, pulling their two families under one roof.

So, the couple got married twice, once in St. Paul’s, and again at All Saints Catholic Church after Theresa’s annulment.

They were engaged in June 2009 and were married Oct. 17, 2009. All six of their girls and Theresa’s daughter-in-law were in the wedding. They recall the girls were so happy for them that they were crying.

There were some growing pains in moving everyone under one roof, but they eventually found their way.

As they were moving, Theresa found a photo in one of the closets of George’s daughters. She knew the photo because she had the same one. They discovered that both of their daughters had been on the same basketball team, they had been on the same sidelines, but they were not in a place to find one another at that time.

After they had settled into their life together, Theresa says she received an email from eHarmony that questioned why she was not active on the site and that is when she told eHarmony their story.

She received an email back asking them to come to Hollywood to be a “success couple.” They recorded a video and went to Hollywood. They had make-up and hair done. George recalls getting a pair of Lucky Jeans to wear from the set of How I Met Your Mother.  For two years, the couple’s photo could be seen when people went to the eHarmony website.

Now the couple’s home is an empty nest.

The six girls who came together in this blended family now grown and flown include Allison, 32, a film director in Los Angeles; Kathryn, 27, working on her Ph.D. in Florida; Laura, 24, in real estate in Manassas; Christine, 31, runs the front desk in a family clinic in Manassas; Natalie, 27, lives in Colorado Springs and teaches for the military; and Jillian, 26, who is attending George Mason University.

Theresa says several of the girls came together to help her in her campaign for Manassas City Council in 2018, and she describes them all as “beautiful, driven ladies” and looks at her husband with great admiration.

George is over the moon with all of the women of the house– describing himself as a “very lucky man.”

A true, successful love story.

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