Emily & John

When Emily’s profile first popped up on Hinge in June 2021, John’s initial reaction was “probably not.” Emily was undeniably beautiful, but he was concerned about the likelihood of long-distance dating and her busy schedule as a doctor. It had been two years since John’s last serious relationship, and he wanted to ease back into dating with someone nearby.

Emily & John

John had reason to be cautious. Three years earlier, he had been in a relationship with the woman he thought was his soulmate and planned to propose soon. But, just a month before he was going to pop the question, his girlfriend ended things out of the blue, leaving John utterly heartbroken. He struggled to move on from the pain and betrayal, which led to a period of self-reflection, therapy sessions, and solo travel adventures.

After three years, John felt that he was ready to start dating again and downloaded Hinge. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. For almost two years, John chatted with his matches, which helped him slowly rebuild his confidence. However, meeting someone for a date once COVID restrictions were lifted was still daunting. “I wasn’t sure if I could do it,” he says.

One day, John was hanging out with his best friend who gave him a gentle push to go on a date by swiping on Hinge with him. That’s when John came across Emily’s profile. John was attracted to her and liked that her profile had mentions of hiking and baking, but he still had doubts about distance and her work schedule. As he dithered over logistics, his friend went ahead and swiped right on his behalf. It was a match.

John decided to give Emily a chance and sent her his go-to opener: “Hey there, what’s your favorite hike in the area?” He was surprised when she responded with a voice memo, introducing herself and jokingly teasing him about his cheesy pick-up line. “I thought her voice was really soothing,” he says. “It made me feel so much more comfortable. She felt like a real person.”

For Emily, the voice memo had been a refreshing change from texting. “And I thought it showed a lot of confidence,” she adds. She had been single for three years since her last serious relationship ended, taking the time to focus on her career as a doctor. When Emily finally felt ready, she joined Hinge to date outside of her industry and city.

Over the next week, they exchanged voice notes, getting to know each other. “We both made each other laugh,” says John. After Emily expressed interest in hiking, John started sending her pictures of his favorite trails and sharing his experiences with her.

With Emily working long shifts at the hospital, they didn’t expect to be able to meet in person for some time. Then she unexpectedly got the following weekend off and flew to John’s hometown. As excited as he felt about Emily, John admits to being “terrified” by the thought of a first date; he almost pulled out with cold feet before Emily talked him round. “I said, ‘I’m not sure I can do it,'” says John. “She said, ‘You can do this, I’ll be there,’ so she was quite firm with me, which I probably needed,” he says.

Waiting at the airport to pick Emily up, he recalls shaking with nervousness. But as soon as he saw her, John was struck by Emily’s beauty, her intelligence, and how natural it felt to be together. They went hiking in the nearby mountains and explored local bakeries because of their mutual passion for baking. “I felt like I had known Emily for a long time, even though we’d only been talking for a week,” says John.

For Emily, meeting in person confirmed the connection she’d felt from their conversations: “John had already fulfilled so many of my hopes.” When it came time for her flight, neither of them were ready for the date to end. Emily offered to stay an extra day to spend more time together. When Emily finally got back home, “I realized straight away how much I missed him,” she says. She sent John a voice memo telling him that if he was willing to “problem solve” with her for a while, she wanted to make it work.

They had both been upfront from the start that they were each looking for a serious relationship, but it wasn’t until their second date, over dinner, that John told Emily about his past relationship. “I wanted to tell her in person,” he says. “She was really supportive and understanding.”

Emily then confided in John about her own past relationships. “We promised that, as we spent time together, if anything came up, we’d talk through it together,” she says. John told Emily that he loved her that evening. It was quick, they both agreed. John laughs that he’d realized he was falling for Emily when he found himself planning out future hiking trips with her.

After several months of challenging long-distance dating, sometimes flying cross-country to spend only one night together, Emily suggested that she move to John’s city. “I felt really excited,” she says. “I knew there was a possibility of it not working out, but I just couldn’t see that happening.” John admits he panicked a bit at the speed with which they were moving, but their families encouraged them to take the chance. Emily quickly found a job in John’s city, and after six months of dating, John helped her move into his apartment.

John proposed after a year of dating, on a hike to his favorite trail in the mountains. “We both knew what we wanted, we both knew we were in love with each other,” John says. “I got to the point where I just wanted to marry her as soon as possible, really.” But John was also mindful that a proposal might bring up difficult feelings from Emily’s past, and involved her family to make her feel comfortable. He picked out a ring with her best friend, and sought her parents’ and siblings’ blessing.

Emily says John supports her in understanding her own feelings. “He’s so empathetic,” she says. “Sometimes I won’t even know why I’m upset and he’ll say, ‘I think it’s because of this.’ Our relationship feels entirely different than the one I had before. We talk about everything, it just feels really mature.” They’re planning a small, intimate wedding in the mountains, and are in the process of moving into a new apartment together.

John says he’s already learned a lot from Emily: “She’s poised, intelligent, and motivated. She’s someone who I can really look up to.” Emily, for her part, appreciates that John not only supports her but also encourages her to be her best self. “John makes me feel safe to take risks and try new things,” she says. “I know we can tackle anything together.” John may not have been what Emily thought she wanted, but, she says, “he was definitely what I needed.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *