Online dating works! New project We Met on the Internet has the proof

Can you really find your S.O. on sites like Match.com, OkCupid or JDate? A new photo series tells the stories of those who found love. Fair warning: Heartwarming tales contained within.

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Love isn't in the air; it's in the ether. We have been known to argue that, if not the Internet, then social media is killing NYC, but it seems it's been the romantic savior to some of the five borough's denizens. A new project by photographer (and Time Out contributor) Jena Cumbo and writer Gina Tron reveals the serious connections New Yorkers have made on sites such as JDate, Grindr and tattoodatingsite.com.

Meet some of the featured couples below, and read edited excerpts from the stories of how they got together. And if you met your own S.O. on the Internet, Cumbo and Tron are looking for more tales to document. Head to the project's Web page and click on Contact to get in touch.

  • Photograph: Jena Cumbo

    We Met on the Internet

    Mariela and Tiago, met on tattoodatingsite.com

    Mariela and Tiago found each other in cyberspace, thanks to their shared love of tattoos. Their initial contact began on tattoodatingsite.com. “[The name] is that blunt,” states Mariela while laughing. “When you go there, you think it’s a spam website.”

    On their second date, they shared some ink time together. Tiago got a previous piece polished off, while Mariela received a permanent eye onto her forearm. After two weeks of dating, they moved in together. Four months later, they got engaged. Now the two share matching tattoos: They both have the word love tattooed on their hands. The couple plans to wed in June of this year.—Gina Tron

  • Photograph: Jena Cumbo

    We Met on the Internet

    Ann and Bill, met on Match.com

    Bill, now 61, was working as an energy auditor when his wife died of cancer in 2003. Around the same time, his company downsized and he lost his position. After working several odd jobs, he found stable work in rural Goshen, NY. Once he relocated, Bill felt that his only option was the Internet: “You don’t meet people at work and stuff. Everyone my age I know is married.” He also states that the bar scene is “creepy…and kind of embarrassing," hence joining Match.com in 2007.

    The same year, Ann separated from her husband and noticed commercials for Match.com. She says, “I just figured I’d look and see if there was anybody interesting in my age group. There were a lot of pictures of guys posing with their motorcycles and a lot of guys posting with the fish they just caught.” But Bill caught her eye with his nonmacho profile picture and photographs of his dogs.—Gina Tron

  • Photograph: Jena Cumbo

    We Met on the Internet

    Taylor and Jonathan, met on Grindr (grindr.com)

    Grindr is a site known for its gay hookups. “It’s so bad,” admits Taylor, a fashion brand manager. “I had actually never used [the site] before. I had literally got it for the sole purpose of showing my hetero friends how disgusting the gay world can be. So I guess I kind of proved myself wrong.”

    Taylor’s profile caught Jonathan’s eye. “He [Taylor] stood out because he wasn’t some chunky-looking Chelsea guy. I just kind of knew that we would hit it off, whether it be [as] friends or if we were to date,” says Jonathan, who works as a model.

    It took Taylor awhile to warm up to the idea: “I didn’t really trust anyone on that site because of its reputation.” They have now been dating for two months and live together in Bushwick.—Gina Tron

  • Photograph: Jena Cumbo

    We Met on the Internet

    Jackie and Mark, met on Match.com

    The two had their first date on October 7, 2011, after conversing on Match.com. They also exchanged some late-night texts because Jackie was working evenings shifts as a nurse. Mark, who claims he is a tad awkward, said that he didn’t like looking for love in bars because—as he puts it—“I don’t like to shit where I eat.”

    Jackie was always against online dating. “I was afraid of doing it because I never wanted to admit that I was looking for a relationship," she shares. "I thought if you wanted to be in one, you’d just stumble upon it.” But frustrated with the men she was involved with, she gave the online world a shot.—Gina Tron

  • Photograph: Jena Cumbo

    We Met on the Internet

    Rae and Gary, met on JDate (jdate.com)

    “At one point I think if you go back a couple generations, people were not expected to marry again once they were widowed,” explains Gary, 60, who divorced in 2000. He found love with Rae, 59, a widow. The two began speaking on JDate in 2003. They communicated electronically for a month before meeting in person at Barnes & Noble in Forest Hills, Queens. Then they walked down to a little coffeeshop and shared dessert. “I knew what I was looking for and when I recognized it with Rae, I didn’t want to waste much time,” says Gary. And time, they wasted very little of. The couple married in 2004.

    They almost didn’t meet, by an inch. Rae originally didn’t show up on Gary’s potential people list on JDate, since he had set his height filter at a minimum of 5’1". (Rae is 5’0".) “So anyone less than five-foot-one would never have popped up when I did the search,” he says. Eventually though, Rae found Gary’s page and checked him out, despite being repulsed by what she claimed to be an unflattering profile picture. “It was really awful. He was squinting and later on, when we got to know each other I was like, ‘Were you in pain when you had that picture taken?’ It didn’t lure me in at first.”—Gina Tron

  • Photograph: Jena Cumbo

    We Met on the Internet

    KJ and Sal, met on OkCupid (okcupid.com)

    A self-proclaimed shy comic-book artist, KJ is a 25-year-old living in Bushwick. The illustrator and animator had turned to OkCupid for dating because she felt that she was “not very personable.” However, she discovered that many used the website to get a little too close. “Most just wanted to hook up,” she confesses. Sal, a 20-year-old student and programmer living in Newark, signed up on OkCupid last summer and, two weeks later, found KJ.

    Their first date began in lower Manhattan, when they got lost trying to find Vanessa’s Dumplings in Chinatown, where Sal really fell hard for KJ. “I scared her a little bit, I think,” he says. “Yeah, a little bit,” admits KJ.

    Sal explains, “When it comes to people, I’m not big on having lots of friends, but when I meet someone I like, I tend to latch onto them really quickly.” And he eventually won KJ over by offering a digital rendition of a literary classic. “I think she decided to date me because I had a little Hamlet game that I made for a [school] project. She’s really into Shakespeare, so she gave me a shot.”—Gina Tron

Photograph: Jena Cumbo

We Met on the Internet

Mariela and Tiago, met on tattoodatingsite.com

Mariela and Tiago found each other in cyberspace, thanks to their shared love of tattoos. Their initial contact began on tattoodatingsite.com. “[The name] is that blunt,” states Mariela while laughing. “When you go there, you think it’s a spam website.”

On their second date, they shared some ink time together. Tiago got a previous piece polished off, while Mariela received a permanent eye onto her forearm. After two weeks of dating, they moved in together. Four months later, they got engaged. Now the two share matching tattoos: They both have the word love tattooed on their hands. The couple plans to wed in June of this year.—Gina Tron


Users say

1 comments
Taylor Horne
Taylor Horne

Oops!!! This is so cute!!! But actually I am the Fashion Model and Jonathan is a Hair Stylist:)