Although they attended the same high school in Rochester Hills, Mich., Julia Marie Gerard and Adam Edward Romund never crossed paths until their senior year. They were placed in the same personal finance class and became fast friends. The two began spending more time together outside of class, attempting to prepare for their A.P. calculus exam.
“What was supposed to be studying at the library was not studying at all,” Mr. Romund, 23, said. “It was basically a date. We did zero studying and just talked about random stuff.”
Their mutual crushes prompted Mr. Romund to ask Ms. Gerard to the prom in May 2018, where they shared their first kiss. The couple spent most of the following summer together, knowing they’d eventually be heading off to colleges in different states — Ms. Gerard to Ohio State University, and Mr. Romund to Michigan State University.
“He had become my best friend,” Ms. Gerard, also 23, said. “We really wanted to make it work. We couldn’t imagine losing the other person.”
Maintaining the relationship came with challenges — “95 percent of our relationship existed over FaceTime,” Mr. Romund said. But they managed to see each other once or twice a semester. Mr. Romund endured a nine-hour bus ride to visit Ms. Gerard in Ohio. Ms. Gerard hitched a ride with a friend when she ventured to Michigan. During each reunion, the couple took a Polaroid selfie to mark the occasion.
The sustained separation that defined their relationship did have a silver lining.
“The nice thing that came out of long distance and FaceTiming all the time was that we communicated pretty well,” Mr. Romund said. Among the many topics of conversation was the subject of marriage.