With every partner I've had, a fun story of how we met accompanied it. One partner I met in a cabaret in Paris after I accidentally insulted him by saying the musician playing that night was awful and that's why I was sitting outside with my friend. It turned out he was the musician that night. I actually married that one. On another occasion, again after insulting a guy I met at a karaoke bar about his singing skills (I've read too much Pride and Prejudice for my own good), I decided to give him a chance to impress me, so we sang a Weezer song together. Before the song was completely over, I threw down my mic, walked right up to him, took his face in my hands, and kissed him... right in front of the whole bar. Something that was extremely uncharacteristic of me, but resulted in a four-year-long relationship. Well, off and on relationship.
The point is, no matter how you meet your partner — past, present, or future — there's almost always a good story there. And, in a culture where dating online has become so popular, giving us even more ways to meet people, even more stories are being added to the mix.
From meeting online (of course!), to being set up, to a little something called fate, here's how 33 people met the partner they're with now. Get the tissues ready, because some of these will have you crying the happy tears.
1. Natalie, 29
"The fact that I met my husband on OkCupid doesn't seem so out-of-bounds to me because I know half a dozen relationships in New York City that started that way. But I have to remind myself that it is still kind of bonkers that a computer algorithm matched up two strangers in New York City who, despite sharing many of the same geeky interests, would never have crossed paths otherwise. Add in the fact that I had been online dating for a year and a half, and was so fatigued and let down by dates that went nowhere that I was this close to deactivating.
When Matt first messaged me, I didn't even respond initially, in part because I didn't want to waste his time in what I imagined would be another not-quite-right match-up. But I kept rereading his opening message, which I had to admit was the Platonic ideal of a digital opening salvo: conversational and confident, full of multiple sentences hooking into points I had mentioned in my profile, like beards and karaoke and dogs; culminating in the inclusion of an incredibly obscure YouTube video that nobody else knew about. The moment I clicked on that familiar video of a Jehovah's Witness anti-masturbation video in ASL dubbed with R. Kelly's 'Ignition (Remix),' I knew I had to meet this guy."
2. Autumn, 37
"The first time I met Jeremy was when I tried out for an improv group in college. He thought I was the most annoying person he had ever met. Fast forward to a year later, and I finally won him over. We were friends for a few years in college, but the year he graduated we had a falling out. I didn't speak to Jeremy for about three years.
Then, one day after I moved to NYC, I was walking through Union Square and he ran up to me and knocked my hat off my head. He doesn't remember it that way, but that is how I remember it. I was like, 'Oh great. Here's that huge jerk.' So, we talked a little and parted ways. After that, we slowly started rebuilding our friendship. It was probably about a month or two later that Jeremy realized he had fallen in love with me. I wasn't having it, though. For six months (I think it was six months), he pursued me. He wasn't super aggressive, but he made it clear that he wanted to be with me. He didn't buy me flowers or gifts or anything. He was just always there. When I needed something, he was there. When I needed a person to talk to, he was there. When I needed help moving, he was there. When I needed someone to walk me home, he was there. Finally, just before New Year's Day of 2006, I realized that I wanted him to continue being there. Jeremy likes to say that the moment he fell in love with me was the moment he realized that he 'wanted to see me tomorrow.' He would wake up and think, 'I want to see Autumn today' or 'I hope I see Autumn tomorrow.' Once he realized that he was having that same thought every single day, he knew he was in it for real. Anyway, after I agreed to 'date' him. We went on, I think, one official 'date' and that was it. We were in it for the long haul. 11 years and one kid later, I regret nothing!"
