5 Pakistani couples reveal how they met their true loves online

Before you dismiss it, consider this: in the digital world, no one judges you based on your chai-making skills
Updated 12 Feb, 2020

There are no awkward salaams and floor gazes; just you and a chatroom full of people. You decide your move and most importantly, your spouse.

Though many might balk at the thought of online dating (been there, done that) there are many out there who swear by it. Be it Tinder, MSN, mIRC - yeah, waaay back in the day - or even online marriage portals, here are 5 success stories of couples who, if given the chance, wouldn't change a thing about meeting their partner online.

1) Rija and Farhan*,

In 2004, Rija was frustrated. She had been engaged twice before, once to someone she had known in college and once to someone handpicked by her parents.

"I had gone through those options, it hadn't worked out."

So when she joined on a whim as a joke because her friend dared her to, she wasn't expecting to meet her soulmate, especially not the first guy who messaged her and lived over 7,000 miles away in Canada. main page... in case you're interested. main page... in case you're interested.

However, that's exactly what happened.

"It was a very casual message but right off the bat, we could tell our sense of humour was the same. Even when we were chatting, we were just always laughing," recalls Rija.

"He was born and raised in Canada, I was all the way in Karachi but within a couple of months, he visited Lahore and then actually flew out to Karachi to meet me. I was still on the fence about it though. One night, after the Sind Club Ball around 2 am, I had gone to the Pearl Continental with a friend for tea and Farhan was actually staying there.

"My girl friend encouraged me to just call him up and ask him to come down, she was like, "He won't have time to prepare so it'll be like what you see is what you get." That's how we met for the first time. He said he knew that he wanted to marry me as soon as he laid eyes on me, like love at first website. I told him it wasn't quite like that for me," she laughs.

Farhan's dad had recently passed away and he had really wanted him to marry a Pakistani girl and Rija was 27 at the time, looking to settle down.

"It was a way for him to honour his late father and it was just like a puzzle that fit; he called his mother in Canada, got her blessings, came over with a family friend in tow and met my parents. We were married within 6 months."

Now, 12 years and a kid later, her family still knows nothing about their whirlwind romance and thinks they just happened to "bump" into each other at a party. I ask Rija if she would change anything about how they met. It didn't surprise me when she said no.

2) Nyla and Ahmer,* mIRC

Back in the day, when computers were the definition of 'cool' and MmIRC (Internet Relay Chat) was the 90s Facebook, Nyla, at 14, happened to chance upon an online channel of a group of 'nerds' discussing computers.

"My family had newly purchased a computer and I had missed the last show of PTV drama Dhuwan, I thought I'd find it online... I didn't. I ended up finding nerds talking on an online channel about programming," starts off Nyla.

Soon enough she became a part of the group.

Disclaimer: This is not a chat of the couple mentioned in the article. Photo: humourbanalogy
Disclaimer: This is not a chat of the couple mentioned in the article. Photo: humourbanalogy

Nyla and her now husband being the youngest of the lot, 14 and 15, respectively, had the most clashes.

"We had a lot of fights, from politics to what subjects I should take. Now that we're married, people [our group] wonder how it happened since we fought so much," she laughs.

They spoke for three years before they actually met face-to-face in university. "My husband thought I was a boy conning him online because I never sent him pictures, and there was no telephonic communication between us."

Ahmer, originally from Quetta, owned a cafe there and had relocated to Lahore. He flew to Karachi to meet Nyla.

"I recognised him. I had seen his pictures... we were sitting under a tree and something fell in his eye. He kept rubbing his eye and pulling out his eyelashes and then he asked me for a tissue. I reached into my bag to give it to him and he said, 'you have very pretty eyes'."

For nine years, they had a long distance relationship, they knew the other's struggles and were each other's support system. At 23, the couple decided to get married. "It was very difficult telling my mother. She completely freaked out. For the first time in her life she burnt rice."

However, Nyla was adamant on her decision, regardless of her mother's qualms concerning log kya kaheingay.

"I told her I wanted someone with the same sense of humour as me."

At 33 and a marriage of nine years, Nyla says she wouldn't recommend online dating "as a tool to find love or a spouse." Instead, she says, "I would recommend it to interact with people. How can you trust a person you've never met? You don't know if they exist or not."

3) Farah and Shiraz*, MSN Messenger

If you went to high school in the early 2000s, it's likely that chatting on MSN Messenger is what occupied a considerable chunk of your evenings after school.

