We Met On The Internet
A portrait and story project featuring couples whose relationships began
on the Internet via a wide variety of sites and apps
photography, Jena Cumbo
writer & interviewer, Gina Tron
Renee & Raymond
Renee worked as a freelance journalist who wrote about events. Raymond, an accountant, worked for a college catering company on the side. He friend requested Renee on Myspace in 2005 because he was interested in her writing up a catering related event. She accepted his friend request and invitation.
“We both were involved with other people at the time,” reflected Renee. “We weren’t looking at each other romantically, more as a business perspective.” After the event they exchanged numbers and parted ways. From 2005 to 2008 Renee was involved in two serious relationships, one of which resulted in an engagement. When that ended, she evaluated her contacts, so that she could have a fresh healthy start. She considered deleting Raymond’s number because they weren’t in contact, but instead reached out to say hi. “He had seen all my updates about my engagement on Myspace so he responded to my message, ‘I thought you were getting married.” Renee explained she was single, Raymond asked her out on a date.
They began talking daily. “Most people when you talk to them, there’s silence and awkward moments but with Renee that wouldn’t happen,” said Raymond. They do everything together from the gun range, to drive-in theaters, to road trips.
"I realized for the first time I didn't want him to leave."
Cora & Will
Craigslist Free Section
Cora and Will met on Craigslist, but not on the dating section. “I just moved to New York and didn’t have any furniture. Will posted free movie tickets that he won online.” Cora e-mailed Will about the tickets and he wrote back. In the signature of his email was a link to his graphic art and illustration website. She complimented his work, which initiated a Skype conversation about art and the reasons behind her move to New York.
A week later Will texted Cora because he was going to her Flatbush, Brooklyn neighborhood for a family party. They agreed to meet at a coffee shop. Cora waited for fifty minutes, and almost left, before Will arrived. “I actually had to run most of the way to meet her because I took a cab that got stuck in traffic.
“There were no sparks at all,” admitted Cora. “He seemed like a cool guy, but I just got out of a crazy relationship and was not interested at all to meet somebody in a romantic way.” She was looking for friends. Will also says he felt no sparks but claimed that he “did check out her legs when she wasn’t looking.”
They hung out a few more times, all of which were platonic. Will helped Cora assemble furniture at her apartment and she asked him to stay for dinner. “I realized for the first time that I didn’t want him to leave. I enjoyed spending time together and having him around. So I told him and he stayed.” A few months later, Cora was pregnant. Six months after that, they got married at Brooklyn City Hall.
The two, who share two kids, have never kept the way they met a secret. Will said, “I strongly believe that we were meant to be and if we can make it work in such a short amount of time, with all the impossible odds, then anyone can do it.”
He gave her a ring three days into her trip and asked her to marry him.
Laura & Nick
Google Image Search
Laura was doing an image search for Charles Bukowski’s grave. It was 2011 and she was living in London. She really liked the writer and wanted to see where he was buried. One of the image results was of Nick, a writer living Hollywood, pictured by Bukowski’s grave. “I was intrigued,” said Laura who had just gotten a Bukowski tattoo. The picture brought her to Nick’s personal blog, which featured musings on the famous writer.
She visited Nick in 2012, staying with him for two weeks. “It was never weird or awkward,” Nick admitted. “I didn’t want her to go home.” He gave her a ring three days into her trip and asked her to marry him. “It just felt right,” he said. “It’s a corny thing to say but it happened.” They wed in a Las Vegas Elvis Chapel. Afterwards they visited Nick’s parents in Michigan.
Both work from home so they spend a lot of time together. They said they get along beautifully, despite always being together. “It’s rare that we bicker or fight,” said Nick. “For people that are constantly around each other we don’t fight much.”
Will & Kyle
Through Will, Kyle found the freedom to express himself. Will first messaged Kyle on an app called Jack’d, which is similar to Grindr. He had filtered out what he was looking for: an African American twenty-something living in Brooklyn. After a few messages they exchanged numbers. Soon after, Will lost his phone in a dance battle. It fell out of his pocket. Kyle couldn’t reach him so he felt rejected. “I was back on the app and I saw that he was active on it. So I asked him what was going on.” Will explained the situation and gave him his new number.
