All you need is love, the song goes, but ask any girl who struggles with her guy – love isn’t always simple. There are always problems and the number of suitable, available men seems to be getting less and less.
Yet sometimes it all goes right – take student Matebogo Mokgatla (27). Matebogo had all but given up on dating when she came across a dating website – and, expecting nothing, found the love of her life.
“I’d heard horror stories about how online love isn’t possible and almost everyone I knew agreed that you won’t find your true love on a dating app,” she tells Move!. Yet she set up an account, logged in and clicked on the first profile she saw – and that was it.
“Imagine two people falling in love without looking at the physical side but wanting to know each other on a deeper level. I felt that his bio was written for me. I sent him a message and the rest is history,” says the soon-to-be wed Matebogo.
Her soulmate is Reitumetse Seape (34), a photographer who works on cruise ships, and he was equally smitten. Their journey had a happy ending and together they’ve written a book about their romance – but it wasn’t all smooth sailing. They share their love lessons.
Matebogo, who previously hadn’t been in a relationship that lasted more than a few weeks, “was tired of meeting guys who weren’t genuine”. She didn’t want to have to play it cool, she says.
“I wanted a relationship that would be eternal from the word go, but most guys and even girls just want to test things out in the beginning. “I was feeling hopeless about ever finding the kind of love I was longing for and wouldn’t be content without.”
YOU’VE GOT MAIL
Matebogo was a postgraduate student at North West University’s Vaal Triangle Campus in Gauteng and Reitumetse was at home on holiday in Thaba ‘Nchu in the Free State when they first connected in 2017.
They emailed each other daily for a month, they tell us. In the back of her mind Matebogo still worried. “I hoped he’d be everything promised on the website, but my heart was at peace because we fell in love with each other’s hearts, conversations and personalities.”
WHAT’S YOUR NUMBER?
Four weeks passed before Reitumetse took the plunge and asked for Mate- bogo’s phone number. “Through his soft voice I could sense how sincere and genuine he was,” she says. “He was so lovely to talk to . . . and funny too.”
Over the next six months the couple regularly called and emailed each other as their romance blossomed.
Like the middle act of any romantic movie, this couple also hit a bump in the road. “I realised I hadn’t told my friends or family about him,” Matebogo says. “It felt as if this relationship was just happening in my head.”
Then she misplaced her phone. “For a few days we couldn’t talk and that just cemented how unreal we were. I no longer felt the same joy at texting or emailing him or speaking to him. It felt as if we’d never meet anyway, so I decided to be honest with him.” A few days later she called Reitumetse to break things off. He begged her to reconsider. “I tried,” she recalls, “but I just couldn’t do it at the time.”
A year went by. Reitumetse decided to clean out his phone’s contacts and delete people he was no longer in touch with. When he saw Matebogo’s number he decided to call her.
She was still single and, she recalls, saying she had been “building my relationship with God, reading my Bible more and attending mass and bible study”. The phone call did the trick and once again they clicked.
CAN’T HARDLY WAIT
Reitumetse’s aunt suggested he bring his mysterious bae to meet his family. They met in person for the first time at Jozi’s OR Tambo airport on 15 October 2018, 17 months after first meeting online.
“I was excited and anxious at the same time and in my mind asked myself, what if she’s not the person I saw on the dating website?” Reitumetse recalls. Adds Matebogo: “It suddenly all felt so real.
Part of my fear was, what if the chemistry I felt for all those months online wasn’t there in person? “But our meeting was beautiful and our picture was complete.”
Three hours later they flew to Durban together. With the assistance of the cabin crew, Reitumetse stood up from his seat, went down on his knee and asked Matebogo to marry him.
The couple had discussed marriage and agreed that being in sync with someone was a blessing, but for Matebogo it was still a surprise to be presented with a gorgeous, cushion-cut sterling silver engagement ring.
“We yearned for the same things. Most people think a proposal is cheesy or desperate but he even asked what kind of ring I’d like.” They hope to tie the knot in November or December.
Their book, A Blind Kinda Love, was published last month. “We want people to experience love the way we did, without reservations or cautions,” Matebogo says. “We took a risk.” The book reveals “what our relation- ship means to us. It’s the combination of two hearts who believe love is possible for all”.
“With love,” Reitumetse adds, “there’s a lot of ups and downs. In the book we say that love is possible in this lifetime. It’s a true South African fairytale. We pray that it will inspire people to believe in love again.”Email firstname.lastname@example.org to buy a copy of A Blind Kinda Love at R165 (excl. postage).