Arlean Friesen and William Newstater tie the knot in an April 9 ceremony at Peace Portal Alliance Church

THIS IS THE LIFE: Perfect match

Finding love at 86 years old took Arlean Friesen and William Newstater more than a click of the mouse – but that is exactly how it started

Cloverdale senior Arlean Friesen wasn’t the least bit surprised when her beau, William Newstater, got down on one knee and proposed on Boxing Day, less than a year after the 86-year-olds met through an online dating site.

“We talked about everything under the sun,” the senior said of the countless hours she and Newstater spent over the previous months getting to know each other. “I knew it was happening.”

But while it’s estimated one-in-five relationships start online, and that the use of online dating has jumped 40 per cent amongst adults 50 years of age and older, it was an avenue of meeting companions that Friesen hadn’t experimented with before.

She said she was inspired to give it a try last spring – her husband had died the year before, and she wanted to find someone to share her life with again – by the success of one of the pastors at her church who had met his wife that way.

Marriage was not at the top of her mind, however.

“You go with an idea that you have a friend only,” Friesen said. “You can’t think of it any other way.”

But even though she knew that others had had positive experiences with online dating, the Cloverdale resident had some hesitations with the concept, and chose to make the foray without creating an official profile.

“That’s why I didn’t put my picture up, why I didn’t answer the questions,” she said. “I never signed up.”

Able to peruse other profiles regardless, she chatted with a couple of men. But it was Newstater’s photo – one the Calgary resident had posted of himself standing with his granddaughters – that really caught her attention.

“I thought that he looked so neat,” she said.

Her message? “I said, ‘I like your smile’.”

After sharing her photo via email – Newstater said he insisted that without a photo, he wouldn’t continue to correspond – the connection between the seniors quickly grew. They spoke on the phone every night, and travelled to each other’s hometown to spend time together, discovering along the way that they had many things in common, including a farming background and that neither liked the ocean.

“She’s cost me an awful lot of telephone bills,” Newstater quipped during a chat the day before the wedding.

WeddingThe pair tied the knot on April 9, at Peace Portal Alliance Church in South Surrey.

Friesen said even before she met Newstater, she knew she wanted to get married again; to find someone to enjoy travel and other activities with.

“I don’t like being left alone and I don’t see the point of being alone,” she said. But, “you have to find somebody you can go with.”

According to information online, more and more single seniors are turning to online dating sites to find companionship.

For anyone venturing into that world, tips for keeping safe include staying somewhat anonymous in the early stages – create a separate email and don’t be too quick to share personal information such as a home address. If deciding to meet, pick somewhere public.

As well, online profiles should be honest, include a photograph or two and be up to date.

For Friesen, it was also important to start as friends.

“I think it only works if you become friends first,” she said.

Those who know the senior say they couldn’t be more positive and excited about how it’s all worked out.

“It’s so, so wonderful to see what can happen when you’re 86,” said Hope Hilstad, who met Friesen through church and attended the couple’s April 9 wedding in Peace Portal’s chapel.

“They’re so connected, you can just see how much they love each other.”

And while it may be Friesen’s fourth time at the altar, her perspective on the marriage is brand new.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s the first one,” Friesen said.

“It’s a new life, new start, everything new again.”

 

Just Posted

‘Speed dating’ all-candidates meeting in Surrey zeroes in on homelessness and housing

Candidates mingle with residents at tables with various topics, in 10-minute intervals

Safe Surrey Coalition says it will set up an ‘Office of Ethics’ if elected

Slate says the permanent office would ‘ensure transparency and fair treatment of all citizens’

Partial lane closures for Port Mann Tuesday, Wednesday nights

Drivers can expect delays during maintenance work: Mainroad

Surrey man drops one-kilo brick of cocaine as cops arrest him outside his house

Amanpreet Singh Gill serving two years less a day for possessing cocaine for purpose of trafficking

North Delta library featuring local artist in new exhibit

Internationally-renowned artist Jarnail Singh will have his art on display until Nov. 22

VIDEO: More cameras, police coming after Marissa Shen killed in Burnaby park

B.C. privacy watchdog worries that the cameras are a ‘slow creep’ to a surveillance state

Tempering the B.C. cannabis legalization ‘gold rush’

Retail selling of marijuana offers potential business opportunities and pitfalls

B.C. cancer patient’s case exposes gaps in care for homeless people: advocates

Terry Willis says he’s praying for a clean, safe place to live to undergo the cancer treatments he needs after he was denied chemotherapy because he lives in a Victoria homeless shelter.

Trump boasts of America’s might, gets laugh at UN

President Donald Trump received an unexpected laugh at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.

Federal use of A.I. in visa applications could breach human rights, report says

Impacts of automated decision-making involving immigration applications and how errors and assumptions could lead to “life-and-death ramifications”

Arborist killed by fallen tree at Maple Ridge Golf Course

Was working near the 9th tee box of the golf course.

Rattie scores 3 as Oilers blank Canucks 6-0

Vancouver slips to 1-5 in exhibition play

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Dead B.C. motorcyclist was member of group that raced down mountain road

Some group members record their rides on Strathcona Parkway and post times to page

Most Read