Two days later, Kyle went over to Will’s house. They went out to McDonalds for dinner, and sat on Will’s porch smoking and talking. Will said, “He met my dog for the first time. If people can get along with my dog, that’s important. He’s a Pit Bull and some people can’t deal with him.” Kyle was impressed that Will didn’t try to sleep with him. “If a dude tries to have sex with me on the first night, he’s out.” Kyle kept his sexuality a secret from family and friends at the time. While on a beach trip, Will uploaded a photo to Instagram of the couple kissing.
People who knew Kyle saw it; they screen captured it and spread it around. “It went viral,” said Kyle. “My friends and family found out.” Kyle was living with his mom and brother and when the picture surfaced they told him to get out of the house. Will opened his door to him and they began living together. “We have become inseparable. We have a business together and we do fashion and cooking and dancing.” Because the Instagram photo forced Kyle to be public with his sexuality, he now feels liberated. “I would always fantasize about what I would want to wear but I would never wear it. Once I came out, I was able to wear whatever I liked.”
"If a dude tries to have sex with me on the first night, he's out."
Ellen & Joan
“Let’s put it this way,” Joan said, “Tennessee is not one of the easiest states for same sex people.” It was 2001 and she was new to Nashville, looking to meet people in the community. Her best friend suggested she put up an ad. Joan did so on Planet Out and Ellen responded to it. The two spoke online for a few weeks before meeting. Their first date was at a craft show. Ellen almost immediately tried getting into Joan’s bed, as Joan put it. “Ellen was really trying her hardest to impress me, which I saw right through, but fell for anyway,” admitted Joan.
Ellen said she knew Joan was “the one” by the second date. Joan, who calls herself stubborn, needed more time. She also wasn’t looking for a serious relationship. Ellen said she would wait for her, and she did. Joan fell for Ellen a few months later.
“When just thinking of someone makes you smile even on your worst day, then that’s what I love about her,” Joan said about Ellen. Together they moved to Littleton, Colorado. They like to hike, pan for gold, listen to audio books, cuddle, and go on road trips.
Ellen loves that Joan has become part of her make- up. “I think she is very sexy. I love that she laughs at all of my jokes, even if she has heard them before, she will sing with me, and she lets me drive most of the time.”
"I love that she laughs at all of my jokes, even if she has heard them before..."
Katie & Andy
Katie was moved to help Andy, after he posted on a body modification website that he had cancer and was looking for a humidifier. Katie’s father died of cancer so she had one to spare. She offered to mail it to him. The site, BME. com is a site dedicated to tattoos and scarification but it had many forums. His message was in a bicycle forum. It was February of 2005. Katie lived in St. Louis, Missouri and Andy lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They began talking everyday, sending two page long messages.
In May of that year, they started chatting on the phone and both felt a deep connection. “The person I was with before was not very nice,” admitted Andy. “The humidifier thing, that really struck me and proved that she was caring and kind.” A month later, Andy visited Katie in St. Louis. “The moment I met him in person,” Katie said, “when I hugged him after he got off that plane I knew right away this was the guy I was going to marry.”
They wed in December of 2006. Because they wanted to do more outdoorsy activities like mountain biking and rock climbing, they moved near Boulder, Colorado. What they share the most in common is their love of body modification. She loves tattoos while Andy is big on scarfiication. He has pieces on all his limbs, his back, in addition to Teflon implants in his chest.
"When I hugged him after he got off the plane I knew this was the guy I was going to marry."
Bryn & Mike
Bryn and Mike met on Myspace in January of 2006. “I found an image of him that he had posted that was utterly hilarious.” She friended him and he in turn sent her a message. The two hit it off and began writing each other three to four emails a day for over a month. In February, they decided to make their friendship a reality by meeting at a music venue in Minneapolis.
“When he walked in and sat down next to me,” Bryn confessed, “it was like that cheesy saying: ‘You’ll know it when you meet him.’” Early on in their relationship, Mike gave Bryn a guitar pick and told her that it would come in handy someday. In March, he sent her an invitation to “a guitar pick summit” at his apartment for which the guitar pick was the entry fee. “I went to his apartment and he expressed his feelings for me and hoped that I felt the same.” In April he met her parents, and by May they were engaged.
They married the following July in Bryn’s parents’ Wisconsin backyard. “We had record albums as our centerpieces with flowers coming out of them.” They later moved to Park Slope, Brooklyn with their two cats.