Jevon hoped a mutual friend would arrange an introduction outside the din of the dance floor. But Cydney had a boyfriend, and although that rocky relationship was about to fall apart, the friend didn’t want to overstep. The night ended with nothing more than eye contact.
It took a few more weeks — and an official breakup of her other relationship — before the friend finally sent Cydney, then 26, an e-mail with a link to Jevon’s MySpace page. “I just kind of went for it,” she says.
When a message from her appeared out of the blue, he was intrigued, and he responded by sending her a few different phone numbers and e-mail addresses. “I gave her every possible way to reach me. She was the pitcher, she threw it over the plate, so I was going to swing,” he says with a laugh.
His MySpace profile had said he harbored “a weakness for women.” She initially took it as the kind of flirtatious comment any 27-year-old guy might make. But Jevon was actually referring to two specific ladies — his young daughters, ages 6 and 1, who had him wrapped around their little fingers. He told her about them, and about the rest of his close-knit family, his interests and goals and everything else, in long phone conversations. That he was a parent didn’t dissuade Cydney. “I knew it would make my life more complicated, but I could deal with complicated,” she says.
After their wordless meeting and voiceless online messages, they noticed a special bond forming during these lengthy talks. “He was so forthcoming, really committed to his family obligations,” Cydney recalls. “For me, that was the best part, feeling that I found someone I really liked as a person who I shared a value system with.”
Every few weeks, one would brave the trek between Washington and North Carolina to visit the other. Each time they were together felt like further acknowledgment that something real, something serious, was developing. Their visits were often spent doing mundane activities — running errands together, watching college sports on TV — but the time together was precious. “We call it the bubble, and we still try to do this, where it’s just us,” Cydney says. “Having that really protected time where it’s really committed and you’re tuned in.”
Jevon was smitten with her driven, outgoing personality and sense of humor. It wasn’t long before he told her this felt like love; by December of that year, as they spent their last Christmas apart, he sent a text message: “I’m going to marry you one day.” He introduced her to his daughters, Alexis and Kellen. Because both Jevon’s parents and his daughters’ mother’s parents are still married, Cydney found she could be a resource for the girls on navigating the waters of non-nuclear families. “I had stepparents, so I’m super conscious of integrating new people into a child’s life and making sure they’re going to stick around,” she says.