With help from technology, their connection spanned an ocean

07/26/2014 7:00 AM

07/23/2014 12:30 PM

Jamie Rich, 52, felt an instant kinship with Tom Miras.

He received Tom’s response to his online profile and sensed Tom’s kindheartedness. It was June 9, 2011, and for Tom, 32, that date was the second anniversary of his partner’s death.

After messaging back and forth, Jamie and Tom decided they wanted to talk further and moved their conversation to Skype.

First impressions:

Jamie: “Tom’s calmness and kindness was intriguing. When we talked, I felt a familiarity of friendship.”

Tom: “I liked the way Jamie looked at me. He told me, ‘I promise to make you laugh.’ Talking to him, I felt confidence and trust.”

The challenges: Tom lived in Santiago, in the north of Spain, and Jamie lived in Kansas City. There was a seven-hour time difference, as well as language barriers and cultural differences. Despite these issues, they Skyped frequently, and their friendship deepened.

The unfolding: From the beginning they were in each other’s homes via Skype. They developed a depth and honesty through their conversations, and a comfort through “hanging out” for hours. Within five months they were communicating daily. They finally met in person when Tom visited Kansas City in July 2012.

They knew they were in love when: One day Tom spent seven hours on Skype with Jamie. He knew he was in love, because he thought, “How many hours do I have to wait to see Jamie again?” In January 2012, Jamie realized how much peace and happiness he felt with Tom. They decided to make their relationship public through Facebook.

The wedding: On May 10 this year they were married in Hamburg, Iowa. The two are making their home in the West Plaza neighborhood.

Favorite shared activities and hobbies: They enjoy being in the same space and spending time together. Tom and Jamie take daily walks together. They enjoy cooking for friends and family.

Careers: Jamie is the creative director and owner of Open Circle, a marketing and event services company. Tom works as an interpreter for the deaf and deaf/blind.

What keeps their relationship strong: For years they were separated by time and distance. Whenever they get together, they enjoy every minute. They also communicate clearly, listening to and looking at each other when they talk.

The qualities they most appreciate in each other:

Tom: “Jamie encourages and protects me, and makes me feel happy. He is there for me.”

Jamie: “Tom has impeccable honesty, a sense of genuineness and an appreciation of life. I am so grateful I found him.”

Deborah Shouse is a freelance writer. Suggest a Love Story couple by writing to lovestory@kcstar.com.

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