Nine Tales Of Take-Two Romance

These loved-up couples prove that it’s never too late to find your own happily ever after. Read on…

By Laura Schaefer

hen it comes to making a fresh start with your love life, you may face moments of self-doubt… or worse. It’s not always easy to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep an open heart — especially after a major relationship ends. However, here’s some good news for you: the world is full of men and women currently in beautiful relationships with their “take two” partners. Don’t believe us? Read on…

Sid and Kathleen Couple #1: Sid Fey and Kathleen Vitello-Fey
“My husband Sid and I are a ‘take-two’ couple,” says Kathleen Vitello-Fey of Warrenville, IL. “Both of us had been divorced for a while and seeking The One. We actually met at a funeral. A mutual friend’s mom had passed away and we both showed up at church for the memorial service. The sun was shining through the stained-glass window, and something just clicked. He got my phone number and called me a few days later; the rest is history. We dated for two and a half years, and we’ve been married for eight years. He’s my soul mate, and I am so lucky to have him in my life! I’d suggest that others seeking a relationship be willing to not have it — to feel OK with just being on your own. My other piece of advice is to never give up on love!”

Margaret and Jerry Couple #2: Margaret Miller and Jerry Akin, 62
“It started with me typing the words ‘I’m new to’ in an email to a woman identified only as 1200Girl,” says Austin-based architect Jerry, describing how he met his wife, Margaret, nine years ago online. “I’ve heard it said that the key for a great relationship/marriage is that each person secretly thinks that he or she got the better part of the deal. Me? I definitely got the better part of the deal! As for what advice I’d give to others: Respect that every person’s circumstance is different, and every couple faces a different set of challenges. True intimacy requires you to be vulnerable, which we've done by having open, frank and direct conversations with each other when problems arise. My wife and I learned from our own previous relationships that we needed to do what worked best for us, both individually and as a couple — despite getting some raised eyebrows from our friends and relatives.”

Terri and Greg Couple #3: Terri Henry, 52, and Greg Sabin, 60
“Getting married again wasn’t even on either of our radar screens,” explains Terri, a restaurant marketing professional. “We ‘knew’ each other six years prior, when we were neighbors living in the same loft building. I moved about a mile away, but still owned the property where Greg was living. I was over at that building after trying for four months to get a non-paying tenant to move out. Needless to say, I was not in a good mood! So there I am, standing at the elevator landing after hauling out yet another bag of trash… and when the elevator doors open, Greg is standing there. We chatted together during the ride six floors down. To make a long story short, two days later he emailed me, a week later I had broken up with my boyfriend — the relationship had been circling the drain, anyway — and Greg and I became a couple. Three months later, we got engaged on a trip to Paris, and just seven months after running into each other that day on the elevator, we were married!”

John and Laura Couple #4: John Braun, 46, and Laura Thomas, 42
“I met my partner, Laura, while I was attending law school. I was there working towards a later-in-life career change in my early forties,” says John, an attorney living in Minneapolis, MN. “She was a professor there, and I was lucky enough to get to know her when the two of us had the chance to work together on a class-action civil rights lawsuit with the university’s law clinic, the latest iteration of which was decided by the Minnesota Supreme Court on December 19, 2012. Now, Laura and I practice law together at the same firm, I have all but adopted her two kids, and we are working towards consolidating our two households. We are not yet married, but I was a lifelong bachelor, so we are taking the transition very slowly as we move our relationship forward.”

Lisa and Stephanie; photo courtesy of Eva Mueller Couple #5: Lisa Haas, 48, and Stephanie Schroeder, 49
“A few Decembers ago, I interviewed Lisa for an article for Curve magazine,” recalls Stephanie, who’s a journalist. “After I submitted the article, I asked her out — and we’ve been dating ever since. We moved in to a fantastic rent-stabilized apartment in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood in August of 2010. Since then, we’ve been having a ball together! We’re both writers, and all that researching, writing and submitting work (while constantly hustling for more gigs) takes up an enormous part of our lives. Our relationship advice to others is that it’s never too late to find love — however you choose to define it. Of course, shared mutual interests are extremely important, but having individual lives, friends, endeavors, etc. matters, too. Above all else, open and honest communication is the key to maintaining a successful relationship.”

Mike and Lisa Couple #6: Mike and Lisa Boesen
“My husband and I found each other on,” says Lisa, a healthcare consultant, speaker, and coach. “I was 42 and he was 45; we both had been married before. He was recently divorced when we met, and I had been divorced for over 15 years without much success with dating. The interesting part of our story is that we lived around the corner from each other in Bellaire, TX (which is a small city inside of Houston). We also went to the same church, but attended different services. His house even backed up to my townhouse complex! In 2002, helped us find each other by drilling down my prospective matches to a small geographic area. We had similar values and some things in common, but we were also willing to learn new things together — such as ballroom dancing and tandem bike riding — and we spend every minute we can with each other.”

Laurie and Joseph Couple #7: Laurie Battaglia, 56, and Joseph Battaglia, 63
“We met in the spring of 2001 while taking a class called ‘Meet, Mix and Mingle: The Singles Connection.’ Both of us [had been] married for over 20 years to our high school sweethearts. It’s safe to say that neither of us knew how to date, didn’t like going to bars, and Internet dating was still in its infancy. Our first date was at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania. We spent the afternoon walking around and talking, then adjourned to have dinner and talk even more. We went out again at the end of that week, and that was all it took,” recall the co-owners of Living the Dream Coaches, LLC in Scottsdale, AZ. “Here are our three tips for finding love the second time around: Work on yourself first! Don’t expect someone to make up for what you lack in your own life. Second, set a ‘no drama… no game-playing’ rule early on in the relationship. And finally, always say what you feel; it’s hard to do at first, but the rewards are great if you can stick to it.”

Michael and Melissa Couple #8: Michael Harlow, 45, and Melissa Harlow, 50
“We have a beautiful relationship,” says Melissa, a public relations specialist in San Diego, CA, of her husband, Michael. “We found each other on over eight years ago, even though we lived just a few minutes apart. I have a son (who was eight at the time), and he has a daughter (she was seven at the time we met). Blending our families together was challenging, and there were a few times when I wasn’t sure that we would all make it through. But after setting up some loving ground rules about sharing our family time, privacy, grown-up time, kid time... well, we finally made it. Our teenagers actually do love each other, honest! To me, it’s really a fantasy life. This is the third marriage for both of us, and we have traveled to many exotic places together as a family. And everywhere we go, it feels like we're falling in love all over again.”

James and Lisa Couple #9: James Mandell, 64, and Lisa Johnson Mandell, 54
“It took me 47 years to find the man of my dreams, but let me tell you, he was worth the wait!” enthuses Los Angeles-based journalist and author Lisa of her husband, James. “I am one of those types who truly loved dating and getting to meet new people, but about three dates in, I knew that I’d better take this one seriously. It was time to grow up and welcome the love of my life into my heart. James had been single for about nine years when we met, and was sincerely looking for someone to settle down with. He never believed that it would take him so long — he loved being married the first time, and was tired of all the ‘wife auditions.’ Still, he wasn’t willing to settle for less than someone who was a perfect match (for him, I mean) before giving marriage a second try. Our advice to others in our same position would be: Don’t settle, because true love is so worth the wait! We still feel like newlyweds after more than five blissful years of marriage, and make sure to count our blessings every day.”

Laura Schaefer is the author of Why We Fall Out of Love and Planet Explorers New York City: A Travel Guide for Kids. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
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