It all started with a group chat on the instant messaging software for Farah and Shiraz 15 years ago, which she was added to by her best friend, Emaan* and he, by his family friend (also Farah's classmate).

Raise your hands if you used MSN like WhatsApp on your computer back in the day.
Raise your hands if you used MSN like WhatsApp on your computer back in the day.

When they finally decided to meet up at Pizza Hut, Shiraz was a no-show.

Farah elaborates, "Well, actually he showed up; we just failed to recognize him! We told him to wear a white shirt and come by himself. He, being the shy guy that he is, obviously brought a buddy along and so we just didn't connect the dots. Funnily enough, him and his friend were sitting in the booth right behind us!"

"While we were waiting for him to show up, my friend literally pointed him out to me, not knowing it was him and I remember thinking this guy's cute," she adds.

While they didn't end up meeting in person, they continued talking; four months later, Shiraz told her he liked her and that was the beginning of a decade long road to their engagement, one filled with many bumps.

"My parents were strict, eventually my brother started to get the hint because we were sneaking around so much, just to even talk on the phone. At the time, I felt so helpless but in retrospect, I wouldn't trade that time in for a different experience. They were the 10 best years of my life and even 15 years later, Shiraz and I never run out of things to talk about."

That being said, Farah isn't the biggest advocate for finding a partner online.

"I got extremely lucky but it's really a gamble. If my sister was doing something like that, I'd definitely have my reservations. I count my blessings twice!"

4) Mahin and Sarim*,

"Nobody's ever known this story," starts 27-year-old Mahin. "My parents don't know, they assumed I met Sarim through my best friend."

Here's how Mahin's story unfolds:

"I've had a few bad experiences," she says of online dating, but putting her dread aside and taking it with a pinch of salt, she decided to make a profile on while in Europe for her education.

It's not easy looking for Muslims, let alone Shias.
It's not easy looking for Muslims, let alone Shias.

"My family kept throwing rishtas at me and I kept refusing. I thought why not try online matchmaking? There is no social baggage; you can meet the guy as an adult and you won't have your parents on your head or getting involved too soon," explains Mahin.

A few friend requests and zero expectations later, Mahin found her now-husband, Sarim, asking for a friend request on the matrimonial website. She stalked him on social media to see if he was 'legitimate', and only after that accepted his request and they got chatting.

Three months into email correspondence they exchanged numbers. Seven months into it, they decided to meet for the first time.

"I met him on a Eurotrip. After running circles around a tram station trying to find me he was a bit pissed, I think, but he finally made his way to me outside the tram station. And he just stood there at a distance of about a foot and gave me an awkward wave. My heart melted and I spontaneously hugged him. I don't do this with anyone (not a touchy-feely person) at all but we were finally seeing each other and I was overwhelmed."

Fast forward a year and five months later and they both signed the nikkah papers.

However, she advises people looking for love online to be very careful. "The internet is full of horror stories. Keep an open mind and give the other the benefit of the doubt. Not everyone is out to cheat and scam, but be safe and follow common sense."

5) Kiran and Ali*,

In today's day and age, romantic meet-cutes aren't happening over at the mall after school or over dropped books in oldtown bookstores. They're happening online and aren't just limited to dating websites.

Rather, they can potentially happen anywhere and everywhere on the internet, even, sometimes especially, where you don’t necessarily expect them. You could find a suitor on Tinder just as much as a retweet on Twitter can turn into flirty comments, which turn into DMs, which turn into... you get the idea.

Or writing for a news website could lead to your soulmate seeking you out.

(Let it be known, we want some credit for this one.)

A couple of years ago, Kiran was writing food pieces for when in the winter of 2014, Ali Facebook messaged her. A rather observant reader and fellow foodie, he wanted to know why she was suddenly writing about the food landscape in Lahore when she had previously done reviews for restaurants based in Karachi.

Because Facebook is where it's at now.
Because Facebook is where it's at now.

"He reached out to me, asking me if I had moved. I was quite impressed because even I didn't know that the article had been published then! After the initial conversation starter, we discovered mutual friends and common interests and the conversation just flowed from there," she shares.

They began chatting and when she told him about this food writing workshop that she was planning to attend in a month's time, Ali decided to do the same, which is where they ended up meeting for the first time.

That "cemented their friendship" and a few months later, they met again at Karachi Literature Festival.

