February 10

The Story of “I said YES” by Katya Varbanova – i.e. We’re Engaged!

3  comments

Well I haven’t written a blog post in years but I figured it was time to create one AND for a fun reason. 

On the 21st of January at 4:20pm Jamie asked me to marry him and obviously, I said yes!! 

And ever since the announcement, I’ve had so many messages of congratulations but also a lot of questions. 

This blog should aim to answer it all. I am lazy like that and don’t want to repeat myself hahah! 

As evidence by this blog post being released in February bahahahah!

Also, be prepared for imperfect grammar and random “Haha!” full sentences. If you get easily triggered by imperfect style of writing, best to click out now! Haha! 😀

Also this blog post will follow the engagement and our story from my perspective!

Get ready for story time because I am about to take you on the journey going back to the very beginning.

How I met Jamie (2019) 

It all started in 2018. 

I was living in Malta. I’ve recently broken up with my previous boyfriend of 4.5 years (totally mutual, and only have positive things to say about that relationship). 

This was around the time when I went studying really deep into personality typing, relationship compatibility and learnt a lot about myself as an ENFP. 

My business was booming and I was wondering what’s next for me.

I decided to go nomadic and travel. After all, I had nothing holding me in one place anymore! 

This was my chance to explore the world and have fun being single. 

So I packed my bags and moved all my stuff back to Bulgaria (where I am from) in November 2018.  

Now, I don’t know about you but I LOVE my parents dearly. However, I just can’t stay with them for more than a few weeks without getting restless, haha!

So I booked an upcoming December trip to Australia to stay with my friend Kat for a few weeks after I spend some time at home. 

Since this was going to be a 24 hour journey, I decided to treat myself to an Emirates business class flight journey from Bulgaria to Brisbane. 

YOLO!

Before I left for Australia, one random afternoon, my friend Morgan tagged me on a post about personality types.

She’s known for quite a while I was obsessed with studying it for dating. 

Her post said “Apparently my perfect romantic matches are ENFPs and ENTPs (I am INFJ). Who else thinks Katya Varbanova should create an MBTI dating app?

Sidenote, I still get requests as such to this day. Crazy right?

And it was on that exact post that I met Jamie for the very first time!

He commented on her post and asked a question, and since Mortan tagged me, I figured it’d be polite to answer all comments and questions on that thread, including Jamie’s.

“Time to figure out what matches an ENFJ” – Jamie said (Note, we later found out he was actually an INFJ :P).

“Get yourself an NFP woman and you’ll never go back. ENFP or INFP. Seeeriouslyyy” – I responded.

It was that same night that Jamie added me as a friend on Facebook and I accepted.

Truth be told, I thought he was cute from the day he responded but I also didn’t think much of it as I find a lot of people attractive. I was enjoying being single, not really thinking about dating and also, I am not the kind of girl that’s ever going to message a guy first. Nothing wrong with initiating of course, just not my style.

Good news, Jamie was the kind of person that would!

A few days later he smoothly slid into my DMs 😛

 

Dec 1st 2018:

“Where in the world are you in right now? Also hai ^_^” – Jamie said. 

And that’s how it all started.

Me in Bulgaria, Jamie in Canada!

Crazy huh?

Now here’s even the crazier part.

I found him quite fun to talk to, so from day 1, we just happened to naturally talk throughout the day via Facebook (and eventually over Whatsapp and Zoom).

At first, our conversations were just friendly and platonic.

After a while, it became more and more obvious to me that he liked me.

I kind of did too.

I mean he was this smart, thoughtful, emotionally mature and open guy, who was an entrepreneur AND had a very similar lifestyle to me.

I have to tell you, we pretty much broke every single dating rule.

You know… the “don’t respond immediately to texts” and “it’s not real until you meet in person” and “make sure you’re dating multiple people at the same time” blah blah blah.

What can I say… I’ve never been a follower, not even when it comes to dating.

And also, by that point, I’ve studied enough about ENFP – INFJ relationships (check out this youtube channel if you’re curious about personality type compatibility) to know that it was definitely worth exploring.

My personality typing mentor at the time said to me “knowing someone’s true type doesn’t mean you know everything about them but it sure as hell saves years of trying to figure them out”.

We just got along on so many levels and had Zoom video calls pretty much almost every day.

Like I remember being in Australia and the gym was about 30 min walk away, so he’d talk to me as I was heading there.

In fact, one of my favourite things that made Jamie stand out from any other guys I dated, was that Jamie wasn’t playing games.

He wasn’t the kind of guy who waited hours before he responded to me, you know, just to leave me “wanting more”. 😃 (Lol, I always found that tactic quite off-putting actually).

