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They met online over a decade ago, now they're engaged

LOVE ONLINE: Derek Zomer and Jennifer Jackson met in an online gaming forum when they were young teenagers and fell in love after a decade-long friendship. They're now engaged.
LOVE ONLINE: Derek Zomer and Jennifer Jackson met in an online gaming forum when they were young teenagers and fell in love after a decade-long friendship. They're now engaged. Contributed

THERE are plenty of love stories which start online.

From swiping in an app to filling out a profile on a dating website, it's not unusual for relationships to blossom from an online match.

Even in an age of internet dating, Jennifer Jackson and Derek Zomer's story is unique.

Before social media was a global addiction, the Rockhampton man started talking to Jennifer in forums for the game Kingdom Hearts around the ages of 11 and 12.

From posts on common topics to private messages and eventually emails, Jennifer and Derek grew closer.

They soon moved to MSN Messenger and would occasionally video chat, forming a firm friendship throughout their teenage years.

There was one slight hitch in this plan: Derek was in Australia and Jennifer was in Oxford, England.

But it was no barrier to their relationship.

 

Derek Zormer and Jennifer Jackson met in an online gaming forum when they were young teenagers and fell in love after a decade long friendship. They're now engaged.
Derek Zormer and Jennifer Jackson met in an online gaming forum when they were young teenagers and fell in love after a decade long friendship. They're now engaged. Contributed

"We were always into similar things, it was always really easy to talk to each other," Jennifer said.

For Derek, the teenage crush he'd developed on Jennifer when they first started talking never went away, although he admitted he had dated other people in high school because it seemed the done thing.

"We kind of had an agreement that if we were ever in the same country we'd end up dating," he said.

"I had this crush on her from when I was 11 to when I was 16 and I hoped I'd end up with her.

"I was pretty confident it was going to happen.

"I can't imagine how my life would have gone otherwise, to be honest."

Jennifer on the other hand, was a little more subdued at first.

"I was fairly cynical of it until we were 17/18 and then I thought it was an inevitability at this point and it was waiting for us to be in the same place," she said.

By the time they moved from friendship to romance, the pair had been best friends for six years so the transition was easy.

 

Derek Zormer and Jennifer Jackson met in an online gaming forum when they were young teenagers and fell in love after a decade long friendship. They're now engaged.
Derek Zormer and Jennifer Jackson met in an online gaming forum when they were young teenagers and fell in love after a decade long friendship. They're now engaged. Contributed

After high school, Derek moved to the UK on a two-year working visa just months after the couple had decided they were officially dating.

"We got to know each other at that age where we were growing up so we kind of grew up with one another and we saw each other growing up," Derek said.

That first meeting was a surreal experience for both Derek and Jennifer who couldn't believe they were now with the person they'd so far only seen on screen.

Before Derek moved back to Australia, where he is now studying at CQUniversity, the pair became engaged.

It was a low-key engagement, with Derek never keen on a grand proposal.

There were added difficulties as well, working out who would move to which country and navigating the visas required.

After discussing the pros and cons of becoming husband and wife, Derek wrote "marry me?" in the steam on the bathroom mirror one morning.

Now Derek is finishing university and Jennifer is about to head home after a month-long stay to meet her soon-to-be Australian in-laws.

If all goes to plan with Derek's visa application, he hopes to be living in the United Kingdom again before Christmas with a wedding date within the next two years.

Jennifer will move to Australia on a two-year visa if Derek's application doesn't work out, so for now the pair are in limbo.

While they're still parted by distance, Jennifer and Derek still have an amazing story to tell and one which always surprises people.

Topics:  editors picks engagement long distance relationship online dating



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