HANNAH GRABER (25) AND MATT GRABER (38), MARRIED
love-stories: The way we met was actually a happy accident. I had not changed my location settings or my age settings from the default, so Matt kind of snuck in there, because there’s a 13-year age difference and we lived 50 miles apart. So we got a match, but neither of us was really taking it seriously. Matt messaged me, and we talked a little bit, and just kind of got everything big, all of our baggage, out right away so we could see if it was even worth continuing to talk. I gave him my phone number and he texted me, “Hi, Hannah, it’s Matt.” And I said: “Which Matt?” as a joke. And that was it. We just talked nonstop from that point, and we went on our first date a week later.
We went on a hike, and we put wine in water bottles and had a little picnic at the end of the hike. Neither of us was looking for anything super-serious, but we kept hanging out regularly and it just kind of happened without either of us noticing. I have a son from a previous relationship — Jackson, he was 2 at the time — and they met and just really hit it off. I knew from the first date that I really, really liked Matt.
It was great because I couldn’t get out a lot at the time — I could get out maybe once a week if I had a babysitter. And you’re not going to meet somebody at a bar if you’re a single mom. So it saved me from meeting a lot of duds. Five months into dating, he proposed, but we had already been talking about it for a few months. He had met my son, so we had to ask: Do we have a future? Is it worth dating and building a relationship with Jackson? We decided it was worth it, obviously. I’m grateful. I don’t know what I did to deserve this, but I’m just going with it.
RANI KAPUR (25) AND KHALIL AHMED (26), DATING ONE YEAR
love-stories: I was never really interested in dating Indian guys, but often white guys would try hitting on me by telling me how much they love Indian food. And I’m just like “Oh, that’s great. How can I help you?” It was just ridiculous. So I saw that Khalil liked me, and at this point, it was kind of overwhelming to be a girl doing online dating — I needed to make a spreadsheet or something. But I liked him back, and he messaged me right away. His profile was kind of ridiculous. It was mostly just Nickelback songs. After doing online dating for a while, what I knew was I’d rather not spend a long time getting to know him.
If he seemed normal, we’d have a drink, rather than building up this idea of who he is. The courtship was pretty short and sweet. On the site we used, they have a question that asks the things you can’t live without, and I wrote kajal, which is the Indian name for eyeliner. And he wrote to me that he thought kajal was bad for the eyes and something about the evil eye. And then he joked that his parents were in town to get him an arranged marriage. I was just like, “OK, cool.
Let’s have a drink.” And that was the end of it. I actually forgot his name — I only remembered that he was no. 3 because I had planned four first dates in two days. But when I met him, it was just so easy and great. We kissed at the end of the night. When I got home, he texted me that he was deleting his account, and I was like, OK. We dated very slowly to start off. It was the beginning of summer in New York, and every weekend was busy.
So I saw Khalil like once a week for the first six weeks or so, but then we started getting a little more serious. This is actually my first serious relationship, and we’re at almost a year now. Things are great; I’m so happy. The one thing that is a bit of a problem is, funnily enough, although we’re both Indian, he’s Muslim, and my background is Sikh. Our families don’t know about us, because it’s kind of a taboo. We’re thinking about how and when we’ll tell our families. Both our siblings and my mom know and are happy for us. My father will have a difficult time with it, but I believe will accept him on time. His parents are more traditional and it would be hard for them to accept me, without hurting his relationship with them. [Editor’s note: Names have been changed to protect this relationship.]
ANNA R. (26) AND IAN M. (26), DATING TWO YEARS
Love stories: I signed up for online dating with a friend, almost like signing up for a marathon together. And I went on dates with a few guys, but it wasn’t good. I was just not into it and was about to quit, but then I saw this guy. I’m 5-foot-10, and I’ve always had a thing about height, and I saw this guy with a really sweet, open face, and he was 6-foot-9, I was like, This can’t be real. Somewhere on his profile, he’d said this his favorite book was The Great Gatsby.