In fact, if he couldn’t talk to me because he was busy, he would actually message me and say “Hey, I am going to be offline for tonight as I am doing XYZ, I’ll message you tomorrow”.

Like wow.. such a small thing and so easy to do but how many people don’t ever do that, especially when you don’t expect it or ask for it?

He just naturally cared that I know he wasn’t ignoring me, even though I never thought that he did.

He didn’t hold back on any compliments.

He was super open about his life and that made me feel very safe.

We had so many deep conversations about life, dating, business and humans in general.

He believed we had potential.

So much so that 24 days after sliding into my DMs, Jamie booked a flight to Australia to come and meet in person.

I know this will sound crazy to many of you reading this but in our situation it obviously worked out well 🙂

I know there’s a lot of people out there who are skeptical of long distance dating because you never know how things may turn out.

And I don’t blame you if you are. If you watched the Tinder Swindler you’ll know that online dating scams are real!

So please if you’re currently talking to someone long distance, please make sure they’re a real person, get to know them in real life and speak to their friends, as there are a lot of scammers on the internet.

The reason I felt safe about Jamie was because him and I had 150+ mutual friends and he was Scott Oldford’s personal trainer for a long time (Scott was helping me grow my business in 2017).

So I had asked a few people if he was who he says he is and that’s why I felt comfortable to proceed.

Meeting in person for the first time – 22/01/2019 

So remember how Jamie booked a flight to come and see me in Australia?

Well a few days before his flight, he was in London with some of his extended family.

One night, unfortunately he got a call from his dad letting him know his aunt passed away and that Jamie had to go back to Canada for the funeral and therefore miss his flight to see me in Australia.

I remember us talking about it and how worried he was that it could happen. He was really close to his aunt and it was just a really devastating news for the entire family.

And when it all unfolded, we talked about how it was an absolute no brainer for him to go back to Canada for the funeral and not to worry about coming to Australia.

Jamie was heartbroken about the whole situation and I felt heartbroken for him. By that point, we have built such a strong emotional bond and despite the fact we haven’t actually met in person, I really cared for him and he cared for me. I remember him saying “I wish you could be here now”.

So I jokingly threw the idea of me flying to Canada on the table, totally expecting him to say no hahah.

“What if I came to you in Canada? I need to be in the US in 3 weeks anyway, I can just come to Canada, meet you there and then I’ll fly to the US a few days later. Or I can just meet you in the US after it’s all done. I definitely don’t want to impose.” – I said.

I was very careful of course to let him know that I wouldn’t take it personally no matter what he chose. After all, this was about what’s right for him and his family.

But his response? “You would fly to Canada for me? I can’t believe you would actually do that for me. I would love that so much.”

“Well, you booked a flight for me right? And you did it KNOWING this could happen. I can book a flight tonight and be there in 2 days. I won’t make it to the funeral but I’ll be there right after on the 22nd January 2019.” – I said.

(Note, my logic was quite simple. If I meet him and it doesn’t work out, I’ll just hang out with my friend Amanda Bond in Toronto. I even messaged her asking her if she’d be okay with that hahaha! Remember, I was single on a nomadic adventure).

And if you’re reading this and feel “Woahh that’s too much too soon”, I can assure you many others would agree with you.

But for me, I’ve always been a huge believer that the quality of your connections have nothing to do with how much time you spend with someone.

I lived with my ex boyfriend for 4.5 years and I didn’t have as deep connection with him as I had with Jamie for the few short weeks that we spoke.

Also, if you’re still reading this, chances are you have some level of connection to me as well, even though we may have never met, right?

You may have even trusted me and spent thousands of dollars with Viral Marketing Stars® or maybe you’re in the Viral Content Club®.

My point is, a human being can change your life from a distance, even if you never meet them in person.

So sure, the internet dating gurus have a lot of opinions on this topic.

And some of what they say is true – you should be careful and you shouldn’t over-invest early on, especially with someone you don’t know very well.

The way I saw it is simple. I am a smart cookie. I trust myself and my intuition and I trust that even if things don’t work out, I will be okay.

It’s like a really mature balanced position to be in  – somewhere in between “I am really excited about the potential of this working out” and “I am confident in my own ability to pick myself up in case I fall flat on my face” 😀

So what happened next?

I did what I said I was gonna do.

I booked a flight and was on my way to Toronto just 2 days later.

I flew Brisbane – LA – Toronto.

It was quite a long journey.

I was really tired.

I also got grilled at the Canadian border.

Like holy smokes…the immigration police was harsh. “Why are you coming to Canada? Who are you seeing? How do you know him? Is he your boyfriend”.

