“We Met Playing Words With Friends”

How a couple found love playing one of the hottest mobile games around

trisha palmer and david palmer image
Photograph: Trisha and David Palmer on their wedding day, November 11, 2011

Trish Palmer loves to tell the story of her unconventional romance, and it’s a narrative that becomes more common in the age of social networking. Trish, 41, met David Palmer, 52, while playing Words With Friends—a free mobile game (similar to Scrabble) that connects you to friends from your online network or to random strangers.  MORE spoke with Trish about her unexpected love story—and the surprise ending not even she saw coming.

How were you paired up with David?
We both hit “random opponent” on the app and played a few games against one another. He was obviously much better than I was, but I didn’t care. I was just having fun. He beat me and I asked for a re-match.

You can’t flirt while playing a game online. How did you establish that you were both interested in one another?
After a few games I still didn't know if I was playing a male or a female because his username was very generic, so I decided to send a private message.  We talked about what we each did for a living, where we lived [David in Houston and Trish outside of Atlanta], kids and marriage. Everyday we’d log on, play a word and hope the other was on and had sent a message.

How did you recognize your connection was moving towards a relationship?
David had recently been through a divorce and I was starting the process, so he said, if you have any questions and need to talk feel free to call. We set a time to talk when I was on my way to a training session for work. I talked to him for about an hour—I was almost late for my session! I thought, ‘Wow! I can’t believe I feel this way about someone that I don’t really know.’ I was ready to be a single woman. I was ready to do whatever I wanted to do and just have a good time. A relationship was the very last thing on my mind.

When did you meet face-to-face for the first time?
After I separated [from my first husband], I took care of myself for a while and did things I didn’t usually get a chance to do. When my youngest would visit her father I’d take little trips here and there. When I told David about all my travel plans he asked, ‘When are you going to come visit me?’ and I said ‘Well, I have a free weekend in October.’ I flew to Houston and he picked me up at the airport. We drove to the beach and spent the weekend in Galveston.

Were you concerned about meeting in person since you didn’t know one another beyond the game?
By this time we had exchanged pictures and knew what one another looked like, so it wasn’t a complete shock when we saw each other. I was really comfortable with it, but a couple of my friends thought I was crazy. They said, ‘You better text me every 15 minutes’ and I said okay. But I was excited. It was a new adventure.

How did things evolve after your trip to Texas?
We had such a fabulous weekend together so we decided to see each other again. David came to Atlanta for New Years Eve and spent a week here. He was at a hotel down the road because my kids didn’t know about him yet, and I wanted to make sure that this was going to stick before I told them. After his trip, David sent me a text saying, ‘You’re going to make me fall in love with you.’ I was thinking, ‘I’m not going to make you do anything—you’re going to do that on your own!’ Then I went to Texas in February and he came back again in March—that’s when he met my kids.

How did they react to meeting him and hearing the story?
They thought it was crazy, but they liked him. He’s such a great guy it’s hard not to love him. My girls really took to him because he’s so laid back and they see how happy he makes me, so they’re happy too.

Where does your relationship stand now?
We got married on November 11, 2011 (11/11/11). David moved to Atlanta last June, and we got married 5 months later. It was a whirlwind. Kind of hard to explain how right it is, but it’s pretty incredible. We just knew that this was it.

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