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.
“The Caitlins,” as they are lovingly known by friends, hit it off right away. When Caitlin Dabbs, a 28-year-old photographer, matched with 24-year-old actor/writer Caitlin Cimino on HER, a dating app for queer womxn, she thought the app had glitched and that she’d actually matched with herself. They were both shocked that, of all the possible ways to spell Caitlin, they’d matched with someone whose name was spelled exactly the same way. As fate would have it, they realized a name wasn't the only thing they had in common. Even though their first date started with each of them accidentally going to a different bar, now — eight months later — they're in love. Together, they run an adorable joint Instagram account — @_thecaitlins — support each other’s passions, and have learned what it takes to make their relationship work.
Here’s their story:
Which app did you meet on?
Caitlin Cimino: HER.
How long have you known each other?
Caitlin Dabbs: Eight months.
How long have you been dating?
CC: Six months.
Do you live together? Are you engaged? Do you have a pet you share? Any other relationship markers?
CC: No, but hopefully someday! We’d love to integrate our cats to be cat siblings.
What initially attracted you to each other’s profiles?
CC: Naturally, the first thing I noticed was that she had the exact same name as me, down to the spelling, which is really rare. I grew up with a handful of Caitlins, and yet none of them spelled it with a “C” and an “I.” And she’s super cute and cool-looking? It was all too much. I even remember thinking, “Imagine if we actually dated — having the same exact name, how would that ever work?” I thought, she’s gorgeous, so I’ll like her profile, but the odds of us actually working out are probably slim. Fast forward to now, a whole lot of love later, and I’ve definitely proved myself wrong on that one.
CD: I thought that she looked super f*cking cool, and our names were the same. I thought it would be so funny if we actually became serious. She definitely seemed like someone who didn’t want to try to be anything but herself. She just seemed so real.
Who sent the first message, and what was it?
CC: Caitlin sent the first message, but I sent the like! She messaged me shortly after I liked her, saying how she thought her profile had glitched because it told her she liked herself. I was like, wow, that’s an amazing first message. Of course, I had to reply, and for once, I was actually excited to do so.
CD: I sent the first message. It said, “At first I thought this app was glitching because we have the same name and I thought I liked myself.”
How long did you exchange messages or texts before your first date?
CD: We exchanged messages for about three weeks before our first date.
CC: We talked for a while before we actually met because I was very nervous to meet Caitlin. But the moment we began talking she gave off the best impression — she was so down to earth and easy to talk to. She was so patient with me and my stupid nerves. She didn’t care how long we texted. Whenever I felt comfortable and ready to meet, she told me we would meet.
What was your first date like?
CC: Oh, that’s a story. We planned to meet at this cute bar called Diamond Lil, but after a week or so of texting about our meetup, I began shortening the name to just Diamond. Of course, just our luck, there is another bar nearby called The Diamond. Caitlin went there while I sat in Diamond Lil waiting. She wasn’t texting me. I was terrified. I was like, “Could she really have stood me up?” We’d been talking so much about wanting to meet. It didn’t add up. Turns out she had given her phone to the bartender to charge and that’s why I hadn’t heard from her. She was expecting me to walk into The Diamond, not Diamond Lil. When we finally convened in the same place (a totally different bar called Birdy’s — we’d given up on all “Diamond” bars at that point), I was still incredibly nervous, as it’s just my nature. Caitlin was incredible. We talked about everything. I was so awkward, I couldn’t sit still. I could barely look her in the eyes. I left thinking my nerves bombed it. Turns out, she was into me after all.
CD: Our first date was at a bar in Brooklyn called Birdy’s and we just spoke non-stop about anything and everything. She was so nervous, but she was exactly how her photos looked, if not more gorgeous. And I remember her not making the most eye contact, but she let me be kind of close to her.
Describe the DTR (define the relationship) conversation.
CC: We basically knew pretty quickly that this would end up being a dating situation. We wanted to be together all the time. I was still nervous though, as per usual, but I still knew. We went to the beach on the Fourth of July (well, technically, it was the fifth of July) and I said to Caitlin, “Well, you haven’t actually asked me [to be your girlfriend],” and then, she did.
