Meredith & Caleb
Photography by Jacob Pritchard
Recently engaged and living in Brooklyn with their two dogs, Meredith is a photographer, and Caleb works in social media, and knows movies, music, comedy and basketball, really well.
TWP: How did you two meet?
Caleb: I think I was on Tinder for too long and Meredith was on Tinder for too short. I think my headspace was more "always open to things" at that point.
Meredith: He was "slutting it up" for a while.
Caleb: Yeah that's a good way to put it. And then I was like ... I need to quit doing that.
Meredith: I was fresh out of a relationship, a five year relationship and Caleb was my second date on Tinder. I had two dates in one day, he was the second date.
TWP: What was it like going into the date?
Meredith: The first date was earlier that day and I think I got pretty drunk, I was very nervous. I was like ah, I've never been on a date with a stranger. But with Caleb, it wasn't awkward, and I felt comfortable. We immediately clicked.
Caleb: Oh yeah we bonded.
Meredith: I was very much wasn't looking for a boyfriend, and if I was, it would have to be someone who met a lot of requirements because I had gone through couples therapy and personal therapy. I was not getting into another relationship unless this person meets xy and z. I was very much in the zone of, if I want to text someone, I'm not going to play games and if he's playing games he's not the right person for me.I was very much like take it or leave it.
Caleb: I was done playing games.
Meredith: Caleb was early to every date and that was really important to me. He communicated well. Or I felt comfortable communicating with him at least, that's half the battle I think with communication, at least one person has to ask the questions and the other has to be open to answering them.
TWP: How did you go from Tinder to okay we're dating?
Caleb: We were pretty open about it. I told her when I quit Tinder. And I think she did and I was like okay, cool. Just take it slow.
Meredith: It got to a point where he was meeting all these expectations of mine and I thought, why should I keep trying to find people online when there's someone right here that is working out great and I'm having fun with? Eventually that transitioned to I'm not looking for anyone else and we're spending a lot of time together. He actually gave me a mix every week, every Sunday. And eventually I was like this is too much music, I can't listen to it all. I remember my friend Jen who I've known, since I was 18 was like this guy just seems too perfect. Like what? He's making you mixes? I was like well this is too good why would I try to go on another date with a guy that could potentially be an asshole when I've got this sweetie pie right here. Also I was attracted to him immediately too.
It got to a point where he was meeting all these expectations of mine and I thought, why should I keep trying to find people online when there's someone right here that is working out great and I'm having fun with?
Meredith: It will be our four year anniversary this year. We moved in together after eight months.
TWP: Was it a good easy meshing?
Meredith: It was actually. We both have these kind of cantankerous dogs that are a little bit difficult. I've had Mouse for 11 years, and in the past I've gone on a couple dates with guys and they would say I spoil her or they didn't understand why I couldn't go out of town or spend the night or something like that and it was really nice to meet someone where we kind of understood each other's pain.
Caleb: "Oh your dog's an asshole too?"
Meredith: These little dogs we love but also make our life a living hell. I remember when I first met Brochure I was like oh man eventually I might have to live with this dog too.
Caleb: I love Mouse really.
Meredith: Dog hair is a big part of our relationship. I also think that I kind of look like Mouse and Caleb looks like Brochure.
TWP: Can you talk about letting each other be who you are?
Caleb: We let our freak flags fly. Yeah I mean the dogs really helped with that too 'cause dogs are a vehicle for everything in our relationship. But yeah we do dog voices, we talk as our dogs and have conversations as our dogs with each other.
Meredith: Yeah we do their voices. And we'll have whole conversations with our dogs where we're doing their voices too and them sometimes it gets into like a ... Mousey has a very bitchy personality so she'll say something offensive. That's just one example of our nerdiness.
Caleb: I don't have a good singing voice but Meredith lets me sing and all that. We're both pretty weird.
Meredith: I feel like for me, I was thinking, I wanna hang out with someone who's just a successful designer, someone who cared about furniture, etc. but then I realized later one day when we were walking on the street, I felt free to say whatever I was thinking and do whatever I wanted and be silly. He's a weirdo and I'm a weirdo and there's no reason for us to have this façade of coolness in front of each other. Whereas I definitely have had those times with guys where the nerdy teenager comes out in me where I'm like I don't want them to think I'm not cool, you know? In the end I just want to be a goofy nerdy person and have people to like me for that.
