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It’s always funny explaining to people how we met. Rather than a match made in heaven, I like to say it was a match made on JDate! I had been on JDate for about four months; Barry, on the other hand, only about a week. Having gone on a couple dates with no positive outcomes, I was beginning to get a bit discouraged and ready to give up. I decided to give myself one more week on JDate and then I would give it a rest for a while. As luck would have it, in that short time period, Barry and I connected. It was an instant connection; we talked online and on the phone for hours upon end, getting to know each other.

We finally decided it was time to meet about two weeks later. Most “normal” people would choose a restaurant, bar or other public place as a first date location. Not Barry & I. We’ve been unique since day one, and so it’s no shock that we decided to have our first date at my aunt and uncle’s apartment in New York City.

Because we felt so instantly comfortable with each other, we decided the attire would be very casual, (sweat pants and sweatshirts) the food homemade, (we cooked a delicious stir fry together) and the ambiance one of a kind (a luxury apartment on Central Park South boasting spectacular views of NYC).

We had had such a great first date that we didn’t want the weekend to end! So, a few of his friends and a few of my friends decided to all go out in NYC the following night. This was the true test; to see how he was with my friends, to see how he was around his own friends and to see how things were out in public. Boy did he pass the test! From holding my hand and carrying my coat, to being incredibly attentive to my very need, I knew my feelings from the night before were real and that this truly was something special.

I talked to my mom the following day and before I could even say hello, the words, “I found the one” came flying right out of my mouth! Barry was the first Jewish man I’ve ever dated and I do have to say my parents were right about having more in common and feeling a closer bond because of our heritage and the sharing of similar customs and traditions.

For the next two and half years, Barry and I maintained a long distance relationship before we decided it was time to take our relationship to the next level and move in together. An unexpected loss of a close friend gave us the extra nudge we both needed to start the next chapter in our lives together. A new job (for me) and a new apartment later, we no longer have to only see each other on the weekends. I go to bed smiling every night and wake up smiling because I have my best friend lying right beside me!

On December 23rd, Barry and I had dinner at a fun NYC restaurant. We walked around the city a bit and ended the night back at my aunt and uncle’s apartment; the same place where we’d had our first date. A dance around the living room to our song and one sneaky move later, I found Barry down on one knee in front of me asking me to spend the rest of my life with him. I was 100% surprised and am 100% thrilled to now call my best friend my fiancé!!!!!!!!

Elana and Barry
South Orange, New Jersey

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