The Heart Beat The Heart Beat blog

True love stories: Couple falls in love on Instagram

A picture perfect digital romance that bridges 2,500 miles.

By Kristin Wong Mar 22, 2013 7:29PM

"What's up?"

Those were the simple first words exchanged between Matt Fleming and Robin Coe, a couple who fell in love over Instagram, the popular photo sharing app. 

Matt and Robin followed each other on Instagram and occasionally commented on each other's photos, but there was one particular pic responsible for igniting their romance. 

Photo: Robinmay via InstagramMore on MSN Living: GQ's foolproof guide to online dating

It was 2011, and Robin had posted a photo of someone walking a dog through Toronto's cold, wintery landscape. Matt saw this, and it reminded him of his childhood, having grown up in the blustery Midwest. Among her 279,000 followers, Matt finally asked Robin to message him. 

"What's up?" she replied. This prompted Matt to send her an eight-paragraph email about himself and his childhood. 

"He was just so endearing and sincere. I could feel the warmth in his words," Robin, 34, told The Heart Beat. "I'd long been struggling to find my place on this earth, and despite the differences in our individual circumstances, I could relate to every single word. I didn't hesitate to write back."

More on MSN Living: Men reveal 7 biggest first date complaints

Soon enough, the two were regularly emailing while still continuing to view and comment on each other's photos.  In a January 2012 email, Matt, made a bold move: 

"If you want to reach my voice, this is how you get it." 

To say they hit it off would be an understatement. One Skype call between the pair lasted 13 hours—they stayed up all night and finally hung up at 6 a.m. They found themselves in the middle of a full-fledged long distance relationship—Robin was in Toronto and Matt lived in Oakland, Calif. 

On April 24, 2012, the couple finally met in person, The Star reports. Robin captured a photo of Matt upon first seeing him face-to-face. She says it's an odd feeling to see someone for the first time when they simultaneously seem so familiar.

"I couldn't even make eye contact with him. I'm not exaggerating," Robin told us. "For at least an hour, I couldn't look him in the eyes for more than a second or two. I was a flustered, giddy mess."

Since then, the couple has shared their blossoming romance through photos. Earlier this week, for example, Robin posted a photo of a gift from Matt—an illustration of her dog, Gracie. Looking forward to an upcoming trip, she captioned the pic: 

"Have I mentioned lately that long-distance love is like holding your breath, chin tilted up towards a surface that is 36 days away?" 

They say love happens when you least expect it, and that was definitely the case for Robin:

"I was at the end of a five-year-relationship...I was fully immersed in the process of getting comfortable just being on my own. I was happier than I'd been in probably a decade. And, honestly, I think that's why we found each other. I finally had room in my life to let in a little light."
Her tip for maintaining long distance love? 
"We do our best to have our next visit planned before we say goodbye. Those goodbyes are excruciating, and having something concrete to look forward to can ease the pain a bit."
She adds that honesty and communication fuel their relationship, as does not sweating the small stuff. "We're in it together, and we remind each of that every single day," she says.

Here's wishing Robin and Matt the very best in their digital-turned-real-life romance.

More from The Heart Beat:
Controversial dating site illegal in some U.S. cities
A school that teaches wives to be mistresses
China's 'fake-marriage market' a growing trend

Subscribe to The Heart Beat

Love content like this? Friend us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and find us on Pinterest.   

Photo: Robinmay via Instagram

Mar 24, 2013 11:05PM
Not to rain on their parade or anything but my husband and I met 4 years ago while being randomly paired up playing Farkle on Facebook. He is from Scotland and I from Missouri. We chatted, messaged, and skyped for 6 months before deciding to meet. The rest as they say is history. We are still in the process of getting him to the US after being married for almost 2 years. This couple knows nothing of distance. Try being apart for a year after you get married to deal with visa paperwork and then tell me you are still in love. Someone should write a story about us and the battle we are going through with immigration. I do hope this couple lasts but it is hard for me to sympathize with them when I know what a true long distance relationship is.
Mar 24, 2013 3:46PM
two of my IG friends met and got married because of Instagram.  Someone should write an article about them....  @itisjoy & @rayray74
Mar 24, 2013 3:25PM
I was 54 she was 57.... a friend set us up as a blind date...this May will be 23 years  for us. Blind dates do work, at least for us. Love is truly a many splendored thing!
Mar 24, 2013 2:04PM
Finding true love is amazing even if it is built off an online relationship.  Wish I could find my true love.  All I ever get are boys (they aren't worthy enough to be called men because of their mentality) who aren't worth the dirt on the ground.  Good luck to you both!
Mar 24, 2013 9:32AM

