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A woman can propose to a man any day of the year, as it turns out, but European tradition says that Feb. 29—“leap day”—is the best day for a woman to pop the question. Since this extra day only comes around every four years, many women find themselves seizing the moment—even if they’re miles away from their love.
Merete, 36, hails from Copenhagen, Denmark. She met Bradley on Reddit after the Brit posted a personal ad on the subreddit r/introvert_connection. It’s designed for shy people looking to connect, and at the time, Merete wasn’t necessarily looking for a partner. But then she saw Bradley’s ad. “He wrote a lovely ad which I replied to out of curiosity,” Merete told the Daily Dot via email.
For the first few months of the relationship, they corresponded via email and text, until eventually the two introverts connected via video chat on Skype. “I initially liked his creativity, his fantastic writing skills and his desire to learn,” Merete said of what drew her to a man she’d never actually met. “He always had an uncanny ability to make me feel like writing with me was the most important thing on his mind. I was very flattered of course.”
Once they were comfortable enough, Merete agreed to travel to England so they could get out from behind their computers and see each other in the flesh for the first time. They met at a train station, and after what she describes as “a few awkward hours in the town,” the pair went off to a cottage Bradley has rented.
“Basically I broke all the safety rules,” Merete admits. After all, recent statistics from the U.K. show a startling number of sexual assaults on first online dates. But she felt safe with him after months of corresponding, and went for it. “The first hug was amazing, physical contact after getting to know each other so intimately online was electric.”
After seeing each other in real life a handful of times, she knew Bradley was the one, and despite the fact that marriage is not on the immediate horizon (maybe not even for 10 years, according to Merete’s original Reddit post), she decided this leap day would be the day she asked Bradley to get married.
“He’ll do or say things for no reason that makes me feel so special,” she said. “I wanted to show him how deep my love for him is and that I am totally committed to our relationship. It was important for me that I got to do this for him.”
According to certain countries, there is a penalty to the woman if the man rejects her proposal. In Denmark, Merete learned growing up that the woman would be fined 12 pairs of gloves. Luckily, a penalty was not a necessary consideration.
“I said ‘Love of my life, will you marry me within the next decade?’” and he immediately said “YES!”
Bradley had a feeling it was coming, since she has inquired about a ring. “I had indicated that I would wake him early before work and pop the question then. Instead I asked him at the stroke of midnight.”
When and where they’ll live or when and where they’ll be wed is still to be determined. But for now, Merete’s big leap paid off.
Photo via Prayitno/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Marisa Kabas is a lifestyle reporter and activist. Her work has been published by Fusion, Fast Company, and Today. She’s also served as an editorial campaigns director for Purpose PBC, a social movement incubator.