Are you dying to know what a couple's relationship is really like? Elite Daily's series, ILYSM, celebrates couples who met on dating apps and dives into the inner workings of their relationships. How did they know they were falling for each other? Who sent the first awkward message? What's the one thing they fight about? Are they astrologically compatible, and do they care? By the end of each story, you'll love them both so much.
When Sara Jónsdóttir Santos swiped right on Mayo Santos in 2017, she wasn’t sure she’d have time for a relationship. Sara, now 29, was in the midst of launching Revol, an inclusive period underwear company born from her final project at fashion design school in Vancouver. The idea began as a mock brand she built for class — but when she was suddenly flooded with inquiries from potential customers, she had no choice but to get sewing.
The only issue? She lacked the marketing experience needed to push the product out the door.
After meeting for a breakfast-for-dinner first date at Denny’s where they mutually geeked out about Sara’s budding business, Mayo, 27, whose background is in sales, offered to accompany Sara to a small fashion showcase. She had been to a bunch of these events and had only ever managed to sell a couple hundred bucks worth of product. But after just one visit and a couple pointers from Mayo, Sara started pulling in nearly $1,000 a day.
At that point, she joked, “It was like, ‘OK, you're with me for life.’”
Since then, Sara and Mayo have been inseparable, both as romantic partners and colleagues: At Revol today, she’s in charge of production while he oversees branding.
“I heard of Revol for the first time [when we met], and I knew nothing about clothing or manufacturing or periods,” Mayo said. “But it was just seeing her passion and then seeing that she was taking this product, which solved such a big issue, and bringing it to the people who have those issues, I knew I wanted to be involved.”
“He's like the biggest cheerleader,” Sara said. “He’ll cheer anyone on, because he truly believes anyone can do anything. That was a really big thing when I was first starting the business. It was like, ‘I don't know what I'm doing.’ And he's like, ‘You can do this. Don't even sweat it, you've got this.’”
Even through the challenges of nurturing a new business and a new marriage — all, of course, through a pandemic — Mayo agreed with his wife. In his eyes, there’s nothing the two of them can’t accomplish together.
Here’s their story.
Passionate advocate, problem solver, out-of-the-box thinker.
Adventurous in a creative way, and I never see anything as impossible.
How long have you known each other?
Sara Jónsdóttir: We met in October 2017.
How long have you been dating?
SJS: Is that four years? Yeah. Four years.
Mayo Santos: Well, we're married now. We got married July 27, 2019.
Do you have a pet you share, or any other relationship markers?
MS: We have a matching tattoo.
SJS: We did it for our two-year anniversary. It's a little duck. I always botch the quote, but it's basically, like, ducks are so calm above water, but underneath their feet —
MS: Their legs are going crazy. So, that's just kind of how we are. To most people it might seem we’re kind of —
SJS: We're always so calm.
MS: We’re calm, but we're working so hard and pushing and driving underneath constantly. So, that's our thing.
What initially attracted you to each other’s profiles?
MS: She is really pretty. Her eyes are so blue. And then also the little “boss babe” comment in her bio. It was “boss babe and busy bee.'' I was really attracted to the fact that she said she was doing business. People have different preferences, but I really was attracted to [her] being driven because I'm really driven. So, it's not surprising that we're both Aries.
SJS: He had a lot of great photos, but he also had a bunch of the things that he was into. He was into working out. I think he said he was in his final year of university, where he’s a business major. And at that time, I was going on a bunch of dates, but I was only going on dates with people who aligned with me being driven or having similar things that I was into. And he was very forward with, like, these are the things I like, this is what I do for fun. And I was like, OK, cool. We definitely have lots in common there. And then I swiped right.
Who sent the first message, and what was it?
SJS: I think it was me. I remember it was ridiculously early in the morning. And then you were like, “Oh wow, you're awake at this hour.” I was getting up really early to go to the gym and I had messaged, “Hey, how are you?” Or something. It was probably something not that enticing.
MS: Right there, when she messaged really early, I was like, OK, this is someone who wants to get the most out of life. I [had] to meet her right away. So I was like, I want to take you to breakfast.
SJS: I'm very literal when it comes to text messages and communication. So, it was seven in the morning, [and] I was like, “I'm really busy. I have a bunch of work I have to do. So I can't go for breakfast right now. But you can take me for breakfast for dinner tonight.”
MS: I just [meant] breakfast at some point. It was like, I really want to meet you, but I don't want to be like, ”Let's see each other right now.” But that night is when we went to Denny's.
SJS: And that's why Denny's is now our forever date place.
How long did you exchange messages or texts before your first date?
MS: We talked a little bit more during the day, but we just immediately met and then it was texting, calling, meeting. And that was it. For me, in sales, body language and voice and whether you're making eye contact are the only ways I can fully know what the other person's thinking.
What was your first date like?
MS: It was actually pretty good. I got to Denny's first and then —
SJS: I'm always late.
MS: I think I was waiting for 10 minutes or something, and every car that would pull into the parking lot, I would kind of be looking.
SJS: We were both a little bit nervous at first. But it vibed very quickly, we were really into the same things. That was the first date I'd been on where someone actually asked me, “So how is your business growing? What's happening?” That was a really big thing for me. And then, I'm obviously a feminist, and at the end of the date, he's like, “Oh, let me pay.” I was like, “No, no, no. I'm going to pay for my meal. You pay for yours. If we continue or whatever, you can pay, but first meal, I always pay for myself.” At Denny's, you have to get up to go pay, and we get up, we're standing there, and I'm rifling through my purse. I realized I forgot my wallet at home.
MS: I was like, “OK, sure…”
Describe the DTR conversation.
