Kyle Long and Skylar Simpson matched on Tinder in March 2019, during a period when both were reaching their limits on dating apps and hoping to find someone serious.
They started chatting, and within 48 hours they met at food hall in Denver and spent hours getting to know each other. They were among the last people left at closing time.
“I just think, based on our first date, there were so many things that I just loved about Skylar,” Mr. Long, 31, said in a phone interview.
Mr. Simpson, 26, a nurse, said that their shared values and similar backgrounds were what really drew him to Mr. Long, who works as a fitness instructor and life coach.
“We’re both from really small rural towns, and we have a shared similar experience of growing up as gay kids in a small town,” he said. “Additionally, we’re both devoted to our families. And I think it’s been a really beautiful experience to begin to build our own family.”
The pair, who live together in Denver with a cat, Monty, and a dog, Ruby, recently celebrated the fourth anniversary of that first encounter. They got engaged in November 2021 and plan to wed in June 2024 — a long engagement, the couple acknowledged, but they aren’t feeling pressured to rush.
Last week, they looked back at the moment they knew.
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed.
How long was the time period between first matching on Tinder and then meeting at the food hall?
Kyle Long: I think it was just a couple days, honestly. I think when you’re online dating, you often go about it in seasons. And I think we were both kind of at the end of the season of being on a few different apps and meeting a few different people. And the timing really couldn’t have been better because we were each other’s last first date.
What was dating like before you met each other?
Skylar Simpson: I think for me there were numerous ongoing texts on apps that never seemed to go anywhere as far as meeting up in real life. And as far as actually meeting people, there was often a sense of either letdowns or a lack of excitement or a lack of connection or a sense of questioning.
K.L.: I think I have a tendency to really craft stories about people before I meet them. Especially when I’m talking to them, I generally see the best or the best version of who they can be, and that’s outside of dating, too. I just felt like I consistently thought to myself, “You’re just not the one.” And it was obviously very different meeting Skylar.
How so? What was that first date like? Did you know then that this could be a real thing, or did you realize it a bit after?
K.L.: I knew when I first saw Skylar. We both talk about how we fell in love on our first date, and I really stand by that. I remember the general colors he was wearing; I remember how he smelled; I remember how he conducted himself. And I just thought we’re the perfect balance to each other.
What colors was he wearing?
K.L.: Skylar, were they American Eagle jeans?
S.S.: Yeah. (Laughs.)
K.L.: So dark-washed jeans, a black jacket. I remember that his hair was — did you get your hair cut that day?
S.S.: Oh, I don’t remember. Maybe?
K.L.: His hair looked extremely fresh, the cologne he was wearing he still wears today.
Skylar, did you know then as well?
S.S.: I agree, I think that we both really felt like we fell in love that first date. And I remember we talked for hours and hours. I don’t remember what time we would have gotten to the food hall, but we stayed until they closed. And I remember a level of excitement I hadn’t encountered before. And also feeling like, wow, this is a really amazing date, but he’s probably not going to want to talk to me again because I was like, “This guy is out of my league.”
Meanwhile, Kyle is like, he looked great, he smelled great, I remember the colors he was wearing.
S.S.: Yes, I remember there was a moment when Kyle went to the bathroom and I texted my friend and I was like, “This is the best date I’ve ever been on and I think he might be out of my league.” Yeah, it really was a night that I think changed both of our lives.
Did you continue to date other people after that first date or was it exclusive soon after?
S.S.: No, it was exclusive for me.
K.L.: Yup! Same.
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