Taking Time Apart Prepared Them for a Life Together

Jackson Thomas Blaisdell knew he wanted to marry Radha Jain two months after they started dating in late 2015. But any plans for a wedding became far less certain when the couple broke up about five years later.

“It was a very amicable breakup,” Ms. Jain said of their decision to part ways in August 2020. “We’d been dating since we were 19. Do we really know who we are if we don’t know ourselves apart from each other?”

The two first met in an economics class at Stanford University, where Mr. Blaisdell, 26, was a year ahead of Ms. Jain, 25. After exchanging numbers at a party, they soon began dating.

“We pretty much just jumped right into it,” said Mr. Blaisdell.

In their free time, Mr. Blaisdell, who grew up nearby in Los Altos, Calif., and Ms. Jain, who grew up in London, spent much of the next few years camping and hiking in California’s national parks. They also made frequent trips to Koma Sushi in Palo Alto, Calif., a restaurant near campus where they had their first date in November 2015.

Following his graduation in the spring of 2018, Mr. Blaisdell began working at investment firms, most recently Capria in Seattle, where he had a fellowship. His jobs required him to work from locations around the world — including South Africa, Kenya and France — for months at a time.

Although living in different countries wasn’t ideal, the couple found ways to connect despite the distance between them. Ms. Jain visited Mr. Blaisdell while he was working in France, and they traveled together in Italy and Israel. “It was always really special when we did get to see each other,” Ms. Jain said.

When she graduated in the spring of 2019, Ms. Jain moved to New York, where she works as an engineer at Palantir, a software company. In February 2020, Mr. Blaisdell, who had finished his fellowship and recently been accepted into Harvard Law School, joined her there. He was staying with Ms. Jain when the pandemic hit, and as the city locked down, the couple decided to leave and stay with his parents in Los Altos.

Months later, in August 2020, they broke up.

Ms. Jain moved back to New York and Mr. Blaisdell to Cambridge, Mass., where he is pursing his law degree at Harvard. For the next year, they didn’t speak. But Mr. Blaisdell found that he couldn’t stop thinking about Ms. Jain, and in August 2021, he sent her a video message while he was in Armenia for a summer internship.

“We just got this video which was like a fever dream,” Ms. Jain said. “Me and my friends, all four of us stood watching over the phone, watched it on loop.”

Ms. Jain messaged Mr. Blaisdell the next day to tell him that she missed him too, and they made plans for Ms. Jain to visit Mr. Blaisdell for about a week when he returned to Cambridge later that month.

Describing the moment he first saw Ms. Jain after their breakup, Mr. Blaisdell said, “It was really just the feeling of coming home.”

“At that point I knew, pretty much instantly, that we should just get married,” he added. “Because I knew I never wanted to be apart from her again.”

Ms. Jain agreed.

“It was because of that time apart, I think, that’s what made us so confident that this is what we want for the rest of our lives,” she said.

The two became engaged months later, in December 2021, while on a ski trip near Lake Tahoe in California. Mr. Blaisdell proposed on New Year’s Eve, as fireworks went off above them.

The couple were married on Jan. 29 at L’Appart, a restaurant in Manhattan, in front of 15 vaccinated guests. Monica Castro, a minister of CityLight Church in Queens, officiated.

“The thing that I personally love the most about Radha is her just incredible energy and enthusiasm and curiosity for anything and everything that she sees and does,” Mr. Blaisdell said. “She’s just this fiery ball of loving life.”

Of the groom, Ms. Jain said, “I could talk to him for the rest of my life, and I will.” She added, “I’ve never met anyone with such a deep appreciation for humanity.”