Just imagine me half asleep, talking to the immigration police officer and telling him “No, he’s not my boyfriend, we’ve never met and yes I flew from Australia to meet him. I know him from Facebook”.

The look on that guy’s face was literally priceless.

And you know how he let me go?

I just said “Listen, yes, he’s my long distance boyfriend. And we’re going to stay at an Airbnb tonight together, alright?” 😀

And he was like “Well, why didn’t you just say so? Great, you can pass through”. Hahah!

So Jamie was impatiently waiting at the airport for hours.

What was it like meeting for the first time?

Honestly? Epic!!!

Meeting for the first time in person was EVEN BETTER than we both imagined.

From day 1, it just clicked, exactly as we expected.

And it was effortless, fun and romantic.

Heck, Jamie asked me to be his girlfriend after the 1st night together and I met his family a few days later.

Don’t even get me started about the love and support from his parents.

I’ve never been welcomed into a family with that much warmth.

Maybe that’s for another blog post?

Traveling together (all of 2019) 

After spending a few days in Toronto together, I had to travel to the US for a couple of events and Jamie came with me! And off we went, our travelling began January 28th!

We started with Las Vegas to be there for my friend and client Selena Soo’s event, then Arizona for a few meetups, then Nashville for Funnel Hacking Live, then San Diego for Traffic & Conversion summit + a mastermind with Selena Soo again in San Diego.

And we did all of this in literally a month. Here are 2 photos, one from Las Vegas and one from Nashville!

After all the crazy travelling, we went back to Toronto for International Women’s day.

We stayed at Jamie’s parents house for a few weeks and had so much fun with his family.

I am super grateful to his mom and dad for letting us stay and really embracing me so quickly as they made this entire process so much easier.

I remember his mom saying to me at the time “I’ve never seen my son so happy” and I have to say, that was true for both of us.

Our relationship was effortless on all levels.

We just fit very well together.

I am this super bubbly, loud, creative, opinionated short lady and he’s this smart, calm, biohacker know-it-all tall dude.

Now you may wonder “Wait a minute, you are 20 something year olds, how the heck can you afford all these flights and all that travelling?”

Well the truth is, we are both entrepreneurs.

Jamie had a service based business helping others with website development and video editing, while I had a hugely successful membership helping entrepreneurs with their social media marketing (see here ).

We were both location independent and could work from anywhere with just wifi.

I always wanted to find someone who has the same level of freedom as I did. Frankly, I couldn’t see myself with anyone with a 9-5 job.

After spending a couple of weeks in Toronto and meeting Jamie’s parents, we decided it was time to meet my parents so we took a flight to Bulgaria to stay there for a few weeks.

And unsurprisingly, Jamie fit right like a glove with my family too.

Just like I had a chance to explore his home place, he had a chance to explore mine.

Apart from the fact that Jamie didn’t speak Bulgarian, he fell in love with the food and the prices in Bulgaria.

I mean, if you’ve never been to Bulgaria it’s so cheap! We found some incredible Airbnb’s for literally $1000 a month.

The rest of the summer was crazy full of travelling as well.

I am not gonna give you all the details because it was literally 30+ flights in total.

We spent 6 weeks in Malta just before the summer began.

We then went back to Toronto for a few weeks.

We then went to Medellin, Colombia for an event ran by my good friend and previous client Ron Reich.

We then went to Puerto Rico to see my friend Selena Soo again (I feel like Selena’s been quite a big part of our journey as a couple).

We then went back to Toronto.

And then back to Bulgaria.

And then back to Malta.

It was December 2019 and we wanted to stay in one place for a while so we got a place for 6 months only.

And then.. the Pandemic happened.

And we got stuck on a beautiful island.

Could have been stuck in worse places huh?

Anyway, while we were here, Jamie got his UK citizenship (as he’s half British) and since I am an EU citizen, it was quite easy to establish ourselves in Europe.

So yeah, I took a flight to Canada to see him, but he moved his entire life in Europe so we can be together.

So you see, relationships are about give and take.

And that’s kind of the long story short of how our relationship developed over the last few years.

As we moved to Malta, Jamie started to play an even bigger role in my business.

He helped me launch the Viral Content Templates™, the Viral Content Club® and so many more incredible products over the years.

My business exploded.

2020 was better than all previous years and 2021 was my best year in business ever.

The Proposal (21/01/2022) 

So how did the proposal actually happen? Was I completely blindsided? Did I see it coming?

So here’s what happened.

For the last 12 months, Jamie was dropping all sorts of hints and I knew he was serious about us getting married and building a family together.

