Finding Romance After Ditching the ‘Check-the-Box Approach’

Jane Jeong and Byron Hsu have always managed to individually achieve what they have set their minds to. But they needed the other to learn what it truly means to love.

Before meeting in the spring of 2019, Ms. Jeong, 32, and Mr. Hsu, 37, had approached romance in what Ms. Jeong described as “a very check-the-box way.”

“I equated perfect on paper with compatibility,” she said. “I had always been a goal-oriented person with big dreams of what I’d wanted my life to look like. I knew exactly what steps to take in order to land my dream schools and my dream jobs — and I mistakenly approached love in a similar goal-oriented way.”

A graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School, Ms. Jeong is an corporate lawyer at Cooley, a law firm in Manhattan. Mr. Hsu is a founder of Paragon One, a remote externship start-up company. He received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering from M.I.T.

“As someone who has very much always lived in his head as an engineer, rational-thinking type, it was a new concept for me to listen to my heart,” Mr. Hsu said. “I think allowing for that is what opened the window for this love to grow for me, instead of constantly analyzing it every second and trying to define it in a scientific way.”

Mr. Hsu said he had never been in love, nor really knew what love was, until he met Ms. Jeong.

After a series of failed relationships on both ends, Mr. Hsu and Ms. Jeong took the time to ask themselves what it was they were truly looking for in a romantic relationship. Each credits these periods of self-reflection to the success of their relationship, as they felt comfortable and ready to approach one another from a place of deep honesty. “What kept me going on that second and third date was that I felt safe,” Ms. Jeong said. “I didn’t have to doubt whether he was saying something to make me happy or impress me. He just came as he was and that emboldened me to truly come as I am.”

The couple met via the dating app the League in April 2019 and began seeing one another at least once a week immediately following that first date, where they met at the Bryant Park fountain and strolled over to Le Pain Quotidien, a nearby restaurant, and drank tea for two hours. At the six-month mark of their relationship, they knew that what they were experiencing was a deep and enduring love.

On Oct. 11, 2020, Mr. Hsu proposed to Ms. Jeong at the Bryant Park fountain.

As the couple planned their wedding through the Covid-19 pandemic, they incorporated what Ms. Jeong called “Covid-friendly” events into the day. This included an outdoor ceremony in Central Park for close family and friends in the morning, followed by two evening parties, one in Manhattan and the other in Brooklyn, for 90 guests.

Ms. Jeong and Mr. Hsu were married July 31, 2021 in Central Park’s Cop Cot in front of 44 guests. Tony Wang, the best man who became a Universal Life minister for the event, officiated. Lisa Matsue, the maid of honor, took part in the ceremony.

The couple is looking forward to a mini-moon in Italy this month, followed by a longer honeymoon in Peru in December, though they are most excited by the prospect of entering a new chapter of their lives by each other’s side.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to grow together, whatever that looks like,” Ms. Jeong said.

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