By January 2016, the two were engaged, married by August.

While the 30-year-old project manager managed to find true love with her fingers on a keyboard and not wrapped around a cup of chai in a living room, she warns others of the dangers of interacting with people online, particularly with the hopes of falling in love.

Her pro tip? "If you do interact with someone, do it in public social forums where the person cannot hide his true personality. This could be a Facebook food group, an online book club, a photography forum or even Twitter. And if one thing leads to another and you want to take things offline, meet them at a public place like an instameet, a blogger's event, Karachi Eat Festival, etc."

This article was originally published on 3 October, 2016.

Names of all couples have been changed to protect privacy.

Do you have a similar story to tell? Tell us in the comments below.


MSN Oct 03, 2016 03:06pm
Good luck happy people. But there are rather more examples of pain and grief with online soul mate searching, especially in our male dominated society. Need to be reminded of the other side as well.
rizwan Oct 03, 2016 03:19pm
you remind me my old days :) chatting whole day on MIRC
ali Oct 03, 2016 04:09pm
waooo good to read all about them,, best wishes for them,,,,
Group chat Oct 03, 2016 04:20pm
Got married to love of my life last year. We met through Facebook group chat
Lubna Oct 03, 2016 04:46pm
Mine was an arranged marriage, we chatted for a few months before our wedding, it was good fun. But after 14 years of married life, I know for sure that you can't understand a person just by chatting with him.
Asma Oct 03, 2016 04:48pm
My story is one of them , me and my hubby met on orkut ;-) its a totally filmy story nobody would ever believe. :-P but i love this story :-D ALL CREDIT GOES TO HIM
Iftikhar Husain Oct 03, 2016 04:56pm
Thought provoking article nice to read.
Faiza Salman Oct 03, 2016 06:30pm
I met my husband online, we chatted for 6 years. before he proposed me I had doubts and I refused but we were in love and I couldn't live without him. Eventually after a moth of emotional setback I agree and we married. There were no hurdles he was highly educated and from a good family. But after living with him I realized chatting is a world of day dreaming. You create an image of some one which is not real. The real person is so different, his/her behavior approach and thoughts are all different. I would not recommend or do this again if i knew how the married life is afterwards.
Zain Hasan Oct 03, 2016 07:03pm
Met my wife on a facebook socio-political group 3 years. We chatted for 6 months before I proposed to her. I hadnt seen her pic or met her before proposing. The chemistry was so good, I never felt the need. Alhamdullilah, we have been married for 1 year now. We could have married earier, but there were massive sect differences between our respected parents. It was the best decision of my life. We still never run out of topics and our love for each other is only increasing. However despite my heavenly experience, I would still say online dating and long distant relationship is not something I will recommend to others. We were just very lucky AH.
Thoroughthinker Oct 03, 2016 07:55pm
Good examples. But, exceptions make no rules!
Hadiqa Oct 03, 2016 08:37pm
@rizwan indeed, those were the days.
Abd Ullah Khan Oct 03, 2016 09:16pm
@Asma. Would love to know yours. :-)
Arshia Oct 04, 2016 12:22am
Really. I enjoyed the beautiful stories of the people and no doubt it took me to my past.
white noise Oct 04, 2016 02:15am
met mine through ICQ almost 20 years ago, and rest as they say is history, it has been no short of a blessing.
saeed Oct 04, 2016 06:27am
@Lubna Very true and this aspect must be highlighted instead of promoting this avenue.
Not Recommended Oct 04, 2016 08:48am
I will not recommended on=line or news paper Rishta. I had married 38 yrs ago on New Papers Rishta, different culture, basically she is my wife still with grown children, did not respect my old age parent, we were poor and she is white color daughter, suddenly God given good luck I got nice job, separate from parent bought house for her, now my parent died, she did not help my poor sister, she is very good but bad my attitude, praying 5 times, good character etc. but do not helping for the marriage children, and she and my self we have small family, children grown up at the age over 32 do not want to marry, wife is not convincing them and life going on for the sake respect. I strong not recommend people to go online or news papers, this is not good way. I suffered but future should not.
TMK Oct 04, 2016 09:14am
ALL the gone with a wind platforms, I used for chat but ......... . Anyhow, in today life when we all have masks on our faces and change according to our interests so in one way or the other it's gambling. Even in arranged marriage or having pre marriage love story. You will find reality after marriage and that might be rosy or thorny it's luck of the couples. Well, we should hope "good luck" for all.
