How We Met: Online Love

“Good morning, Habibti.”

Who’s saying it? “Arabic-name-boy,” or as he is legally named, Zouhair, the boy I had been talking to through various social media for a few months at that point in time.

What does Habibti mean? It is Arabic and it means “my love.”

Our pen pal friendship had blossomed into a romance.  We spoke day and night through the autumn and winter seasons. We watched movies together (even with the five hour time difference) we talked politics, economics, religion, culture, family, dreams, aspirations, cats (my cute cat Sophie), and love.

A chilly November morning I woke up to messages in my WhatsApp from Zouhair, which quickly planted a smile on my face and a warm, glowing feeling through my body.

“Why do I feel so good when we talk?” I wondered. I pretended to wonder, but I knew.

I had been thinking about expressing my love for Zouhair, but something had been holding me back; fear of loss most likely. I allowed myself time to think about the consequences of telling Zouhair that I loved him, but I felt stupid. Why am I keeping this in? Love is the most beautiful gift in this world. If you love someone, just tell him or her! There’s no strings tied to this expression unless you want them to be there. So I decided to leave all strings freedom to fly in the wind.

“I love you, Zouhair. I wanted to tell you. It’s true.” (Kiss face emoji)

 I didn’t feel stress. I didn’t feel self-conscious or worried. I felt peace and happiness for speaking this truth that was felt so strongly within me.

I watched Zuhair begin to type back.

(Heart face emoji, kiss face emoji, heart emoji) “I love you too, Hannah. I’m very happy.”

Can you feel the feels? I sure did.

A week or so later I researched how to say “my love” in Arabic and found Habibi and Habibti. The first is masculine and the latter is feminine.

After thoroughly investigating the use of this word through forums of English-speaking people asking Arabic-speaking people the same question of “How do I say (my love) in Arabic?” I found that Habibi and Habibti were correct.

What happened next? A message with the word “Habibi” sprinkled with a few emojis followed by a message with the word “Habibti” and a few emojis and two very happy people with an ocean in between them, but a connection that left a feeling of no distance at all.

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