But I also was aware that the world was crazy and we haven’t planned any crazy trips anywhere in the world, so I didn’t really know how it would happen.

From what I know NOW, Jamie met with a jeweler in October 2021 to create a custom made diamond ring for me.

I have to say I love that he went above and beyond to create something unique from scratch rather than just picking the first thing on a window.

He spent a ton of time sifting through different rings until he created the one.

And I have to say, I am extremely happy about the end result.

It’s such a beautiful ring and it is so me, I can’t even tell you.

Now Jamie was planning to propose on our 3 year anniversary, to book a hotel away and have a really special moment together away, but unfortunately the Covid Rules in Malta changed so much it meant we couldn’t go anywhere.

So on the day before our 3 year anniversary (21st of January), we were just having a normal day as any other day.

We had a few packages delivered and it turned out it was Jamie’ Christmas gift (delivered a tad late lol) as well as the 3 year anniversary gift I got him.

I bought him this really nice sweater that he now pretty much wears every single day.

What can I say, I am the fashionista of the house.

And then he said “I have one of your gifts here too, do you want to see it?”.

Now, if you know me well, you know I love gifts and Jamie usually gets me gifts for all occasions – Birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s, Anniversaries and more.

So of course I wasn’t surprised that he got me a gift.

And since I couldn’t wait to give him his 3 year anniversary gift, I started poking him and ask him about my gift.

“What’s my gift, Jamie?”

Was it clothing? “No” he said.

Was it jewelry? No.

Was it perfume / beauty stuff? No.

“Then what the hell was it?”

So Jamie said, “I can give it to you”.

Alright, so I closed my eyes and he kept teasing me “Shall I give it to you?” “Do you want it?”

I was like “Gimme!” 😀

Mind you, at that point, I literally thought he had a perfume or something for me. I had no idea what was coming next.

He made me sit in the bedroom and close my eyes.

I must have kept my eyes closed for at least 2 minutes sitting there restless (lol the ADHD).

And then finally he asked me to open my eyes and there was, holding this beautiful engagement ring.

Now, I have to tell you, I was shocked.

Shocked, surprised, like WHAAATT!

Like I SOOOOO didn’t see this coming now.

A usual Friday afternoon at home, both of us wearing comfy clothes.

Proposing on the anniversary just felt a little too obvious.

So I ruled it out hahah!

So there we go, he’s proposing.

I have to admit at first, I froze.

And so did he. Like he was shaking and saying absolutely nothing.

So I said “Oh.. what is it?”

And he goes “It’s an engagement ring. Will you marry me?”

“Are you serious?” I asked.

“Of course I am serious”, he responded.

I leaned in to give him a kiss.

And then he came back and asked me “Wait.. what did you say?”

And I said “Oh my bad, YES, duh :D”

And that’s how the glamorous proposal happened!

If ya’ll expected a proposal on top of the cliff overlooking the ocean, sorry guys 😀

It happened on a regular Friday afternoon, while we were doing absolutely nothing at home.

What’s funny is Jamie told me at first he was thinking of doing one of these proposals where you bring photographers and all that and I was just like “Holy cow, I am so glad you didn’t”.

Nothing against public proposals but honestly, this was such a special moment and I am so glad it was between just me and Jamie.

And yeah, the proposal wasn’t glamorous but holy heck, have you seen the ring? It’s incredible.

Anyway, the day of our anniversary, Jamie had this massive bouquet of roses delivered for our 3 anniversary, it was the best thing ever.

So yeah, I think originally he was planning to propose as the roses came in but he was just like “Screw it, I am doing it the day before cause why not!” and I love that.