3. Cynthia, 74
"I met my significant other in church, where he was the guest speaker. I was new in that church myself, but the church musician, a friend, who had introduced me to the church, also introduced me to Grant before the service, saying, 'Grant, I want you to meet a special lady.' I was completely taken with him, both in our convo before the service and then while listening to his sermon. A month later, when he returned as guest speaker again, I sought him out during Fellowship after the service, and he said he'd like to get together to talk about writing. (I'm a freelance writer/editor.) I invited him over for dinner (don't remember now what I cooked), after dinner we had sex, and we never did get around to talking about writing. More dates followed. Twice he dumped me because we were getting too close and it made him nervous, and twice he dumped me when an old girlfriend of his came back into the picture, but I won out in the long run — we've been living together for over a decade now."
4. Clarissa, 44
"Ironically, I met my husband using my own method! I was growing frustrated with the endless serial dating that I didn’t even want to leave the house to meet them! So, I started using video calls to screen dates beforehand. Naturally, I was complaining to a friend of mine (who was also a mutual friend of my husband’s) who suggested I meet him. At first, I was hesitant because it meant a long-distance relationship which I thought was something I couldn't swing with my schedule. But, after a few video calls, I was so impressed by him that I decided to meet him IRL. Three years later, we laugh at how great it was that traditional online dating was sucking for me."
5. Stacy, 29
"I met my boyfriend because I was a guest on his podcast. I remember first seeing him and thinking that his eyes were beautiful and he had this really great sense of humor, but he also had this air about him that was really thoughtful. Our first conversation is documented [on his podcast] which is pretty cool. No flirting, even though I was totally crushing on him. After we were done taping, I didn’t know what to do. I was too shy to ask him out. I really wanted to, but I thought if he was interested he would’ve approached me. I went home trying to figure out how I could possibly ask him out and I couldn’t think of anything. I was really bored so I logged onto Instagram live and he was literally the only person who was watching my live feed. So I asked him out on Instagram Live. He wrote back yes. We still listen to the episode we met on."
6. Jenn, 41
"I met my husband via OkCupid while I was living in the bush in the Serengeti in Tanzania! I'd just moved there for an undetermined amount of time and was feeling homesick. Someone had just gone 'shopping' (meaning our pilot had just flown to the nearest city and brought back provisions for us; there were no stores inside the park), and brought me back a box of wine which I proceeded to drink while perusing through my OkCupid account to remind me why I had no reason to rush back home. After scanning through a few profiles I happily passed out.
I woke up the next morning to a lovely email from my now-husband. We started emailing back and forth, then G-chatting, then WhatsApp-ing, and eventually daily Skype calls. Keep in mind, I was 13 hours ahead of him so we were always chatting at odd hours. At times he could hear the elephants and lions outside my hut while we were talking! It didn't take long before I knew there was something special there and much to my surprise I'd found something worth leaving my beloved Tanzania for. I left in February and arrived two days before his birthday. He met me at the airport with a bouquet of flowers... it was the first time we'd met face-to-face and we haven't been apart more than a day or two since. We've been married just over three years now and just bought our first home in Central New York!"
7. Rachel, 35
"My ex and I broke up on super mutual terms and stayed friends (NOT with benefits) afterward. He was moving back to London and was going to stop in Iceland for a few days on his way back. I invited myself and we had an awesome five days exploring the country. On the way to the airport, we stopped at the Blue Lagoon and while we were enjoying our last few hours in Iceland, he pointed to a guy who was super jacked with a gold chain necklace and said, 'That dude's definitely from Brooklyn.' Not the hipster type that most know, but deep Brooklyn... I said bye to my ex at the airport, hopped on my plane back to NYC and who am I sitting next to? 'Brooklyn.'
Despite not being my 'type,' we started dating, and a few months later I told him the story of how we saw him at the Blue Lagoon and then realized that I didn't remember him ever wearing that chain since that day. He looked like he had seen a ghost and told me that while he was standing in the Blue Lagoon, he asked his cousin, who he had tagged along on a random business trip with, what he thought the chain said about him and decided that he didn't like the message it sent. He took it off in the locker room (after wearing it since he was 14 years old) and never put it on again! He also was supposed to be sitting further back in the plane and at the last minute switched his seat, which happened to be next to me. Five years later, we're married and 39 weeks pregnant, waiting for our first daughter to be born!"
