Elite Daily/Kelsey Cadenas + Sam Rullo & Joe Pierce

This Couple Met On Hinge & Went To New Orleans On Their Fifth Date

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.

After promising herself she’d never date someone with the same name as her ex and that she’d only swipe right on guys at least one year older than her, Sam Rullo matched with Joe Pierce on Hinge. (For the record: They're the same age and his first name is the same as her ex's.) Their first date included a rainy Shake Shack run and a "seamless" flow of conversation, and for their fifth date, they took a spontaneous trip to New Orleans where they confessed they weren’t seeing anyone else. A week later, they made their relationship official. In the year they’ve been together, they've realized how well they balance each other out and how “easy” their relationship has felt since the beginning. Joe loves how tough Sam is, and Sam admires how quickly Joe will go to bat for the people he loves.

Here’s their story:

Sam Rullo

Elite Daily/Kelsey Cadenas + Sam Rullo

Joe Pierce

Elite Daily/Kelsey Cadenas + Joe Pierce

Which app did you meet on?

Sam Rullo: Hinge

How long have you known each other?

Joe Pierce: One year

How long have you been dating?

SR: One year

Do you live together? Are you engaged? Do you have a pet you share? Any other relationship markers?

SR: We don't live together, but we recently celebrated our one-year anniversary! We've also done all of the smaller things, like meet each other's families and travel together.

What initially attracted you to each other’s profiles?

JP: She seemed quirky and cute.

SR: Besides just generally thinking Joe was cute, I liked that he had photos that showed personality and that he had a really cute video from his classroom. It showed that he actually likes his job and has fun with his students.

Who sent the first message, and what was it?

Courtesy Sam Rullo

SR: Joe did! I said I talk really fast on my profile, and he said he has a really low voice, so if we go out to dinner, the waiter wouldn't be able to understand us. I thought it was awkward in a sweet way.

How long did you exchange messages or texts before your first date?

JP: Couple days.

What was your first date like?

SR: It was really fun! We went to a bar and had a few drinks, and when we got hungry, we ran to a Shake Shack down the block because it was pouring rain. We had so much to talk about, we both kept stopping the other to say, "OMG, I have to tell you something about that after this, continue..."

JP: Conversation flowed seamlessly. She made me laugh and we got Shake Shack. Can't go wrong.

Describe the DTR (define the relationship) conversation.

SR: It happened over a few conversations. First, I told him I wasn't seeing anyone else in the airport on the way to New Orleans (did I mention for our fifth date we went on a four-day trip to New Orleans?), and he said the same. On the last night of our trip, I told him I was ready for it to be more official whenever he was, because previously, I’d been more hesitant, and he said he was glad but didn't want to rush too much. A week later, he said, "So, do you want to be my girlfriend?"

JP: Before we flew to New Orleans in a Grand Central Station bar, we both said we weren't talking to anyone else.

If you're Instagram official, what was your first photo together? Can you provide a link or screenshot?

SR: This is the first photo I posted on my feed of us, but I had posted us in Stories before that. Joe's first debut on my IG was a video of him eating crazy hot sauce in New Orleans, I just kept the context vague since we were only a month in.

Describe the moment you first realized you were falling for them.

SR: I think it was on our third date, which was the first time we spent a full 24 hours together. I remember we were sitting outside at brunch, just talking and laughing, and I couldn't stop smiling. It just felt right!

JP: When we were in New Orleans exploring together, I had such a fun time watching her smile with all the dumb stuff I said and did.

Who said “I love you” first?

SR: We both said it in different ways... I told him I was falling in love with him about six weeks in, and he worried we were rushing too much. But then about a week later, he said, "I love you."

JP: She did.

What was your first fight about?

SR: I don't remember the specifics, but he probably did something that annoyed me, I lost my patience and gave him an attitude, he called me out for being mean, and we both apologized.

JP: We fought about little random stuff, but honestly I remember being in shock more about fighting than remembering the fight.

What's your favorite underrated thing about each other?

JP: She is very tough. I love how she stands up for herself.

SR: I think Joe is an amazing friend to so many people, and I don't think he gets enough credit for that! He truly cares about his friends, makes sure to call them when they haven't spoken in a bit to catch up, and always checks in on anyone going through a hard time. It shows how caring and thoughtful he is.

What was the last thing you texted about?

JP: A picture of her doing a puzzle.

SR: This seems so mean but I swear it was a joke. We've been quarantining together [during the coronavirus outbreak] so I sent him a Bustle article with the headline "Help! I Want To Dump My Partner, But We're Self-Isolated Together" and then said, "Oh sorry wrong text." He thought it was funny, I swear!

How often do you text throughout the day?

SR: We always text each other good morning as we're heading to work, and then throughout the day, it's more sporadic, since we're both at work and he doesn't have his phone while he's teaching. But we send little updates, make any plans for later if we're seeing each other, stuff like that! Then after work, we're texting pretty frequently until bed.

JP: We talk most of the day.

Do you know if you are astrologically compatible? Do you care?

JP: No, and I don't really care, which she will find depressing.

SR: We are very compatible! I care in that I find it really interesting, and think astrology does say something about your personality, but I wouldn't have stopped seeing him or anything like that if it said we weren't compatible.

Which TV show do you marathon together?

SR: It can be tough to find something that we both enjoy, because I tend to watch darker dramas and true crime things, and they usually make Joe sad, so when we do find something, we get so excited. We marathoned Succession together after the second season, recently blew through Tiger King in two days, and often re-watch The Office and Schitt's Creek together before bed.

JP: Bar Rescue.

What was your favorite date you’ve ever been on?

JP: New Orleans as a fifth date.

SR: If our New Orleans trip can count, that, hands down. But for a more traditional date, last summer Joe planned a whole day of surprises and it was amazing. We started at a brunch place that had all my favorite things, and then saw the Mean Girls musical on Broadway! I couldn't believe how much effort he put into it, and we had so much fun.

What's one word to describe your sex life?

SR: Passionate.

JP: Emotional.

Why do you think your relationship works?

SR: I think our relationship works because we both genuinely care about each other's happiness, and each put in the effort to make the other feels loved, cared for, and happy. I think we also just work well together. We've always said our relationship has felt easy from day one, and I think it's just because for whatever reason, we just mesh well!

JP: We balance each other out. She helps me take things seriously and I help her take it easy a bit.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from each other?

SR: Joe has definitely taught me to worry less about what other people think, and be confident in every aspect of who I am. Also, how to cook a very good steak.

JP: I learned how much someone will do for someone else when they truly love each other.

What’s your best piece of advice for people on dating apps?

SR: Don't get too caught up in your own "rules" or parameters for people. I always said I would only date guys at least a year older than me, and Joe only came up for me because I had forgotten to raise my age minimum after my birthday. I also didn't want to date guys named Joe because of an ex, and had other small, superficial guidelines for myself that if I hadn't looked past, I wouldn't be with this amazing guy!

JP: You might actually find people who want something serious. Why not give it a shot?