On Nov. 25, 2020, nearly 3,000 students received an email that might
have brought them one step closer to true love. Using a program tailored
to create the best romantic match, the Northwestern Marriage Pact played
matchmaker for students, coupling them up according to survey responses.
But how did it work out? NBN followed up with three star-crossed
pairings to see the successes — and the shortcomings — of the
Caught up in California
Three months after first-year Emily* and her boyfriend of nine months
broke up, she decided to fill out the Marriage Pact. Still sad from her
split at the end of August and slightly hung up on her ex, she saw the
idea of finding a match as a way to move on.
“It was more like a thing where I want a man and this could be a way to
find one, whether it be just a friend or a possible relationship or
hookup,” Emily* says.
Emily* was excited to get her match, and she was even more excited when
he messaged her on Instagram. Over the course of a day, they had an
extensive conversation about the weather in Los Angeles, Quinn XCII and
their shared love of heist movies. Emily* was feeling optimistic, but
when she looked at his profile, she noticed posts with a girl from his
“[She] seemed to be his girlfriend, because they went to prom and had
anniversary posts,” Emily* says. “I was like, ‘They’re probably broken
up, [so that’s why] he did the Marriage Pact.’”
He soon asked for her Snapchat, and they continued their conversation
there. After a few days, though, she noticed a trend that she found odd:
She would reply to him every few hours, and he would respond in under a
minute, which she said is uncommon to how people usually Snapchat new
acquaintances. Because of this, she started responding less, and the
conversation petered out.
Emily* and her match continued snapping for several weeks, until one
evening late in winter break when Emily* received a message from her
best friend at Northwestern Lauren*. Lauren* lives in the same area of
Northern California as Emily’s* match.
That night, Lauren* had driven to a popular sunset viewing spot in her
area. After she parked, she noticed two familiar faces pulling into the
spot to her left. Lauren* whipped out her Instagram to confirm her
suspicion: It was Emily’s* match and the girl from his Instagram posts.
Lauren* immediately texted Emily* and told her to check her match’s Snap
Map location. It confirmed he was at the same spot, and Lauren* even saw
a Northwestern sticker and a sticker from the match’s high school on the
back of his car. Assuming he was still in a relationship, Emily* ghosted
her match. Their only interaction since has been making brief eye
contact in Elder Dining Hall after moving onto campus.
“Maybe he saw it just as friends, but then why would he reach out to me
if he still had a girlfriend and not tell me he had a girlfriend?”
Cupid plays Mortal Kombat
When John* got his match in late November, he knew he just wanted a
friendship. He had a girlfriend at the time and said he solely filled
out the Pact to meet new people. After making that clear, he and his
match started to get to know each other over Snapchat in early December.
However, their conversation abruptly ended after he forgot to respond to
one of her texts.
After moving on campus for Winter Quarter, John* decided to reach out to
his match again with the hope of establishing an actual friendship. The
two hung out with a couple of her friends at her off-campus apartment,
and a week later he invited her over to the fraternity house he lives
in. They were playing Mortal Kombat in his room when another member of
the fraternity, David*, walked in to meet John’s* match.
“Instantly, I could see in his eyes just desire,” John* says. “[I
thought], ‘Oh god, now I’m going to have to hook these two up.’”
David* sat down and joined their game. He and John* have a well-
established Mortal Kombat rivalry, and while the three played, John’s*
match became very competitive as well — even trash-talking her
opponents. As this happened, John* noticed the sparks between his match
“They start talking, they’re playing video games together, they’re
vibing,” John* says. “I’m like ‘OK, this is kind of cute.’ Lowkey my
Marriage Pact [match], but you know what, I can fall on my sword for
this one. We’re just friends anyways.”
John’s* match came back to the house to play video games a few times
after that, and she and David* got closer. The two eventually started
hooking up and have been doing so for the majority of the quarter. They
still hang out with John* occasionally, who said he and his match will
remain solid friends for the foreseeable future.
Zoe Maroko was finishing a shift at the PINK storefront near her New
Jersey home when she got the email. The subject line read, “🔥Match
Maroko, a Communication first-year, deferred Fall Quarter, and after
many months at home, she was ready to start making connections in
college. So, she decided to reach out to her match.
“Hi! Did you do the Marriage Pact thing?” Maroko wrote in a direct
message to him on Instagram.
“Yeah, we got matched right?” he replied.
The two started texting, first talking about music and their mutual
appreciation of Halsey. After about a week, he asked if she wanted to
FaceTime. They quickly developed a light-hearted dynamic, poking fun at
things like each other’s food tastes. Maroko frequently teases him for
his love of blueberry cheese. Following that first call, the pair
started video chatting every couple days for the rest of winter break.
“We would just talk until one of our phones died,” Maroko says.
They first met in person after moving in for Winter Quarter. He had
lived on campus in the fall and offered to show her around. It was
awkward at first, but they soon slipped into their usual friendly
banter, Maroko says. From there, it felt natural. Since the walk, they
have tried campus food staples such as Fran’s Cafe and MOD Pizza and
gone thrift shopping. Maroko now calls her match one of her closest