Boston.com readers share their love stories

"It was love at first sight."

Aaron Merullo and his wife Natalie first met in Osaka, Japan.
Aaron Merullo and his wife Natalie first met in Osaka, Japan. –Courtesy of Aaron Merullo

This month, in honor of Valentine’s Day, we asked Boston.com readers to share their love stories with us.

As a result, readers shared stories about finding love online, at work, in their communities, and while traveling around the world.

Here are their stories:

“It was love at first sight”

“My wife and I met while traveling overseas. I was backpacking around Asia and Natalie was teaching English in South Korea. We found each other in Osaka, Japan. There were only 4 people staying at our hostel, ourselves included. I was sitting outside drinking coffee when Natalie arrived with her backpack. It was love at first sight. I introduced myself and we chatted for a bit, making plans for the 4 of us to go out that night (we all quickly made friends). For the next three nights we were almost inseparable, and after the other two checked out Natalie and I were the only 2 guests at the hostel. We explored the city together and stayed out all night, getting into all sorts of trouble. It felt like magic when we kissed and I felt like I had known her my whole life. It was very hard to say goodbye. After returning home I could not get her off my mind. I didn’t want to complicate things but after a month I texted her and asked to see her again. Fast forward 2 years, a few trips back and forth (me to South Korea and her to the States), and we just got married last May and Natalie is receiving her green card next month (she is Canadian). Our adventure continues. We could not be happier. I can’t help but think what are the chances that we would end up meeting the way we did:)” —Aaron Merullo

What happened when a Cardinals fan met a Red Sox fan…

Ryan and Tori Connor with their daughters. —Courtesy of Tori Connor
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“I had planned to stay home New Year’s Eve 1999, but my good guy friend had just broken up with his girlfriend earlier in the day. He asked me to go to a party with him and a few of his fraternity brothers. That night I went and met the man who’d change my life.

We hit it off immediately and exchanged numbers. We even spent New Year’s night together with a group of friends going to the movies. We dated for a few months, but he was only 19 and I was 22. I really liked him a lot and felt he was something special. But I also knew he was a young guy just starting college and life. So I did break up with him. We remained good friends though, always hanging out and going to each other for advice on other people we dated or just life. Even in between significant others, we’d treat each other to dates together since we always had a great time with one another.

Eventually we both got serious with someone and I even got married. Of course, being my good friend, he came to my wedding too. The day of my wedding, a hurricane hit the honeymoon spot so it was canceled. My ex-husband and I decided on Boston for our honeymoon. I fell in love with the city. Oddly enough, while there, the Red Sox clinched their spot in the playoffs. We celebrated them and joked that maybe we’d play them in the World Series. We all know what happened that year when Boston crushed the St. Louis Cardinals in the WS and won their first series breaking their curse.

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But, my marriage was not a good one, and he was one of the first friends I told when I decided to get a divorce. We began to talk more again. He was now in law school in Boston—how convenient. I was in a paralegal program in St. Louis. We starting talking a lot due to our professional paths. Eventually I headed up to Boston to visit him. I greatly missed the city and it was a perfect opportunity to go. We planned it for a few months and were emailing constantly about my upcoming trip. Ironically, the St. Louis Cardinals were again in the World Series. This time I was able to celebrate my baseball team winning the World Series.

I arrived in Boston and met my long time friend outside South Station. We dropped off my luggage at his apartment in Southie then headed back downtown. We had dinner and walked around the city all evening with my arm slipped through his. It ended up being extremely romantic. That night we watched the Cardinals win their game at Shenannigans in Southie then headed back home. And that was it. We’ve been together ever since.

I flew up to visit him almost monthly until he asked me to move to Boston, which I did. I found an amazing job right away and we lived a wonderful life in South Boston. We did move back to the St. Louis area after he graduated law school and now live in Edwardsville, about 20 minutes outside of downtown St. Louis. We chose Edwardsville because it reminded us of Boston in that we could walk to shops and restaurants. We have a great life here, but our hearts are always with Boston. We now have 2 daughters and look forward to the day we can show them where mommy and daddy fell in love.

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We’ve been friends for 20 years now, been together for 14 years, and married for 9 years. Boston is our home away from home and is cherished by us. Much love to the beloved city that we felt was home and brought us back together.” —Tori Connor

Married 39 years

Ralph and Betty Frongello, then and now. —Courtesy of Betty Frongello

“In 1976,  I went to work as a temp at my now-husband Ralph’s company in Lexington, Mass. On my first day he explained my responsibilities, then he was gone for around three hours. When he came back I said, sarcastically, “Oh, long lunch, huh?” He actually had gone to a meeting. He was so mad, he tried to fire me that day. He went into the president’s office and said, “I want to get rid of that temp, she’s fresh!” But they decided he’d already trained me, so I stayed. We went out for five years and have been married for 39!” —Betty Frongello

“The crush that I already had on him continued to blossom”

Zeke and Leia Pasquarelli. —Courtesy of Leia Pasquarelli

“When I was around 8 or maybe 10, my family moved to Gloucester, Mass. from a homeless shelter in Roxbury. We had lived in another homeless shelter before that, located in Dorchester. Life had never been easy for me. My family was often homeless or living with other family members. When we relocated to Gloucester it was hard for me to make friends.

Eventually my mother started letting me go to the local teen center when I was around 12 years old (so long as I sent her a picture every fifteen minutes). There I met Zeke Pasquarelli. Well, I mostly just watched him for the first 2 years that I knew him. He was lively and bright, one of the friendliest, funniest, most intelligent people I’d ever seen. When he walked into the teen center everyone greeted him. He is truly loved by everyone around us.