He drew a portrait of her dog? So I'm guessing she doesn't know he's Gay yet? Totally kidding...Interesting, she alluded to just ending a 5 year relationship, and she expounded she'd been unhappy for the last ten years...wow. Pretty sure I'd be hesitant to get involved with someone who's been unhappy for a decade. I'm a "glass-is-half-full" sort of cat and I don't think I'd dive headlong into a relationship with someone who's natural disposition is one of discontentment. By the photo, she's 32 or so, basically she hasn't been happy since college or one-third of her life...wow, the sequel. Also noted she said she felt ready to "let in a little light", that describes her as a person who's cut themselves off from the world at large, she's got a third of a million followers on Instagram...someone's not being entirely honest about themselves. Grandma told me "don't listen to what people say, watch where their feet take them"

Mar 24, 2013 8:14AM
13 hr Skype marathon.. go to WalMart, get a goldfish. 
Mar 24, 2013 3:20AM
Such an amazing story! My husband and I met in a similar circumstance online via a social networking site back in August 2010. It started with just a message from him saying something simple I can't even remember now! Turns out he lived in London and I lived in southern California. To be honest, I don't think either of us thought anyone of it at the time, but messaging turned into emails, which then turned into hours upon hours of Skype calls. We met for the first time in person in October 2010 and, as they say, the rest is history. We were lucky enough to be able to plan trips to see each other every 8 weeks or so and my job (as a teacher) allowed me to spend ALL my breaks in the UK. Needless to say, we were married in April 2012, and he applied for his US visa which was approved in October 2012 and we've been living happily ever after ever since! I just love hearing stories of online relationships and long distance relationships that have happy endings like mine! Just warms your heart :)
Mar 24, 2013 2:43AM

Well, you told how old she is, but how old is he?


Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?

love: friendships, dating, sex & marriage

  • Sign placement/"10 Most Outrageous Wedding Photos"/Photo: Brooke Aliceon Photography

    10 outrageous wedding photos

    The typical wedding: A white dress, tiered cake, floral centerpieces and a cute flower girl -- you know the drill. Every once in a while, though, a couple trades in tradition for a quirky, never-seen-that-before idea. Here are a few of the most out-there wedding photos that made us do a double take.

  • Hot wedding trends for fall

    9 hot wedding trends for fall

    There's a lot to love about weddings this fall, like cocktails served in copper Moscow mule mugs, industrial-inspired lighting and pheasant feather details. See what's new!

  • Monique Pean Mineraux diamond and rose gold ring, $3,400; barneys.com

    Why single ladies are rocking a wedding ring

    Do you have to be engaged to sport a ring with bling?

  • ​KIVILCIM PINAR, Getty Images //  ​KIVILCIM PINAR, Getty Images (​KIVILCIM PINAR, Getty Images)

    Majority of Americans are single

    124.6 million haven't gotten hitched.

  • least expensive places to get married

    These are the 25 least expensive places to get married in America

    Even though the national average wedding is $29,858, that’s just an average. If you live in a smaller state like Idaho where the average wedding costs $16,159, you may find yourself saving a little more than half of the national spend! Check out some of the other least expensive cities to get married in below:

  • M Swiet Productions, Getty Images // M Swiet Productions, Getty Images (M Swiet Productions, Getty Images)

    Americans have nostalgia for summer romance

    Summer is winding down, but the ubiquitous summer romance lives on.

  • 8 signs it's time to break up

    8 signs it’s definitely time to break up

    For those times when nothing big and horrible happened--but nothing is feeling right either.

  • Actor/"Why we love an older man"/Photo: Shutterstock

    Reasons why we love an older man

    He’s confident, distinguished and anywhere from 4 to 20 years older than you. Age is just a number, but there’s something about older men that we love. Here are eight reasons why being in a relationship with an older man is tops.

  • Actor/"Why we love a younger man"/Photo: Shutterstock

    Reasons why we love a younger man

    While a younger man may have less life experience, that doesn’t mean he’s not emotionally mature. Here are the eight reasons why being in a relationship with a younger man is tops.

  • Other woman (Courtesy YourTango)

    5 reasons the other woman slept with your man

    Have you ever wondered what the 'other woman' was thinking?

  • Apple picking

    6 fun fall date ideas

    So fall is coming and you need some romantic inspiration now that long walks on the beach are out of the question. Well look no further! From apple picking to pumpkin carving, these are some great fall date ideas from girls just like you!

  • Go to a theme park

    8 cute celeb date ideas

    Getting bored of the same dinner and movie date night? Take an adorable cue from your favorite celebs and try something new! From dancing to boxing you can't go wrong with these awesome date ideas.

buzzing now on msn living
The Heart Beat is a Great Dating Blogs Winner The Heart Beat is a Great Dating Blogs Winner
relationship videos
editor's picks
the heart beat