Photo by Michael Polito
Chris Meckley and Danielle Belfiore today.
Danielle Belfiore, 30, and Chris Meckley, 31, each went to nearby Connecticut high schools, but got to know each other at the University of Vermont, where they had mutual friends. Both recall a freewheeling, hours-long conversation on a train back to school after the holidays. Chris even asked Danielle what kind of guy was her type. She replied, “You, I guess.”
Chris recalls getting “butterflies” in his stomach. “I thought Danielle was cute,” he says, “but I was really shy. And I was dating someone else, so the timing was not right.”
The two didn’t see each other for 12 years. They dated but never married; each had long-term relationships that fizzled out. Occasionally, they would wonder about each other.
Last summer, a dozen years after graduating college, Chris’s life was in flux. He had changed jobs and was in the process of moving from the East Village to Brooklyn. While packing for the move, he took a break to check Facebook, and saw a post from one of his college roommates. That got Chris thinking about all the other people he’d met in college—including Danielle. “I remembered how sweet and warm she was and how we had shared really deep conversations.” He looked her up on Facebook and messaged to ask if she remembered him. “I had zero expectations and honestly didn’t think I would get a response,” Chris says.
But a day later, Danielle replied, despite being so surprised to hear from Chris that she called her mom to share the news. “Of course I remember you,” Danielle wrote back, and he suggested they meet for a drink, this time more excited about reconnecting than shy. Danielle, a senior production editor at Pearson who lived in Hartsdale at the time, was on “a streak of meeting one weirdo after another and starting to resign myself to singledom forever.” She wasn’t sure if Chris was actually asking for a date or something more casual.
Yet, when they met, it was like the train ride all over again. “It was a surprise how absolutely, instantly comfortable we were with each other,” says Chris, a product manager for a data provider. “We talked about religion, politics, our relationship history, all the things you’re not supposed to talk about on a first date.”
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The conversation has continued. He proposed April 1, and they are talking about a wedding in late summer or early fall of next year. In July, they moved into a new home together in Bronxville. “At his core, Chris has the same values as when we first met,” Danielle says. “He’s mature and direct, candid and open. There are no games.” Still, she wants to take time before she takes the next step. “I’m enjoying our relationship.” And Chris?
“The most important thing for me is to be with someone I can be myself with, who can be that way with me; we can thrive together doing that. Danielle is the only person I’ve met who I feel that way with.”