AAMIR Oct 04, 2016 09:34am
They are lucky. but we must see other side of the coin. like love season does not remain the same so as Foggy Glow of the Valley
Israr_Ahmed Oct 04, 2016 10:16am
Oh Wow, someone met through Dawn too?!!! So anyone there for me?????!!!! :D
qurat Oct 04, 2016 04:14pm
Wow... u people r soo lucky, :(
Moody Jones Oct 04, 2016 07:32pm
Good old days of ICQ, mIRC & MSN... :) .... Came close on most of the occasions to hit the target, but ended up to be nailed :-D
Palwasha Oct 04, 2016 10:20pm
@Israr_Ahmed assalamalaikum Dude that was the best response
waqas sultan Oct 05, 2016 02:38am
Apparently girls liked boys who were off shore or were well to do....these things shouldn't be promoted through media
Wife of Zain Hasan Oct 05, 2016 04:38am
I had severe clinical depression and was at risk of losing the battle. With no will to function, I would spend the major part of my day sitting on my laptop. On a Facebook group I would often visit to read the intellectual debates on religion and politics, I found one person whose comments caught my eye. He was resilient and nonconforming; driven by morals and justice. I added him in the hopes of finding a mentor but I didn't expect someone like him to accept my request. He did and I found a beautiful soul. I found hope. Now, a year and two months later, I can't stop counting my blessings for finding a partner I pray everyone in this world can find. Despite how I found him, I think one can simply hope and pray that they find the right person; whether online, in a cafe, through mum and dad's endeavours...there really is no saying. I pray everyone can find the love and peace this world has to offer, like I did, one way or another.
shuja uddin Oct 06, 2016 07:34pm
and all the rest met on facebook,com
tkanhar Oct 07, 2016 08:50am
@Faiza Salman You are very must right I am totally against love marriages because before marriage you make your own dream world but reality has always ups and downs which make you realize that you have mistaken.
Chris Roberts Feb 12, 2020 10:26am
The Internet offers many possibilities when it comes to connecting with people or meeting that special someone. Of course, you do have to take precautions, but online dating can lead to meaningful relationships and shouldn't be ruled out.
Ak Feb 12, 2020 01:28pm
I chose not to get along desi girl after divorce. Met an Indonesian Muslim girl on chat site who loves and cares. We got married in a year and now happier with a six year old son. My advice: stay away from Desi girls.
gghh Feb 12, 2020 03:14pm
Haha.. those were the days!!
Purple Feb 12, 2020 05:03pm
My sister met her husband online. I think these platforms must be promoted instead of bashing them. It is the easiest way to meet someone as adults who do not wish to go through the drawing room culture. One thing I would suggest though is, to meet the man/ woman in person as soon as possible. What we feel in texting/ chatting isn't necessarily the same person. You have to meet in order to ascertain real compatibility. I pray everyone finds their love. Marriage is easy, finding someone you truly love and are loved by them is hard.
shahzad khan Feb 12, 2020 07:58pm
I started chat on yahoo messenger online with a girl in 2003. We fell in love so badly that at last married in 2014 and she applied for khula after 6 months. This is the result of an online chat. Not recommended to anyone.
Aamir Feb 12, 2020 08:11pm
Hahahahaa... As if you stole my words...
Ibrahim S Feb 12, 2020 11:00pm
Women marry men hoping they will change, and men marry women hoping they will not.
AK4PK Feb 12, 2020 11:37pm
Reading between the lines I see a hint of regret. It could be one of two scenarios, you are either still together and going through a rough patch or have parted company. Would love an appraisement on your situation. I am from Karachi. I married an English girl way back in 1981. We were pen friends. We had a very successful and a loving married life. She passed away in 2014, I lost her to cancer. She was very close to my family and made loads of friends in their circles. We visited Karachi 14 times during our married life, it could have been a lot more had it not been for 9/11. Five and a half years to this day, I still miss her every second of my life. When love connects it connects no matter how it came about but the fact remains that luck plays an important part.
Illawarrior Feb 13, 2020 05:48am
Some relationships work, some do not, regardless of how you meet. Finding someone suitable is pot-luck. Whether you meet at work, through parents, through friends, through rishta aunties, through sporting or hobby activities is irrelevant. It is what happens afterwards that matters.