After interviewing my friends Kassandra and Paul Styles two months ago, over a Skype chat, it became very clear that love is out there waiting for you, you just have to be willing to cast your net. Kassandra Styles is an administrative judge, and a graduate of Howard Law School. After relocating to Chicago in 2006, Kassandra decided to create an account on match.com, and as fate would have it, the website kept connecting her with potential matches from the Washington, D.C. One of those matches turned out to be Paul Styles, a former colleague that she worked with years ago, at Cellular One back in 1996. While working together, Kassandra would joke with her colleagues that Paul looked like Michael Jackson. Paul chimes in and says “ Yeah I’ll never forget that,” cupping his hand around his chin. Paul is an executive assistant for AT&T, and a graduate of the University of Phoenix. “When I first met Kassandra, I was so excited because I thought it was cool that we were both originally from Queens, NY. It was something we both had in common, but then she started teasing me about my curly hair, and cracking these Michael Jackson jokes about me.” Needlessly to say Paul was a little hesitant at first when Kassandra reached out to him years later, but this second chance encounter online reunited them, and they have been inseparable ever since.They have been married for seven years and counting! Their love is a testament that true love exists when you are willing to open your heart, and allow great things to happen.
Kassandra: It was at Universal Studios, City Walk in Orlando, Florida, we both had conferences there at the same time. We decided to go on a date, and he sent a car to pick me up from my hotel. We went out to have some drinks. At the end of our date, Paul asked me “If I were to buy you a year’s worth of plane tickets would you come visit me?” Kimberly: So he was serious? Kassandra: He was. I wasn’t so sure because this was the curly hair dude, I used to work with at Cellular one. I told him “Sure I will come out and visit.” Paul: Hold on you’re missing a couple pieces of this story. When we first met in Florida, I knew she was the one for me just based on what I saw, and I knew what type of person she was. I knew I didn’t want to rush into anything; I wanted to take things slow. I wanted us to become friends, and get to know each other. The day after our date, I reached out my hand to shake hers, and I said “I look forward to seeing you again.” Kassandra said “That’s it? No kiss?” Kassandra: He is trying to act like he’s some shrinking violet. He puckered up, put his hands in his pocket, and ran back to his hotel room. Kassandra: At the end of our first date, he asked me if he could walk me to my room. I told him “No thank you, kind sir.” I was staying at a big resort, and it was about a half mile to my room, so when I told him that, he thought I wasn’t interested in him. Paul: I just wanted to show her that I was a true gentlemen, and walk her to her room. Her room was half a mile away from where our driver dropped her off, so I just wanted to make sure, she made it back safely. How did you know Paul was the one? Kassandra: I knew because he was so sincere, even though I didn’t want to believe that he was the one. I couldn’t stop thinking about him, and a future with him. He was so genuine towards me, and his heart was in the right place. I finally just had to take a different look at him, since I wasn’t looking at him as a serious long term partner at first. Because he was so consistent and persistent sending me two dozen roses to my office every week, and purchasing plane tickets for me to visit him,[this allowed me to see that his feelings for me were authentic]. He wasn’t going to let up, so I had to take his genuineness to heart. Paul: I was taking our relationship seriously. I poured my heart out, and I was the first to tell her that I loved her. Once a guy is in a serious and committed relationship they will go all out. I was the first to say I want to meet your mother. All that stuff early on in the relationship, [which could have been a lot] because men usually act this way 2 years into a relationship, so that’s why she was a little taken aback. How did you know Kassandra was the one? Paul: I knew from our first date back in Florida. When I saw her I thought she looked so beautiful. When you have met the one, you know in your heart and mind. When I was in the car ride over to meet up with Kassandra that day, I was telling the driver that maybe I might get lucky. I wasn’t thinking seriously about this date, but once I got there everything changed. It just something you feel inside, and it’s hard to explain. You just mentally know when you experience and feel it in your heart. What’s one quality that you admire about each other? Kassandra: He is detail oriented and organized. He doesn’t procrastinate with anything, and he is very methodical. I think a lot can be learned from that because I’m not that way. I think those are the biggest things you get from him right off, beside him being a great father,when he loves you he loves you all the way. The everyday things I like about him is how organized and methodical he is,which drives me batty sometimes. Paul: Oh, really.That’s what it is? Kassandra: I’m just different. Well, ok, along the lines with his OCD almost, he gets annoyed when I am not that way. It’s kind of a double edge sword. Let me be me, and you be you; don’t try to make me the way you are. But I admire that he is that way because he gets a lot things accomplished. Paul: Wow, I am glad that we are talking about this because I didn’t realize that she felt that way. I am going to [change my approach from now on]. One quality that I love about Kassandra is that although she is a judge, she does not judge people. She has a similar personality to me; everyday we are always joking about something. She makes me laugh. Anyone who does not love Kassandra something is wrong with them. She is fair, genuine, strong, and a leader. She is an amazing person. I love everything about her. What’s one of the biggest lessons you learned from being single? Also, what’s one lesson you’ve learned from being married? Kassandra: One lesson I learned from being single is that not every person you meet is meant to be your future mate. There is something you can learn from each relationship good or bad. People are put into your life for a reason, and you just have to figure out what that reason is. When I was younger I used to look at dating as: ok, maybe this guy could be the one. That is not necessarily the best way to approach it because not all guys view things this way. Even though a relationship or date might not go as planned, there always is a possibility for a friendship because you never know how your paths may cross down the road. Although you might love someone it takes more than love to sustain a healthy long-term relationship. The foundation is love and friendship. It takes a lot of patience and commitment to make it work. Paul: Every relationship good or bad prepares you for the day when you meet the person who eventually becomes your soulmate. When I was single, I never thought I would meet my true mate. I had to speak it out loud [into the universe] that I wanted A,B,C; D and this is what I would settle for. I spoke it into [the universe] and a month later A,B,C;D came into my life. You’re always learning something from being single, and being in those relationships. In regards to marriage, even though you are two separate people, you have to put all of you into becoming one, and do not hold anything back. I want to share everything with my [spouse]; and not be judged by that person, and not hold anything back. Their shouldn’t be any secrets. What’s one piece of advice you would give someone who is single and looking to meet someone online? Kassandra: Throw your net out there. You have to put yourself out there, and try it before you say you don’t like. Be honest, and do not embellish because that would be starting off a relationship with a lie, and that’s never good. Keep it light. Try to meet up at a coffee shop, and try to get different pictures of the person because sometimes people like to put up a picture that’s completely inaccurate or from the 90’s. Try multiple sites because one site might not fit well, and the other might fit better. Paul: Definitely be honest. Don’t lie about anything online because even though you may put information about the person you would like to be; instead, be the person you are. Don’t just go after looks. In relationship looks should not be at the top of the list; instead, compatibility and [common interests] should hold a higher [ranking]. Before getting married, what’s one piece of advice you wish someone would have given you? Kassandra: One thing you should probably know is this is our second marriage for the both of us. It’s different. I think the first marriage prepared us for the second one. I was young and I learned a lot of valuable lessons about being a partner and finances. I learned how to manage finances with a mate, when to share accounts and not. Paul: It’s different because a lot of those lessons were learned in the first marriage. Whatever goes on in your household, you have to work on it together. [Don’t allow the opinions of others influence your relationship]In addition, do not involve outside people into your relationship because that’s when it becomes messy. Kassandra and Paul’s love story exemplifies how useful social media can be when trying to find an ideal match, and how love requires a level of openness to receive the gift being given to you