SJS: We'd been dating for two months and [were] both going away for a whole month. I was going back to Iceland for Christmas. He was going to Calgary and working in the States for Christmas. And so when we didn’t have a conversation defining the relationship before we left, I just thought we broke up. We hadn't said we're together or we're not together, so I just thought we weren’t going to be together.
MS: I was like, I don't want to call this anything yet, but I'm not seeing anyone else.
SJS: I thought he wanted to keep things open and not label it or be exclusive. So I was like, cool, I'm not seeing anybody else, but I'm OK with that. I felt like we probably should define something because, like, are we going to talk during that month? Or are we not going to talk? We saw each other the day before we each left for break, and it was so brief and he was just like, “Cool, nice hanging out.” Like, yeah. All right. Peace. And then he left. And I just thought, OK, so, it's over. And because we were both traveling, there was a solid five days after where we didn't talk. So I was grieving.
MS: I can't speak to that last meeting because I don't actually remember it.
SJS: I remember it. Then a week went by, we were both in different places. And then he messaged me like, “Oh, I miss you so much.” I was like, really? What? And then when we came back, he was like, “Oh, I was calling you my girlfriend that whole time.” I was like, oh, OK, cool. And then basically just from there, we were together.
Describe the moment you first realized you were falling for them.
MS: On [a trip to Seattle], I couldn't stop thinking about her the whole time. I couldn't focus on my work. It was kind of surprising to me. Like, whoa.
Who said “I love you” first?
SJS: [Four months in,] we were doing something for Valentine's Day. I remember specifically trying to find a card that didn't say “love” on it, but feeling like I would like to give you a card that says “love” on it. But we [hadn’t] said that yet. And I didn’t want to push it or go too fast. The day we actually finally said it was March 14, exactly a month after Valentine's Day. We were on this crazy date he’d planned where he took me on a ride in one of those small airplanes.
MS: I had a friend who's getting his pilot's license and I paid him to pick us up and fly over this bridge. I just really wanted to do this for her. I also love dancing, and at the time I was really into swing dancing, so after [the plane ride] we went dancing.
SJS: I'm not that good at swing dancing but I was like, “For you, I'll try.” And with swing dancing, you switch partners. We were about to switch partners and then... It was like, “OK, I'm going to go over here and you go over there.” And then he was like, “OK, love you.” And let it slip.
MS: It came out my mouth and I was shocked.
SJS: He was in shock and I was like, “I love you, too.” And then we went and danced with other people right away.
What was your first Instagram together?
SJS: It was from the airplane date! It was a couple months in because we weren't really hiding it, but we just weren't really telling people per se. I think the people close to us knew.
What was your first fight about?
SJS: He was going away for the whole summer to work and I wasn’t going to see him for the whole summer. I [was] super disappointed. It wasn’t an ultimatum kind of situation, but I was like, “What do we do?” Because he had just come back from China [for a school program]. And we hadn't really seen much of each other. And my love language is quality time. So I was like, “I'm not getting what I need out of this relationship. I don't know how we can do this…” He ended up going, but for a shorter time.
MS: But now that we're so far into our relationship, we can go back to understand what we were both actually experiencing at that time. I had a lot of family stuff that I wasn't fully disclosing.
SJS: He was supporting his entire family. And so going out there and working for four months and making a lot of money made a lot of sense and I didn't really know that at the time.
What's your favorite underrated thing about each other?
MS: This sounds really weird, but she's really good at cooking, [even though she] hates cooking.
SJS: That's interesting!
MS: You’ve started dabbling recently in the pandemic and you’re really good.
SJS: The thing that’s most underrated about Mayo is he is so authentically himself. In no situation does he ever put on any façade. I'm a people pleaser, so for me, I'm like, “Uh, like, smile more, be nicer.” And then he's like, “No. Why would I?” And it's actually so refreshing.
What was the last thing you texted about?
SJS: Because we spend a lot of time together, our texting is usually just like in the warehouse, we're sending messages back and forth confirming like, “Hey, I'm placing this order.”
How often do you text throughout the day?
MS: We don’t really text that much.
Do you know if you are astrologically compatible? Do you care?
MS: I could see how two Aries who aren't as self-aware about their passions would clash.
SJS: I guess because we're trying to build a business, having a partner that is equally as driven and fiery in that area is so important. When we work late, we're working late together. We come in and sit, even in our big warehouse, and have dinner together. If [we had other partners who] weren't part of what we were doing, we would 100% not be very good partners.
Which TV show do you marathon together?
MS: We just finished the third season of You.
What was your favorite date you’ve ever been on?
SJS: We used to go dancing at this little neo soul jazz club before the pandemic. People were coming up to us like, "You're such a beautiful couple."
MS: That’s mine, too. Because just seeing her face... I love looking at her — the joy and the wonder and amazement.
What's one word to describe your sex life?
SJS: Aries passion.
MS: In sync since day one.
Why do you think your relationship works?
MS: Yeah, communication and passion.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from each other?
MS: Definitely to be more compassionate. I've just gone through stuff with my family and in life. And I feel like to some extent I have a little bit of a harder heart than I would want. But just seeing her compassion towards me has helped me grow.
SJS: Mine would definitely be the opposite — that is, to learn to cut away, allow things to end, and to move on. It's OK to grow out of friendships and relationships. It's OK to set boundaries with people. I did not have that before at all.
What’s your best piece of advice for people on dating apps?
SJS: I would set some standards so that if they don't fit, you don't swipe.
MS: Ask yourself: What's my goal? What's the point of being here? What's the point of swiping and talking with these people? Move it off the app as [soon as possible]. You don’t want to be in a text relationship for the rest of your life.