Days after Louis P. Di Cerbo swiped Dr. Robin G. Stafford into his world on the dating app Bumble in July 2020, they had a wide-ranging phone conversation that evolved into a chat about their career accomplishments.
“She was featured in Crain’s Chicago Business,” Mr. Di Cerbo, 62, said of Dr. Stafford, who is the chief dental officer for the Howard Brown Health Center, a nonprofit health care organization in Chicago that focuses on serving the L.G.B.T.Q. community.
But Mr. Di Cerbo, a lawyer, didn’t wait for Dr. Stafford, 62, to tell him that. “I immediately looked her up,” he said, laughing.
“I had to do my due diligence,” added Mr. Di Cerbo, the general counsel and chief compliance officer for Matrix Global, a Chicago-based company that provides technology and consulting services to the energy storage industry. A graduate of Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., he received a law degree from Boston University.
Dr. Stafford, who graduated from the University of Illinois in Urbana, Ill., and received a medical degree from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill., said she was equally impressed with Mr. Di Cerbo.
“He was very handsome and extremely intelligent,” said Dr. Stafford, who had been single for 13 years before they met. “We realized right away that we shared many passions,” she added, “such as cooking, fitness, travel, clothing, art and jazz.”
Both had been married before, too. Dr. Stafford, who divorced her first husband in 2008, described the experience as “traumatic,” adding that some of the pain it caused subsided when she “immediately connected” with Mr. Di Cerbo.
Mr. Di Cerbo had experienced pain of his own when his second wife died in May 2019. His first marriage, he added, “was brief” and “ended in divorce back in the ’90s,” he said.
[Click here to binge read this week’s featured couples.]
“Robin is a survivor, like I am,” added Mr. Di Cerbo. “I had to deal with the death of my wife and she with a very difficult divorce. While we may be survivors we are both very strong, and that is the bedrock, the very foundation of our relationship.”
Soon after their phone conversation, they arranged for a first date at a restaurant in Chicago.
“The moment I sat down beside him, I felt very at ease, very comfortable,” Dr. Stafford said. The mother of two grown children from her previous marriage, she added, “He came across as a very family-oriented person, as I am.” (Mr. Di Cerbo said that Dr. Stafford “was so family-oriented, that I met her brother on our third date.”)
After dinner on their first date, Dr. Stafford and Mr. Di Cerbo took a walk to nearby Wicker Park, where they sat and talked some more.
“We both came away from our first date convinced that we had met our lifetime partner,” Mr. Di Cerbo said.
The couple dated for about a year before becoming engaged on July 23, 2021. That September, Dr. Stafford met Mr. Di Cerbo’s parents.
“Back in September, during our first dinner with my parents, who are both 91 and live in Schenectady, N.Y., my dad couldn’t stop asking Robin about her dental practice,” said Mr. Di Cerbo, whose mother, Rose Kimura Di Cerbo is Japanese American, and father, Louis Robert Di Cerbo, Italian American. Dr. Stafford’s parents, Evelyn H. Gay and Robert L. Gay, are deceased.
The two were married Dec. 4 by the Rev. Richard Kirchherr at the First Congregational Church of Western Springs in Western Springs, Ill., where they live. Sixty guests, all vaccinated, attended.
“I’m so thrilled that we found each other, we’re a modern tri-racial couple,” said the bride, who is African-American. “There are now so many possibilities for us to consider moving forward, and together in life.”