The “kick in the pants” that kept their relationship going
Joshua Corey Kappel said he had no choice but to issue an ultimatum in October 2015 to Samantha Marie Presnal, who was dating another man at the time.
“She had just started dating this guy a few months earlier, and although we both knew what we had was stronger, she just wasn’t willing to let him go,” Mr. Kappel, 32, director of strategy at Newrez. , a mortgage lender in New York.
“I told her we weren’t going to see each other again until she broke up with him,” said University of Michigan graduate Mr. Kappel, from whom he also earned a master’s degree in accounting.
Ms Presnal, a fellow French scholar and guest instructor at Amherst College in Massachusetts, said the relationship Mr Kappel was referring to “had fizzled out” long before the ultimatum was issued.
“I’m really bad at breaking up and hurting people’s feelings,” said Amherst graduate and PhD graduate Ms. Presnal. in French studies from NYU
“But then I thought about Joshua’s feelings,” she said, “and realized he kicked me in the pants I really needed to get on with my life. . “
By that, she meant continuing with Mr. Kappel, who entered his world in August 2015 at a Manhattan bar, where Ms. Presnal was in the company of her mother, Diane Presnal, a seventh grade math teacher in Chicopee, Mass. .
“My mother had traveled to Manhattan to celebrate the birthday of a family friend,” Ms. Presnal said.
But that party ended too soon, so mother and daughter decided to visit one of Ms. Presnal’s favorite haunts, a Lower Manhattan bar.
They were already at the bar when Mr Kappel walked in with a friend and immediately met Ms Presnal’s eyes from across the room.
He needed a strategy. “I first decided to talk to his mother and try to convince her to the point that she wanted to introduce her daughter to me,” he said. “In the meantime, it was my friend’s job to keep Samantha busy.”
They waited until “their two glasses were used up,” as Mr. Kappel put it, before melting down and offering the two women another round.
The offer was accepted and the plan worked for everyone except Ms. Presnal.
“Joshua’s friend was a bit socially awkward,” she said, “so while my mom was having fun talking to this other guy, I was having a hard time maintaining any kind of conversation.”
Finally, Ms. Presnal and Mr. Kappel struck up a conversation. It almost ended with this ultimatum, but they kept talking, and in November 2015, they were dating regularly and very much in love.
“I love her smile, her beauty, her energy, her passion and her ability to tell stories,” said Mr. Kappel. “I love everything there is to love about her.”
Mrs. Presnal felt much the same. “He’s so handsome, so funny and yet so mature,” she said. “With a man like him, who wears his heart on his sleeve in a very endearing way, there’s no way he’ll ever play relationship games.”
Their affection for each other deepened during the first few years of their relationship “despite, or perhaps because of, several absences,” said Presnal, who spent three months in research residency. at the École normale supérieure and six more months. on a Fulbright scholarship in France.
Mr. Kappel visited her often and when Ms. Presnal returned to New York City in the winter of 2018, they moved together into an apartment in Manhattan’s Flatiron neighborhood.
The following year, they got engaged on the French island of Guadeloupe.
They were married on May 22 at Winvian Farm in Morris, Connecticut, in front of Justice of the Peace David Smith and 150 guests.
The couple had planned to get married at the same location on September 22, 2020 but the coronavirus forced a date change and the elimination of 20 guests.
“When I look at Samantha, I see a person who is pure authenticity,” the groom said after the wedding. “What I am seeing is real, and it is an extremely beautiful sight.”