Not a big deal, not particularly revelatory. But I wrote back to him — and this is totally unromantic and kind of weird — this is my favorite sentence in Great Gatsby, and one of my favorite sentences ever, “If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life as if he were related to one of the machines that register earthquakes tens of thousands of miles away.”
And he responded and said that he actually had a Great Gatsby sweatshirt. Two or three messages in, we found out that we live extremely close to each other, and he was like “Let’s meet up.” Somewhere in the conversation, and this was in December 2012, I told him I had just seen the film Les Miserables with my friends and hated it, and he was like, “I love Les Mis.” I don’t know why, but I trusted him, I gave him my address to pick me up, and I’d never done that before. I’ve always met at a neutral location.
So when I got in the car, he had the Les Mis soundtrack playing, and I just remember thinking, OK, that’s such a funny movie. I’m so down with that. He texted me after four dates, saying that he wanted to slow down. I had been so conditioned to be blown off, I thought he was politely breaking up with me. So we didn’t really talk for a couple of days, which felt like a long time. But I’d mentioned on one of our dates that I have an obsession with King Richard III, and maybe two days later he texted me all these articles about how they’d found Richard III’s body. So I finally was like, Do you want to come over? And he came over, and we watched Girls, and that was it.
No more bumps after that. I realized he wasn’t trying to end things; he did want to keep dating. Once I realized that he’s the kind of person who says what he means and means what he says, I was so happy. I remember early on, I would say to my friends, “I think he thinks I must be an heiress, he just treats me so nicely.” We moved in together after about 18 months of dating. It’s going great. Barring something really unpredictable, we both think that this is “It.” Sometimes I think there’s a stigma about meeting online. But [I] get panicked when I think about the fact that he lived literally one mile away and we had no friends in common. I don’t know how else we would have met.
Love stories_VANESSA S. (25) AND EDDY B. (31), DATING ONE YEAR
Love stories: Six months after moving to New York, I started online dating. Not necessarily because I really wanted to find a boyfriend; it was just me just wanting to go on dates because they were so much fun. There were points where I was going on dates with two or three people a week. Dating people casually, I didn’t really meet anyone that I was interested in for a while. But I met a bunch of really interesting, great guys, who I still keep in touch with — it’s hard to be real friends with them, but we’re pretty friendly. I’ve set up some of the guys on dates with my girlfriends. Eddy was the one who messaged me first, and initially, I never got back to him.
Then he was ready to quit online dating, and as a last-ditch effort, he sent me a message, like, Hey, I’m getting off this, but I wanted to message you again and see if you would at all be interested in going on a date with me. Send me a text if you’re interested. And I actually texted him back, because I looked at his profile and saw that he was Australian, and who doesn’t want to go on a date with an Australian babe?! So we set up the date but had to push it off a couple of times. It wasn’t a priority, because I was seeing so many random people at that point. And when I finally met Eddy for our first date, I had been going on so many of these and was so busy, I didn’t even know his name.
I walked into the restaurant where we met, and I literally had to check my phone, like, Who the fuck is that guy? He took me out to dinner, which is a really bold first-date move, and it ended up going really well. We had such a great time, we went to about seven different bars afterward. About three weeks into things, we were eating dinner at a restaurant in Brooklyn when I realized I was just so infatuated with him. We had been talking for hours, and it felt so right. That was the first moment when I wasn’t just going through the motions, as I had been on all those dates with other people.
That’s when I started throwing down the hammer, like, Yo, that profile better is off because it’s either only me or none of me. Around that time also was his birthday and I bought him a plant, another bold move for a new couple. He’s felt obligated to keep it alive ever since. It’s a nice, growing symbol of our relationship. He loves to bring up scenarios where we could have met offline. Like, there was a Super Bowl party two years ago, and we found out we both were there. Or, we used to live really close to each other in the same neighborhood and would go to this one restaurant all the time, but never crossed paths.
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