8. Sofia, 32
"I met my husband seven years ago at the newspaper office where he was a reporter and I had just joined as a trainee editor. He was already serving notice when I joined and left after a month. We, probably, only said 'hi' to each other a couple of times. I'd love to say fate brought us together, but it was actually Facebook! Yep, we were Facebook friends for some reason. Work brought us to the same city five years later, and one day he pinged me to say he regularly read my posts and opinions on politics, feminism, etc. We discovered we had a lot in common. Before we even knew it, we were texting and calling each other every day. We started dating a couple of months later and we have been married for three months now."
9. Kelsey, 34
"Buck and I met when he was hooking up with my best friend. I facilitated their late-night rendezvous. Then he broke up with her and we hooked up. Then he moved to New Zealand and I drunk dialed him a bunch — basically the whole time he was there. Then he moved back to Boulder and the rest is history, as they say. Terrible!"
10. Caitlyn, 28
"We met because of Tinder, but not on Tinder. I was on a Tinder date and so was he. My date wasn’t going so great and I guess I wasn’t hiding it very well, because Marc came up to me when my date went to the bathroom to ask if I was having a bad Tinder date too. (His date had gone to the ATM across the street.) We exchanged numbers with the intention of getting together to discuss the pitfalls of online dating, but instead ended up dating. Two years later we’re still together."
11. Jennie, 36
"I was working at Stars in Boulder and it was five minutes before closing when a guy came in to try on jeans. I swear he tried on every single jean we had, completely messing up my denim wall. When he came to the register he said that he worked in retail too, as if that was supposed to make up for the fact that he made me stay late and messed up my wall. It turned out he was out of clean clothes and needed jeans for a date he was having that night. I was so annoyed.
When he left, my coworker, Savannah, said he was going to be moving into a friend’s place because her roommate was going into the Peace Corps. I couldn’t believe I was going to have to see him again. Long story short — he’d asked Savannah for my number and he called me the next day. I went out with him not expecting to like him. Eight months after that first date, we were engaged and 10 months later we were married. The night he messed up my denim wall was back in November 2004."
12. Martyne, 70
"We've been married for 30 years. We met at a bar in the Hilton on Long Island, NY on Columbus Day weekend (Friday night) around 1 a.m. He asked me to dance. One dance and drink, and goodnight kiss later, our fates were sealed. We met again on Sunday night in Manhattan and have been together ever since."
13. Tanya, 34
"I met my husband on Match (yes, it actually works!). He recognized a mutual friend of ours in one of my profile photos and messaged me. He knew her from college and it was the perfect icebreaker for conversation. She was also able to vouch for what a great guy he was — in fact, she had thought about setting us up in the past because we are both artists. Our first date we spent at the beach in Santa Cruz and he told me he deleted his Match account that night. Five years later we eloped in Bali."
14. Jessica, 23
"I’m so excited to share how I met my husband (we got married three weeks ago!). We were playing in a co-ed soccer pickup game in college (except I was the only girl!). We were on opposite sides. A ball was in the air and we both went for it. The only problem is he is a foot taller than me so you can guess who won the ball. I fell on the ground. Since I was the only girl everyone made fun of him knocking me over. After that we started noticing each other and running into each other all over campus. We started talking at soccer. There was one day where he didn’t show up and our team was losing bad. With about 20 minutes left to go he showed up and joined our team and scored three goals helping us win. After that we started seriously talking and we’ve been together for over three years."
15. Erin, 33
"I met my now-husband on Valentine's Day 9+ years ago. I thought that a girlfriend and I had plans that evening, but when I showed up at her house, I realized that it was a larger group gathering, not just the two of us. My friend's roommate had invited some friends too, including the roommate's brother. He and I hit it off, and we spent the night dancing but didn't exchange numbers. A few weeks later, he asked me out, and five years later we got married!"
