© 2021 Toate drepturile rezervate. RELATIONS
A t the end of 2019, Nelly Sutro was living in New York, facing the fast-paced grind of city dating life. Fed up with apps, ghosting and rushed drinks with strangers after work, she complained to her friend Lina about the situation.
Unbeknown to her, Lina had been in touch with another friend, Ryan Lacey, who was based in Germany for his US army job, and also struggling to meet someone. âShe connected us on Instagram and suggested that we chat,â says Nelly. âShe thought weâd be really good together.â
The pair hit it off but, as they lived 4,000 miles apart, the conversation soon fizzled out. âWe started chatting again when I was on a two-week trip in South America last February,â says Nelly. âBy the time I got back to New York, the pandemic was taking hold, so I went back to my home town in rural Arizona to stay with my parents.â
During lockdown, she and Ryan continued to talk on Instagram, before switching to FaceTime. Ryan says the slower pace of life meant they were able to invest more time getting to know each other. âNormally when youâre dating, you have so much else going on in your life youâre not able to concentrate on the person as much. I was able to get to know Nelly with nothing else in the way.â
Nelly says living at home meant she wasnât distracted by the âartificialityâ of her New York life. The pair watched TV shows and took walks âtogetherâ on their video dates, and she was able to show him to some of her favourite childhood haunts.
As soon as travel restrictions were lifted, they made plans to meet in his home city of Boston. âIt was the end of June, and we had to balance social responsibility with meeting up. We invested in good-quality masks and rented an apartment that nobody had been in since February. We were really careful,â he says. Ryan was âsuper-nervousâ but âimmediately felt at easeâ when he saw Nelly. After the trip, he went back to Germany to quarantine, feeling disappointed that they might not be able to meet again soon.
During the trip, they had made jokes about getting married, so they could continue to see each other. âIt wasnât long before our marriage joke started to become a reality. There was no travel from the US into Germany at the time, and we didnât see another option for being together,â says Nelly. âIt sounds crazy, but it didnât feel like a crazy thing.â They discovered that US military personnel were able to marry by proxy in the state of Montana with neither party physically present. Though neither of them had ever been to the state, proxies were sent to the courthouse, and they were legally married. They were emailed copies of the marriage certificate a week later, but havenât celebrated yet.
âEverythingâs on hold until we can get our families together again safely,â says Ryan. When they married, his parents were âshockedâ but supportive. âTheyâd met her briefly in Boston and my brother had picked us up from the airport. Now my mum wants to talk to Nelly all the time and send her gifts.âSheâs creative and emotional, whereas I am very logical. We work really well together
Because sheâd been living with her parents as their relationship developed, Nelly says her family were less surprised. âIt took them a while to get used to the idea, but they had watched the relationship grow.â In September, Nelly flew to Germany to be with her partner in Kaiserslautern in the south-west of the country, and now works remotely for Columbia Business School.
âWe had to make adjustments when Nelly moved here as weâd never lived together before,â says Ryan. âBut weâve been able to talk and communicate really well.â They agree that in many ways the lockdown made them stronger. âItâs hard because I guess everyone has had a bad year, but I have had an amazing year because I met her.â The couple love to travel and are making plans to explore Europe after the lockdown lifts. In the meantime, they are happy spending time with each other at home. âNelly is so beautiful, and her personality really complements mine,â says Ryan. âSheâs creative and emotional, whereas I am very logical. We work really well together.â Nelly loves her partnerâs consistency. âHe shows his love through actions and follows through on everything he says he will. Weâre really lucky.â
Want to share your story? Tell us a little about you, your partner and how you got together by filling in the form here.