It wasn’t until I joined Teen Leaders at thirteen that we started talking to each other. He came up to me at the first meeting we had that year and talked to me about music until our parents came to pick us up. A few weeks into the year my mom let me have a phone so that I could walk home from meetings; Zeke and I exchanged numbers. We became really good friends and the crush that I already had on him continued to blossom. He was two years older than me, and got his license around the time my brother, Joey, started doing Leaders with us. He would always make sure that my brother and I got home safe (even on late nights when we had been volunteering all day).

I worked at a lot of different places but when I was fifteen I started working at Camp Spindrift (It was a YMCA program so both Zeke and I were shoe-ins for camp counselor positions). At this time we had both started dating other people, and by 18, I had moved out of my house due to some turmoil there. Zeke and I were still the best of friends even though he was now only home in the summer. Despite it being obvious to everyone else, I didn’t realize how much I loved him until I started trying to set him up with hot Phoebe and my other close friend at the time. When things became really hard at my new home, he and his family let me move in with them. And even though it was in reverse order to how things normally go, things folded out naturally from there. Now we are married, I work as a school age educator for children whose family can not always afford after school or summer care, and my husband is studying to be a marine engineer. I couldn’t be happier.” —Leia Pasquarelli

She swiped right

Andrew and Rachel Proudfoot. —Courtesy of Rachel Proudfoot

“My love story is one of serendipity and trust.  You need some background for this. First you need to know that I was living in Boston, completing my graduate work. Second you need to know that I am 5’10” and quite picky about my partners’ height. Third, after many bad experiences via dating apps with taller men, I had recently sworn off anybody over 6’0″, because I just knew anyone that tall was going to have an insurmountable ego.

One Friday night as I was getting ready to go out with friends I was scrolling through said dating apps to land on an attractive man who was 6’6″. So that was a no. Except he had pictures of himself working with kids. And a quote that made me believe perhaps, just perhaps he was ‘in it for the right reasons.’ So I swiped right. I immediately received the response, “Hey Rachel, I live in San Francisco, but I wanted to tell you that I thought you were cute.” Oh great, another one who is just trying to see how many people like him back. Except, he kept replying. We had witty rapport. He kept messaging the next day. And he asked for my number. Maybe, just maybe, he’s actually not a bad guy?
We couldn’t meet up that weekend. Andrew was on a business trip and the college he was visiting owned all his time. He was in town only for 48 hours. Well, we’ll be friends I thought. I was planning to move to San Francisco in a few months anyway. The witty rapport continued over text and turned into FaceTiming. I half jokingly invited Andrew to visit over Thanksgiving when he’d be in upstate New York with his family. Andrew politely declined, saying (in kinder words) that he didn’t feel comfortable leaving his widowed mother to meet a girl he’s never met. Which, I guess I can’t fault him for.
We continued to keep in touch and on Christmas Andrew asked if I was serious about him coming to Boston. Before I knew it he had booked tickets to fly the entire length of the country to meet me. Believing that I knew Andrew well enough from a few dozen FaceTime calls, I had him stay with me during his visit. We hit it off effortlessly. He was kind, sweet, and funny. My dog was immediately drawn to him, especially when he thought Andrew had brought the loaf of SF sourdough for him. Andrew left on a Sunday afternoon with me having declined the offer to become his girlfriend, because, that would be crazy….right? I surprised myself when I cried that night thinking I may have lost him. Four years later we are married, living in San Francisco, and my dog loves Andrew and sourdough bread more than ever.” —Rachel Proudfoot

Finding love later in life

Bill and Marlou. —Courtesy of Bill and Marlou

“Bill and Marlou met while living at BrightView Senior Living. In February 2019, shortly after Marlou’s friend passed away, Bill sat beside her on the couch to console her. He took her hand and they talked for a long time. The months that followed were filled with the two spending time together and growing their friendship. It wasn’t long before Bill proclaimed his love for Marlou. Her response, “I’m not getting mixed up with anybody.”

They continued with their close friendship, and in April 2019, Bill went to Florida with his daughter and son-in law. While he was gone, he could not stop thinking of Marlou, so he shopped for some diamond earrings for her. When he returned to Concord River, he presented the earrings to Marlou. She said, “thank you” while still resisting a deeper relationship. One evening when the dining room tables had to be reconfigured, Bill and Marlou were faced with the decision of sitting together alone or sitting separately with their friend group. Marlou made it very clear that she and Bill were a “team” and they would not be sitting separately. It wasn’t long after that they made it “official.”

Marlou said she gave into her love for Bill because “he has a way about him.” When Bill was asked what he loves about Marlou, he said “She is kind, and gentle, and gets along with everybody. She doesn’t have a bad bone in her body.”

Marlou responded with, “You haven’t look hard enough.”

Bill responded with, “I’m not going to be looking.”

Marlou explained her love for Bill: “He has a great sense of humor and a twinkle in his eye. It’s those eyes.”

Bill also talked about how supportive his family has been of their relationship.  They often have Marlou join them on their Saturday night out dinners and other family events.” — Caitlin Wolf

“He is my Forever Love”

“My husband saw me one day at a Howard Johnson’s where I ate lunch almost everyday. For the next 3 days he was there sitting in a booth waiting for me. I noticed him in his flight jacket, tall and handsome but I ignored him figuring he could introduce himself. He found out where I worked and called me there. Asked me out for a drink. My friend said, ‘Go. You never know, you might end up marrying the guy’…..I did and we eloped three days later. Married on the 4th day and a week later he left. Went to Vietnam. We were married for 55 years. He was in the Naval Air Corps and also a Special Operations Unit. He swept me off my feet and we took a leap of faith and never looked back. I am sad to say he died this past Thanksgiving of illness due to his service exposure to Agent Orange. He is my Forever Love. We have two daughters and 5 grandchildren who loved him and miss him terribly.” —Susan West

Responses have been lightly edited for clarity.

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