Firm Footing Found After a Jenga Challenge


“Destiny is a series of detours.”

Those words rang loud, clear and oh-so-true to Ronald Longe, 52, and his partner, Sunil Oommen, 44, who began dating in August 2018, a year after the death of Mr. Longe’s husband.

“That was an extremely painful detour for Ron, a deep loss that changed the path of his life,” said Mr. Oommen, the president of Oommen Consulting, a fund-raising, events and project management firm in Manhattan that specializes in supporting social justice nonprofit organizations.

To make matters worse for Mr. Longe (left), another devastating detour, the death of his grandmother in April 2018, left him feeling “all alone in this world,” he said.

“My grandmother and I were very close,” said Mr. Longe, the principal of Ron Longe Public Relations, a firm in New York specializing in food, lifestyle and art. “She cried for me on her deathbed. She told me that while she hated the idea of leaving me all alone, she would pray for me to meet the love of my life.”

Weeks after she died, Mr. Longe was on the subway when he looked up and saw that the entire car was plastered with OkCupid ads.

Remembering his grandmother’s wish, he joined the site, and began trying to put the pieces of his life back together again. Then he saw Mr. Oommen’s profile.

Mr. Longe said he was moved by the fact that Mr. Oommen’s profile made it clear that he was looking for a relationship that would eventually lead to marriage. “I was nervous at first about starting a conversation with Sunil,” he said. “But he seemed like a really great guy, so I went for it.”

They began an online chat that went into the late hours of the evening, realizing with each note they exchanged just how much they had in common. At conversation’s end, Mr. Oommen asked Mr. Longe out on a date, and they agreed to meet for a Jenga showdown at E’s Bar on the Upper West Side on Aug. 26, 2018.

They were pleasantly surprised by how much they had in common, including their favorite television show, “Jane, the Virgin,” which is where they first heard the words,“Destiny is a series of detours.”

After defeating Mr. Longe, a self-proclaimed “Jenga master,” at three games of Jenga, Mr. Oommen kissed Mr. Longe.

Mr. Longe obliged, and from that moment, he said, “I knew I had found the guy I was looking for in Sunil. He truly was my destiny.”

Their first summer together, Mr. Longe and Mr. Oommen enjoyed rooftop picnics, strolls through Central Park, and visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and in the fall taking trips to Los Angeles and Toronto, and attending Art Basel in Miami.

They also began what Mr. Longe called “our spiritual journey,” and by that he was referring to a church they could call their own.

Mr. Longe said that “Sunil is a fierce advocate for social justice and L.G.B.T.Q. causes.” Mr. Oommen added, “Ron is very dedicated to doing charity work,” so the church they were looking for, they said, needed to be progressive, queer-friendly and inclusive.

“Middle Collegiate Church in the East Village was the perfect fit,” Mr. Longe said.”

They were married Aug. 14 at Riverside Park in Manhattan before the Presbyterian Revs. Ashley DeTar Birt, who led the ceremony, and Benjamin Perry, who took part. (The couple were originally scheduled to marry Aug. 29 at One Hanover Square in New York, before 130 guests, but the coronavirus led them to drop that number to 10.)

Shortly after the ceremony, Mr. Oommen danced in the park to Madonna’s “True Blue,” which he called “one the highlights of our special day.” Asked for his own wedding-day highlight, Mr. Longe looked to the heavens: “I was just thrilled we had good weather,” he said, “it was supposed to rain.”



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