Dr. Jennifer Ross had only been on one date before meeting Tyler LeFevre in April 2014 while she was in veterinary school at Colorado State University. She had always been career-focused and had little time for romance.
But she did have time for anime, which is what she was watching when she met Mr. LeFevre on the chat site Chatango. Using aliases, the two began communicating online. After a while they moved to a private chat room.
“Out of everybody I was talking to, she was easily the kindest person,” said Mr. LeFevre, now 29 and a chef in Portland, Ore.
Trust and kindness were big issues for Mr. LeFevre, who said he grew up in a “really violent setting” in Portland and spent almost four years in a youth correction facility. He struggled with drugs and alcohol but got clean in 2006. Still, he wasn’t interested in a relationship.
“I was like, ‘I’m a criminal’ and tried to get her to leave me alone,” he said. “She made it hard not to end up talking to her more. I didn’t feel like I had to hide who I was.”
Dr. Ross, now 29 and currently doing volunteer veterinary work in Portland, also enjoyed their rapport. “He was honest with me from Day 1,” she said. “He told me the day we met the whole truth about himself, so there was nothing hidden.”
They discovered that they both loved anime and science fiction. She said she was especially happy when she asked him what color the sky was and he gave a “scientific answer about auto refraction of light and the absence of color instead of it being blue.”
They chatted online for about a month, then moved to Skype. In late December 2014 she flew to Portland so they could meet in person. He picked her up at the airport and they dropped her bags off at her hotel. Then he squired her to his favorite spots around town.
She was so nervous that she couldn’t speak for the first 12 hours. “He thought it was hilarious,” she said. “I was just in such shock mode. He just kept teasing me until I started talking to him back.”
Over the next few days, they visited the Saturday market, Portland City Grill Restaurant, Powell’s Bookstore, and the top of KOIN Tower, with 360-degree views of the city. This was where he asked her to be his girlfriend and they shared their first kiss.
She met his parents, Troy and Melinda LeFevre, and he met her older brother, Brad Ross, who “happened” to be visiting friends in Portland that same weekend. (He was really there to check out this stranger his sister was visiting.) “My brother quizzed him and then loved him,” Dr. Ross said.
The couple continued long distance for the next few years, until she finished school and moved to Oregon after graduation in 2015.
“Going through vet school is emotionally and physically draining,” she said. “He was so supportive and wonderful.”
He proposed on June 3, 2019, in the Fantasy section of Powell’s Bookstore, and they chose May 10, 2020 as their wedding date because she liked the symmetry. “Five times two is 10, and 10 times two is 20,” she said.
They married that day at Portland’s White House, a bed-and-breakfast that had a special wedding package, including a four-day stay. Because of the coronavirus, they were the only guests and had full run of the place.
Mr. LeFevre’s aunt, Trish Cowman, who became a Universal Life minister, officiated, with six other friends in attendance. About 200 others watched via Zoom, including her parents Jere and Ann Ross of San Francisco.
“I don’t think I could have found a better person for me,” Mr. LeFevre said. “She’s the reason why I’m successful at this point. She pushed me to learn to drive. She pushed me to start a profession rather than a job. If I hadn’t met Jen, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today because I’d still be hiding who I used to be.”