CD: We were at Rockaway Beach and we kind of danced around the conversation, and she kind of hinted that we weren’t official. I remember laughing, and then there was a very long pause. Then I remember saying, “Will you be my girlfriend?"
If you're Instagram official, what was your first photo together?
CC: We have a sick couples’ Instagram! @_thecaitlins. Our first photo is of us at NYC Pride 2019 in some colorful pastels.
CD: It’s still, to this very day, my favorite photo.
Describe the moment you first realized you were falling for them.
CD: I fell in love with Caitlin in so many moments. There could never be just one moment. I’ve been in love with her since the day I met her. It just took one hug and me getting to hold her for 0.5 seconds for me to know I didn’t want to ever let go.
CC: Well it’s never really one moment, is it? It’s a collection of a million little moments. From the moment we met and I could hardly sit still and thought I was a terrible disaster of a human and she was just so gorgeous (I even told her the next day she was Rihanna-level gorgeous) and interesting, to the moment the other day when she texted me out of nowhere, “I just wanted to tell you that you’re amazing and I love you.”
Who said “I love you” first?
CC: Surprisingly, even with my nerves, it was me. I was just bursting at the seams with something I’ve just never ever felt before. It was an indescribable feeling of [having] someone who truly understands you.
CD: She said “I love you” first, and I felt my heart explode... I even had to say, “Please make sure you know what you’re saying,” because I knew once I said it, there was no going back.
What was your first fight about?
CC: Yeahhhh, it had to do with my boobs.
CD: Our first fight was about how I didn’t like her boobs being commented on.
What's your favorite underrated thing about each other?
CC: I’m not sure if it’s underrated by everyone else in the world, but it’s certainly underrated by Caitlin. Her legs are so long! She looks great in everything for this reason. And she doesn’t see it! She doesn’t think they look long! It’s crazy.
CD: Her laugh when something’s really funny. It’s like a giant yelp before the big laugh.
What was the last thing you texted about?
CC: Meeting up for a drink.
How often do you text throughout the day?
CC: We’re pretty much always texting, even if it’s just a small check-in to see how each other’s days are going.
CD: Pretty much from morning to night.
Do you know if you are astrologically compatible? Do you care?
CC: There’s mixed reviews on Caps and Scorps. But it’s cool, we find ways to understand each other.
CD: I don’t care what astrology says.
Which TV show do you marathon together?
CC: Not so much TV shows, but we love settling in for a bad scary movie or two.
CD: We don’t really marathon, but when we do watch TV, it’s something funny.
What was your favorite date you’ve ever been on?
CC: We went away together upstate to her hometown to get away from the city for a weekend. It was amazing and just so peaceful. We rented a car and sang the whole way there. We sat on a mountain and listened to the stillness, we ate steak and scallops — it was so simple, but so perfect.
CD: For a while, our dates were always meeting at bars but never meeting at a restaurant and having dinner. We went on a date at this tequila bar and it was the first time we got to have a proper dinner date. It felt so official.
What's one word to describe your sex life?
CC: Spicy? Is that generic? Spicy.
Why do you think your relationship works?
CD: Honesty is a huge part of progress.
CC: I think we work, not because of fate or even love, but we work because we’ve taken the time to figure out our own personal relationship weaknesses and what we each need to improve upon in order to be a better partner for each other. We’ve pinpointed those things, and because we love each other, we’ve made a conscious decision to put in the work to become the person the other needs as their partner.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from each other?
CC: To not make assumptions about people. To give people chances. To allow myself to be pleasantly proven wrong.
CD: The biggest lesson I’ve learned is patience. I don’t think I was that patient with partners in the past. I don’t just mean patience with time, I mean patience in understanding — the journey of getting to know someone might show [you] things you’re not used to, and it doesn’t mean someone is more wrong or more right. Patience is about opening up a part of your mind that you never felt comfortable explaining. And I do believe patience and communication are really hard to execute for two people who have no pre-existing history, but it really is a lesson that equates to longevity.
What’s your best piece of advice for people on dating apps?
CC: I’d say talk from the very start about what it is you’re interested in. I’d say be open to letting love in, even if you’re incredibly nervous.
CD: My best advice for people on dating apps is to go with your gut. Don’t just recklessly like and respond to people you know you’re not interested in. Be open, but don’t force yourself out there if you’re not ready.