16. Stefanie, 36
"I'm American and was traveling around Europe. My last stop was in Copenhagen and I rented a room on Airbnb from a beautiful bearded Danish man who is now my husband! I was originally supposed to stay only three days, but we were married a year later and now have two kids and a castle in Italy."
17. Ali, 23
"I met my boyfriend on Bumble, but the real fun is my opening line! I used it with many, but he had the best response! What is my opening line, you ask? 'Wanna make out?' I find it weeds out the creeps and brings humor to an awkward situation. I get inundated with creeps, but my man said 'how about we make eye contact first?' And it's been magical ever since. We're planning a trip to Asia this summer."
18. Pam, 60
"I met my sweetheart 26 years ago at a dance at our church. We were both divorced Mormons and had six kids between us, we married and added one more. We just celebrated our 25th anniversary and are living happily ever after."
19. Noelle, 27
"I am a 27-year-old bisexual woman and have been with my 28-year-old lesbian girlfriend now for just over three years. We became friends after meeting one summer at a philosophy seminar in Chicago, IL and grew close through returning to that program year after year. On the second year of my attendance, which corresponded with my coming out, I realized that I wanted to date her. Unfortunately, we were living cross country; me being from Texas and she being from New York. But after she completed a fall program in Oregon, she realized that her next aspiration was to be in a relationship with me! So she moved to Texas and the rest is history. I like to laugh about one of the good things that came from getting a philosophy degree was meeting my partner!"
20. Kristina, 33
"I met my current partner, at a party, at a time when I was 'so over' dating apps. I really wanted to meet someone in person. We had a great 30 minutes of conversation and then he turned completely away from me to talk to someone else. I was so disappointed that I actually left the party, picked up another guy, and came back to the party with the new guy! (Something I've never done before or since.) It took us nearly a year of awkward fits and starts before he finally just kissed me and told me that he'd liked me the whole time. Now, nearly four years later, we are still going strong!"
21. Phillia, 40
"I met my current love and boyfriend over six years ago in an ayahuasca ceremony. It wasn't until less than a year later, that we would have found each other in a sunrise hug after ceremonies, lost in a morning embrace and our journey began from that moment on. We didn't even know each other's names but had seen each other around at previous ceremonies.
Since I was in an open marriage for about a year then, I had to discuss with my husband that I wanted to have a night with him. (We were allowing ourselves to have one night at a time, although I was negotiating with him that I wanted more than one night with this guy). It was hard discussions, but the love between my boyfriend and I grew quickly. Since then we've been together for over five years and he is the love of my life for who've I evolved into as a 40-year-old woman (he is 32). My husband is such an incredible heart and soul, whom I will love forever, but our lifestyles as we were older looked so different from each other of what was ideal. I haven't been sexual or romantic with my husband since my boyfriend came into the picture. The reality is that it's been quite the challenging, yet most amazing dream journey, a lot of hard work, a lot of ups and downs, to allow this arrangement to unfold. But my husband and I have a deep love and bond that is unbreakable, and he is the bravest man to have embarked on the journey with me where we both have landed in places that are most authentically resonating with our deepest truths and desires. I so am grateful to have been able to experience two great loves at the same time."
22. Aliz, 33
"I was in Greece one summer for a work assignment for The National Herald writing about the economic and refugee crisis. Met my husband there as he’s very involved helping in his church and community. Knew he was 'The One' right away and told him as much. On our first date, we both basically 'grilled' each other on different topics — everything from politics to religion to even how many kids and dogs we wanted. He came to America a few months later to meet my family and our wedding was at his church in Greece the next summer — less than one year from first meeting."
23. Teresa, 47
"I met my current partner on Tinder. Working in the SF Bay Area tech industry, there's a constant flood of men (my age, too!). Rather than fishing in the pool, I wanted to meet someone somewhat outside my industry... 'There are so many nice guys on Tinder,' my friend stated as a selling point. I jumped on Tinder. Matches were made, I had endless rounds of coffee ending within my 45-minute mark. Second dates were then procured. The method I employed was that if I somewhat liked a guy and nothing in his initial behavior flagged him as incompatible with me, then I would agree to a second date to further suss out if I liked him further.
