Can love ever hope to flourish in today’s digital age? So many traditionalists would tell you no, nay and never: the internet has limited our ability to connect with people, they claim, and we’re spending too much time online to forge any meaningful connections in our real and organic lives.
Plus there’s any number of online dating horror stories to support their case, from the guy who took it upon himself to explain why he won’t date “hot women anymore”, to the man who thought LinkedIn – aka the professional networking site – was the perfect place to hit on women.
Well, as it turns out, these internet-averse people are all wrong – and this couple’s digital love story proves it, once and for all.
Llia Apostolou is an avid Twitter fan, so she turned to the social networking site for help when she found herself without a plus one for her sister’s wedding back in 2014.
Are you a man? Can I borrow you for a wedding next weekend? Bonus points if you can source a baby that I can pretend is mine too.— Llia Apostolou (@Llia) July 6, 2014
It wasn’t long before Phil Gibson spotted Apostolou’s request – and, the very next day, he was reaching out to offer his services.
The pair seemed to hit it off immediately – and their chemistry was so intense that all those other Twitter users watching the exchange could (probably) feel it sizzling through their computer screens.
@philgibson01 See you at the altar.— Llia Apostolou (@Llia) July 6, 2014
@Llia It's a date! Just a date though, right?— Phil Gibson (@philgibson01) July 6, 2014
@philgibson01 is this how internet dating works?— Llia Apostolou (@Llia) July 6, 2014
@Llia My Grandma already wants to meet you.— Phil Gibson (@philgibson01) July 6, 2014
@philgibson01 that's nice and all, but I didn't invite her to my wedding. No, wait, THE wedding. Slip of the tongue.— Llia Apostolou (@Llia) July 6, 2014
And three years later, Apostolou and Gibson have tied the knot themselves.
That’s right, they only went and got bloody married after joking about it on Twitter.
It’s worth clarifying, here, that Gibson did not actually attend Apostolou’s sister’s wedding (phew) all those years ago, because, well, they decided it might be a little weird.
Should clarify, we didn't go to that wedding together (it was my sister's, imagine!) but Phil & I did meet IRL for the 1st time that week 👍🏼— Llia Apostolou (@Llia) July 5, 2017
But as her tweet explains, the pair still met up and fell for one another – proving, once again, that a sense of humour is crucial when it comes to finding The One (if you believe in such things).
But still - I jokingly wished to marry him, having not even met him, and it happened. Still blows my mind.— Llia Apostolou (@Llia) July 5, 2017
Unsurprisingly, Apostolou’s tweets have gone down an absolute storm on Twitter, with hundreds of social media users chiming in to a) offer their congratulations, b) admit to feeling jealous that they haven’t managed to find their soulmate via a tweet, or c) coo extravagantly over this year’s digital love story.
this is the cutest thing i've seen today pic.twitter.com/1C0iVn5HHm— María Elba (@Elbaporlacresta) July 5, 2017
I love this so much I can't look directly at it— Kate Leaver (@kateileaver) July 5, 2017
You both deserve to win the Internet. 🍻👍❤️— Occasional tweeter. (@BillElevenZ) July 5, 2017
Congratulations to you both, people that I've never met and never will, but such a lovely, funny "how we met" story + very happy ending.— Vivienne (@Vivstwits) July 5, 2017
I AM SO HAPPY I AM REALLY SHOUTING ON THE INTERNET XXXXXXXX— Anna Rafferty (@raffers) July 5, 2017
It’s a firm reminder that friendships can be forged both online and IRL – and, while some may still claim it’s ‘weird’ to befriend someone you’ve never met before, experts are constantly reminding us that our relationships are no more or less authentic in either digital or non-digital space.
Sociologist Nathan Jurgenson, speaking with New Republic, dubs this “digital dualism”.
“We’re coming to terms with there being just one reality and digital is part of it, not any less real or true,” he said. “What you do online and what you do face-to-face are completely interwoven.”
And, writing about it in The New Inquiry, he added that this “digital dualism” could help us to come to terms with the fact that so much of our lives takes place online.
“We may never fully log off, but this in no way implies the loss of the face-to-face, the slow, the analog, the deep introspection, the long walks, or the subtle appreciation of life sans screen,” writes Jurgenson.
“We enjoy all of this more than ever before.”
Or, to put it more bluntly, love, actually, is all around. Even on the internet.