After a Slow Start, and a Break, Things Moved Fast


Olivia Rivera favored what she known as Version 1.0 of Harrison Shanklin a lot. But Version 2.0 — the “committed and available” man who emerged after the couple took a break simply a few months into relationship — was one thing else solely.

“Once we hit that 2.0 version, we were so sure,” she mentioned. “I tell him that I could not have dreamt up a person who would be more perfect for me than him.”

The two met via the relationship app Hinge within the fall of 2019, however plans for a first date had been in the end canceled by Mr. Shanklin, who advised Ms. Rivera he was too busy with work and that he’d get again to her to reschedule.

“So often on dating apps, that’s it,” mentioned Ms. Rivera, 35, a social employee at Thurgood Marshall Academic High School in San Francisco, who graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and obtained a grasp’s diploma in social work from the University of California, Berkeley. “You don’t hear from them again.”

After a few weeks, although, he did circle again, and the couple had their first date that October. A second date got here a week later, and with it, their first kiss.

Mr. Shanklin, 36, a program supervisor for college relations at Google who graduated from North Carolina State University, mentioned that, by then, “Things were going well, but I was getting a lot more responsibility with work and was incredibly busy.”

“I was not always super available,” he mentioned. An outdoor-recreation fanatic, Mr. Shanklin was additionally fighting again points, and in January 2020, he realized that he wanted to start out taking the matter extra severely when he injured his again whereas tying his sneakers.

At across the similar time, Ms. Rivera advised him that she was accustomed to seeing the particular person she was relationship greater than as soon as a week, and planning greater than a few hours prematurely.

“That was a big reality check for me,” mentioned Mr. Shanklin. “She hadn’t even gotten to see the real version of me, I was so unavailable. That really bummed me out.”

About a month later, Ms. Rivera despatched Mr. Shanklin a textual content message saying that she missed him. The feeling, he mentioned, was mutual.

“It just clicked that I missed her a lot and really wanted to reconnect and be with her,” mentioned Mr. Shanklin, who obtained her textual content whereas on a work journey.

When he returned, on March 4, 2020, he went to fulfill her straight from the airport. The two then determined to present their nascent relationship one other likelihood. Version 2.0 had launched — and not a second too quickly, Ms. Rivera mentioned, as two weeks later, the pandemic arrived.

“I feel like if we hadn’t decided to be official then, we might not have made it,” mentioned Ms. Rivera, who added that she initially remained romantically reserved. “But with Covid, things got really, really quick very fast — we were spending half of our time together.”

That May, Mr. Shanklin advised Ms. Rivera he beloved her. “In the statement around sharing that he loved me, he said, ‘You make it feel like home when you’re here,’” Ms. Rivera mentioned. “Once he said that, I was like, OK, I can let myself enjoy this.”

Of the second, Mr. Shanklin mentioned, “I was just feeling overwhelmed with the feeling of being in love with her.”

The two moved in collectively in July 2020, acquired a pet that September and talked about their future. In April 2021, on a journey to Healdsburg, Calif., they had been engaged in a spontaneous double proposal.

The couple, who dwell in Pacifica, Calif., married on Dec. 21 within the Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve in Half Moon Bay, Calif., earlier than eight visitors. Lindsay Isaacson-Willman, a good friend who’s a Universal Life minister, officiated.

If the timeline of their relationship appeared accelerated, Ms. Rivera mentioned that, given the pandemic, it actually wasn’t.

“In a turbo relationship — the amount of time in a pandemic relationship versus real life — we’ve been together three to five years already.” she mentioned.