It was the summer of 2014. July 3rd to be exact. I remember because Corinne and I woke up late for our respective Fourth of July parties, hungover and disoriented from our date the night before. It was our first date. She had never been with a girl before, and I considered myself heteroflexible. But something about her profile piqued my interest. I ended up writing about our first date in a story that was shared over 100,000 times before I realized the role Corinne would play in my life.

After that fun, sweet, tipsy first date, I reflected on connecting and going on a date with with Corinne. We had joked that we would make great friends, which is the energy of our relationship always had — that of deep, profound friendship. The next day, Corinne came out as queer to her coworkers and almost immediately started dating a girl she worked with. Nearly as quickly, I became exclusive with a guy I had been seeing. Focused on our respective partners, Corinne and I chalked up our experience to a one-time thing and didn’t speak for a year. But neither of our new relationships were forever, and as fate would have it, about a year later we both found ourselves single, only to match on an app for a second time. We immediately made plans to meet up again.

Our second date was a late-night meetup at a karaoke bar that led to sex. Once again, I was mesmerized by Corinne’s magic, but we both still felt an undercurrent of friendship. Our encounter helped me see that my identity as heteroflexible was shifting more toward exclusively straight, not because of anything she did, but because after years of self-reflection, I was finally being honest with myself. Corinne was actually the last girl I slept with, and ironically, I was her first. I knew if I was ever going to fall in love with a woman, it would have been her. But from night one, she just felt like my best friend.

Corinne became one of the greatest teachers of my life. She has, in the years since that second date, been my best friend. We never had a conversation about whether we would continue to be physical or see each other romantically. We both just knew. We went from our second date to hanging out regularly within a week. Less than a month later, we were together almost all the time. Yes, there were a few times we wound up drunkenly kissing, but that stopped as soon as she met a girl she really liked. In general, I am very touchy-feely with my friends, and Corinne and I still enjoy a good snuggle.

We’ve gone to music festivals together, met each other’s families, and supported each other through pain. Corinne accompanied me to a medical appointment two weeks ago and held my hand during the procedure. She came home with me that day and took care of me while I was on medication. Our friend groups have merged into one. We’ve traveled, changed jobs, changed relationships, and have been constant for each other through it all. She’s one of the funniest, kindest, and most ardently loyal people I have ever met. I believe our relationship is what it was destined to be from the night I walked up to her at the bar five years ago, already mesmerized by her magnetism. We were meant to be in each other’s lives. Tinder was just how we found each other.

Any time I get exasperated with online dating, I remember that it brought me one of the most important relationships of my life. Things may not always be what they seem, but in this case, that translated to a beautiful, trusting, compassionate, incredible best friendship. Corinne, you are the match of a lifetime.