Caleb: There's big things you notice that everyone notices, and then the people you do relate to look at the same weird stuff like "Oh yeah did you see that thing about ..." or notice "Oh look there's a balloon or a weird tree that looks like this". You just find those weird things that amuse each other. There's so much detail about a city.
He's a weirdo and I'm a weirdo and there's no reason for us to have this façade of coolness in front of each other.
Meredith: It's interesting because I met Caleb at a point where I finally was starting to be successful. I had money for the first time in my life. In every other relationship in my life I was deeply struggling. I felt like such a boss when I met Caleb. He’s been so supportive when I travel all the time and he takes care of the dogs and he's always very proud of me when I do something and there's no complaint. I mean obviously he misses me and I miss him and I'm guessing it's harder for him to be here when I'm traveling and hanging out with other friends in other places. But at the same time he has never once made me feel bad about having to go and work and, I think that is really important. That would suck if I was a freelance photographer and I felt guilty all the time for leaving. It's definitely been nice being in a relationship where I feel really comfortable with myself as well. I don't know how to say it, but I think in the past my struggles with my work have affected my relationships. Money is obviously something that can cause a lot of stress in relationships and that's been taken away so it's allowed me to relax a lot more.
Caleb: For Meredith to be successful she has to be her job. I'm not going to let her not be her job. I support her as much as I can.
Meredith: We're kind of set up in a way, and I'm fine with it, where he is always the one who buys movie tickets and books us in at comedy shows and music shows, he's like "Put this in your calendar I bought tickets to this" so I never really have to seek cultural stuff out. And then I guess I just do more of the social planning like "We're getting drinks with these people”.
Meredith: I actually texted him I loved him for the first time. I was at a wedding in Bermuda and it was maybe two months after we started dating and it was the first time we had spent a long time apart. I was really missing him and I was pretty drunk, I think I broke my beer record that night, like 12 beers in one night, and I was like I really miss him, this feels like love, I don't really miss people like this. I was like I wish I could talk to him right now.
Caleb: Then you texted, then you called.
Meredith: Well yeah I was like fuck it I'm going to text him that I love him. Which at the time I was like is that weird? But it's fine. It was a foreign country so I was worried about minutes for the phone call.
Caleb: I remember I was in the subway and it was on a bridge on the outside part and then it came through and then I was like "oh Meredith!", and I got really excited because I hadn't seen her in a while. And we had a call in that two minute window when the subway was outside. I remember what song I was listening to, it was Grips song, “Big Dipper.”
TWP: So you pick up the phone on the subway, what were you thinking?
Caleb: Well she texted me, I was like oh my gosh, I want to say that back right away. I don't want to leave that hanging in the air.
Meredith: I got it back immediately and I was like oh thank god.
TWP: How far into the future do you plan? How much do you guys talk about, this is where we're at, this is where we want to be?
Caleb: Not crazy far.
Meredith: We've talked about marriage.
Caleb: That's on the table.
TWP: How did you bring that up?
Meredith: I brought it up. I think when we first started dating ... and Caleb's been married before.
Caleb: I got married too young and divorced young.
Meredith: He was very nervous telling me this. It was on a subway one night.
Caleb: It’s always been a weird thing every time I approached the subject. I was pretty up front about it.
Meredith: He thought I was going to be upset about it. I guess some girls would worry that he didn't want to get married again or that he was like “damaged goods”.
Caleb: I cared about her opinion on this.
Meredith: I was like I don't care that you've been married. But I did say "Does that mean you don't want to get married again?" I wanted to know off the bat if that was his mentality.
Caleb: I said I would.
Meredith: I brought it up last summer. I felt like all of my good friends were getting married and I had been to so many weddings. At a certain point I realized, I do want to get married to you. So we talked about it and I said I don't want to have a wedding because it's too much and I know it would stress me out, but I do want to get married.
Caleb: I always wanted to do a Vegas kind of wedding.
Meredith: I think in the end one of the things that stresses me out is family stuff, and who do you invite? Who do you cut? I don't want to deal with that. I feel like I have a lot of friends and I don't want to have to edit people. I just want us to do it together and not worry about it.
Caleb: We're just going to throw a party afterwards.
Meredith: And I actually said he had to propose. I was like you're not getting off easy by me bringing it up, you actually have to propose to me.
Caleb: I feel like since I was married before that I should have a changed opinion about it, but our views on marriage are always evolving and changing. It's always informed by your friends getting married or just seeing other people that you know and respect who are married. You learn that it's all about your partner. I love Meredith so I have a good opinion on marriage based on Meredith.