Rarely have I gone on a third date. I am just as happy to say 'Nice meeting you, but I don't think we're compatible.' After all, these guys are competing with a nice bath, large glass of wine, and Netflix. And my giant, happy go-lucky Old English Sheepdog. My life is full.
Then I connected with my guy. He works for a large electric vehicle company — it's one of the things that intrigued me. We agreed to meet for coffee in the SOMA area (my habitat) of San Francisco. At this point, I had been dating 2-3 times a week, grabbing endless cups of coffee, figuring I will meet another interesting, darkly handsome, intelligent guy. There wasn't an expectation it would go further than coffee. After the initial first minutes of awkward chatting, we began to laugh and connect. An hour or two passed, completely flying by me. I did not want to stop talking with this man. His life experiences and stories were so damn interesting, and occasionally funny. He suggested, after we finished off nearly all the coffee, to grab an early dinner. It was around 5-ish at this time, so I heartily agreed... We've been seeing each other since. And I still don't want the date to end."
24. Holly, 22
"I met my fiancé my freshman year of high school. We were lab partners, and we had a few mutual friends that introduced us initially. He had a girlfriend at the time and had no idea that I was interested in him, but two years later we totally hit it off! We've been together ever since, and we will be getting married in the fall of 2019 after almost seven years together."
25. Amanda, 27
"I met one of my current partners at a conference at our university. We both attended a conference on high altitude balloon launches, and lunch was after that session. He made a bit of an impression on me, and so I sat down and had lunch with him. We ended up not talking much after that conference though.
The next school year, I was supposed to end up living with two women, but both had to drop out, and through a string of coincidences, he ended up moving in, as did another guy I had never met. We all got along great, I started dating the guy from the conference. After a couple years playing D&D together, I started dating the other guy as well, and now, almost four years later, I'm married to one and engaged to the other."
26. Chelsea, 30
"I met my partner on a dating website — he was my first date after moving to Denver, Colorado. He had canceled our first date (with notice), but made up for it at our first meeting in bringing me a small gift — a book on foraging wild mushrooms in Northern California (where I'm from). I was 23 then and 30 now, he was 32 then and 39 now. Six months in I became the managing director of his start up — we built the company, adopted a dog, did the whole thing on super speed. Neither of us had lived with a significant other before."
27. Kavita, 54
"I was living in Hong Kong. My now-husband was in LA. A mutual friend, who lived in LA at the time, called me and said, 'I’ve met your soulmate. I’ve met the man you’re going to marry.' I was 36 years old.
He and I talked on the phone for hours a day. This was before social media. We couldn’t really check one another out. We didn’t even have photos of each other. We met for the first time at LAX when I flew over. He was standing there with a bunch of flowers. We were married a year later and are about to celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary with our two teenage sons."
28. Brittney, 32
"I wasn't actively looking for a partner, matter of fact I was wishing, hoping, and praying for my ex to whisk me away — which he never did. My dear friend decided I needed to start dating and she told me 'I found your future husband,' to which I laughed. We met officially at a BBQ at her house and I thought he was at least 10 years my junior, completely gorgeous, and out of my league. Turns out he was only a year and a half my junior, still completely gorgeous, and just as playful as me. We chatted that evening even though he was constantly interrupted by his rather needy sister-in-law. His pick up line to get me to go to his house? 'Wanna come play scrabble?' Yes, and yes; as a group we all went over and played scrabble. It was love at first 'quim' — a word I made up during the game, but insisted was real."