Now I know some of ya’ll are nosy buggers so I have answers to your FAQs 😀

Frequently Asked Questions 

  1. So Katya, what do you really think about the ring? I freaking love the ring. The diamonds are beautiful, it fits me perfectly and it’s so me. I love sparkly, blingy jewelry and this hits the spot quite nicely.
  2. How much was your ring? You nosey bugger. Don’t ask me that! All I can say is as a self-proclaimed high maintenance woman, I am very satisfied with the ring on all levels! Jamie made a great choice.
  3. So when are you getting married? We haven’t really set any dates yet. Jamie was thinking about the end of 2022 but I think summer 2023 is probably more realistic!
  4. Did you expect a proposal that day? Absolutely not. I thought “A proposal on our anniversary? Nahh, that’s too obvious” 😀 So yeah, Jamie reverse psychology-ed me hahah!
  5. Where will you get married? Honestly, who knows! The world is still kind of crazy. Malta seems to be the most likely option, but wouldn’t it be cool if we had a wedding in Canada, Bulgaria and Malta? Haha! Please don’t hold us to this. It’s just an idea we’re toying with.
  6. How do your parents feel about this? Both my parents and his parents are absolutely delighted. I mean to be completely honest, I told Jamie’s mom that I always felt them as family anyway but yeah. We’re all very happy.
  7. Why didn’t you announce the engagement earlier? Frankly, we wanted to stay in our own bubble for a bit. It’s been kind of nice to have this secret between us. But also, I wanted to write this blog post first, because I just knew I was gonna be asked a million questions that I can’t be bothered answering hahah! What can I say? Efficiency in everything.
  8. Did Jamie ask your dad for his blessing? Yes he did. About a week before he did it. My dad gave him the “You better take care of her” speech 😀 It was kind of cute.
  9. Any other questions? Let me know and I may add them to the FAQs 😀

Conclusion

In summary here’s a message I want to share with everyone.

Love isn’t always logical.

Sometimes you have to take crazy risks and break some rules (within limits, please watch the Tinder Swindler for your own awareness).

Who knows what would have happened if Jamie didn’t message me that day he slid into my DMs?

Or if he didn’t book a flight to Australia? Heck, I can tell you for sure, if he didn’t book a flight to Australia, I would have never felt safe to book a flight to Canada myself.

And then if he didn’t come travelling with me what would have happened?

Everything aligned effortlessly.

And this is the thing I want everyone to take away from our story!

When it comes to finding love, sometimes you have to throw away the dating rules, especially when things flow.

My philosophy is simple.

Find someone who’s compatible to you, and that includes your communication preferences, your lifestyle and your personality.

Don’t try to mould people to become compatible to you or mould yourself to become compatible to them. That never ends up well.

There’s no amount of healing work, femininity work and dating knowledge that’s going to make everyone fall in love with you.

For every train, there’s different passengers.

So my message to the ladies (if you care to know what I think) is, please don’t obsess over the dating and femininity rules out there.

You’re not a low value woman if you do things differently.

Take what resonates and leave the rest.

There’s a ton of noise giving black and white advice such as “Don’t text too much” and “Don’t put all your eggs in one guy’s basket”.

When in reality, your DNA and your preferences may be different.

We’re millennials. We like to text. We even text nowadays if one of us is out and about.

Also, I personally tried the whole ‘dating lots of guys at the same thing’ and while it was fun for a bit, eventually I just got sick of it and over the years of reflecting back, I came to the conclusion that the rule was more helpful for women who tend to over-obsess about that one bad guy, so dating a few guys at the same time would help them manage their own anxiety and attachment insecurities and ensure they don’t feel overly-attached to the wrong person.

While I look back at my own dating history and honestly, all my relationships (and dates) have been pretty great.

There isn’t one guy I’ve been with that makes me think “Yeah, that guy was a douchebag”, or a player, or a horrible human being.

So I had no reason to stress about what would happen if I dated one person only.

The moment I started talking to Jamie, I pretty much dedicated most of my energy to him and the moment he booked his flight to Australia, I deleted all my online dating apps too.

Sure, I knew there was a risk that we would meet and nothing would come out of it.

But I was totally happy with whatever the outcome was going to be.

Tinder and Bumble were always gonna be there.

Luckily, I never had to download them again.

Also, it wasn’t really luck. I studied this sh*t.

I studied about ENFP – INFJ relationships.

And it was exactly the kind of relationship I wanted to have as my forever.

So cheers to finding love and being with someone who fully gets you, complements every part of you and to having a relationship that feels right for you!

And if you want that as well, I want you to know, you deserve it too. You really really do it.

Love you!

Katya

About the author Katya Varbanova 


Known as the Viral Marketing Queen, Katya has helped over 10k+ customers grow and monetize their social media since 2015. With an innovative approach for marketing, branding and design, Katya is on a mission to help 1m+ entrepreneurs make their message famous using a combination of organic and paid strategies. 


Tags

engagement, katya and jamie


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  • I am so happy for you two!!! Thank you for sharing your story! This was meant to be. You two are perfect for each other and I wish nothing but happiness for you two!

  • Sweet Katya you are amazing story teller! And what is even more sweet reading it is that this match my story with hubby 🙂 The only difference is that he is from the US and our first date was in Canada 🙂 Cheers to a lifetime of happiness together! Congratulations to you guys!!!

  • Well this made me so happy and have lots of well wishes for both of you. I didn’t realize I read whole story, it was cute, beautiful and elegant. The flow just kept me going in and completed it. Loved the summary and got really good lessons for me.

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