Meredith: For me I've gone back and forth. I have wanted to get married as another level of commitment. I've talked to people about this and people who don't believe in marriage are like "That's bullshit. That doesn't make a difference" but in my mind when you have a boyfriend you can break up and just move on. And when you're saying you want to get married it's a legally bound thing— and obviously people break up even when you're married— but it's a whole next level of like I'm committing to you, I don't plan on breaking up with you, I actually want to be with you for a long time. Maybe not forever but in my foreseeable future I'm happy in this relationship and let's make it official. And it's just something about saying "my husband" and not "my boyfriend" I don't know it's just better.
I love Meredith so I have a good opinion on marriage based on Meredith.
Caleb: I mean there's always a level of intimacy in being open and communicative.
Meredith: I remember on one of our early dates we were talking and at one point I had said something that made Caleb visually shut down during our meal. I didn't know what it was. And I was coming out of a relationship where we didn't communicate at all. And I got up and went to the bathroom and when I came back I'm like I’m just gonna ask him. "Did I say something to upset you? I feel like something's wrong."
Caleb: What was it? I forget.
Meredith: I said something about hanging out with friends and didn't invite him and he so he thought I didn't want him to meet my friends. And he answered the question right away and I was like okay, this could work because we had this issue and it was resolved immediately. I was like "That's not what I meant at all." And then I was like this is amazing. We had a problem and it was solved immediately. I think later on we've had other situations where it took a little bit longer to get out what was wrong but I felt for me that was such a victory where I said something and then I tackled it right away instead of waiting for days or just not talking about it all night and having a horrible night and I felt like this is the type of relationship I want to be in where we squash problems when they occur.
TWP: Other advice for successful happy, healthy relationships?
Caleb: Talk about going to the bathroom. That's a very fun intimate thing ... everyone does it. And you get to know each other's schedule in that way.
Meredith: Once you get to that level you're like okay I feel really comfortable with this person. There's a vanity there. I feel like communication for me is really important. I think communication's number one.
TWP: How much is it expecting someone to know versus telling the other person what you think you need?
Meredith: Oh always tell them.
Caleb: For me you have to tell me. When she tells me I'm like oh cool. Cause then you find out what annoys them and try to cut that out.
Meredith: He has a harder time sometimes telling me when I've done something wrong but I can always tell when he's mad at me.
Caleb: That's true.
Meredith: What do you say? You always say "What I think isn't important" and that drives me crazy because I'm like just tell me and then I won't do it again. I don't want to be hurting you all the time. If you just tell me right away then it's done and I'll be more mindful of it.
TWP: Favorite things about each other?
Caleb: Meredith has a social aspect that I have never really had before. I only have like four friends, I like to keep a close circle. But she has this way of making everyone feel welcome and I can just, not latch onto that but I'm like oh cool this is ... everyone's feeling this way, I can feel this way. We went to a party the other day I was like oh cool I know all these people through Meredith and I can just be happy and be at a party and be extrovert instead of introvert, I can flip flop between the two.
Meredith: That was one of the first things I noticed, I went out of town and he went to one of my friends things without me and I was like that's really cool.
Caleb: She just makes me comfortable around people.
Meredith: That made me really happy because my friends are important and he made an effort. With Caleb, my favorite thing is that he's weird, and I appreciate that. He has good style. Sometimes I'm like this is a little much but I prefer that to someone who doesn't care at all. He's loyal, and he's a good dog dad, and he's really supportive. I think those things are important. And he also listens to me. He takes my advice sometimes and I feel like that's really important, too, where I never feel like “if I say this he's gonna think I'm being a mom” or whatever. We rarely fight. It's really been pretty easy.
TWP: Do you ever feel that kind of oh shoot, we're really happy is something wrong?
Caleb: No. I feel like there's always the yin and yang, there's the happiness that balances the stress level stuff and we have the happiness in each other.
Meredith: We have minor things. Like even yesterday I don't know why I was stressed but I was being really cranky and I was like sorry I'm being cranky I'm just stressed and I don't know why. And then that was it.
Caleb: She just needed to take a nap.
Meredith: Maybe, I take a lot of naps. He's supportive of my naps, that's also true.
Caleb: That's when I watch basketball.
TWP: I love you guys so much. And your home.
Meredith: I try. It's hard, it's ever evolving too. I think this table was the final purchase where I was like all right I don't really feel like I need to get anything else now. Eventually we'll probably replace that couch with something less dog fur attractive.
He's loyal, and he's a good dog dad, and he's really supportive.