29. Elizabeth, 27
"I met my boyfriend, Carl, at a game night organized by a friend in 2015. I was 25 and having lunch with a new friend, Marissa, and she asked me, ‘do you have a boyfriend?’ and I half jokingly (but 100 percent serious) responded, ‘no, do you know anyone?’ ‘Actually, yes!’ [she exclaimed]. My heart about stopped.
Charleston, SC is pretty low on eligible men that are worth spending any amount of time with, so I was amazed that this girl who had only lived here a month already knew someone that was single. I, on the other hand, had been living here three years and had yet to meet anyone that I could even remotely see myself with. ‘Mark’s roommate, Carl. I think he’s single,' she said. ‘Oh, cool,’ I said, trying to be nonchalant, while my heart had resumed beating at the rate of a hummingbird’s wings. ‘We’ll set something up after the holidays.’ It was currently November and by ‘holidays’ she meant ’New Years.’
Ugh, but it was worth the wait. After New Years, Marissa and her boyfriend, Mark, organized a game night for Carl and I to meet. The four of us played Quelf and Cards Against Humanity — so it was easy to tell he had a great sense of humor and it really broke the ice the only way that Cards Against Humanity can: dirty, hilarious, and ridiculous. The next day, the four of us went to church together (a real deal breaker if Carl didn’t go), and we’ve been dating ever since."
30. Meredith, 35
"I met my current partner (husband) because I decided to sign up for a journalism class at my local community college. I'm so grateful to have met someone 'IRL' before online dating became the norm. This was in 2007.
I am 35 now. I met my husband when I was 25 and he was 23. I had graduated with a BA in literature before I met him, so the class was not a college credit, just me exploring a personal interest in writing. He was in the admissions office signing up for a different class, and I thought he was cute so I decided to be bold and strike up a conversation with him. We went on a date that same night, then got married six years later."
31. Emma, 31
"Technically, the first time I saw my boyfriend was on Facebook. I was living in a small town on the Chilean coast and a mutual friend, who lived in Santiago, reached out because two of his friends were moving to the coast and wanted help finding an apartment... He looked confident and cool and I liked the way he wore bright colors. So, of course, I said I would help.
The thing is, I didn’t live in a traditional town. I was living in an eco-village, so I didn’t really have a good idea of what the traditional rental situation was like in the bigger town nearby. But I figured, hey, they speak English. They’re handsome. My roommate and I speak English. We’re cool. So I invited them up to our village for a bonfire.
Ben now claims that the first time we met, I was wandering lost and barefoot in the woods. While that’s a great metaphor for where I was in my life at that time, in reality I saw him the first time on a dusty, rural road with the sun setting behind him. I was barefoot, yes, but I put on shoes to walk in the woods to our fire pit. And, yes, I did end up getting lost, because I was still new there myself and wasn’t totally familiar with the landmarks yet — especially at dusk. So, like most things in our relationship, both of our versions are a little bit right.
Around the fire that night, I wasn’t very impressed with our guests. I thought Ben was arrogant and cocky and he argued with me in ways I wasn’t used to. I’m usually the alpha-human, and Ben was definitely an alpha-male. Later he told me that he thought I was lesbian because I lived in a one bedroom house with a female roommate and two cats. (Once again, we were both sort of right. He is cocky AF and while I wasn’t lovers with my roommate, I’m bisexual. So, you know, 1.5 out of two isn’t bad.)
After we met that first time, I didn’t make much of an effort to see Ben again. But the English-speaking community in that part of Chile is small, and we found ourselves working remotely from the same Starbucks every day. That’s where I first got past the bluster — and he got past the dust I was usually covered with — and we started to see that the other was more interesting than we thought.
That was five and a half years ago. I still think he’s handsome and cocky and now I’d add wonderful to that list of adjectives... We’re an unlikely couple who met in an unlikely way and I’ll always be grateful for that dusty, dusky bonfire one night on the coast of Chile."
Takeaway? You just never know when, where, or how you're going to meet not just someone, but the right one for you. But when you know, you know, as they say, so never close a door on an opportunity for love.