From Shy Beginnings to Some Kind of Soulmates: Shefali and Jiezell

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Sometimes your Marriage Pact match is that cutie in your math class. Sometimes they’re the person with the same gym schedule. Sometimes, your match is an ex, or your TA. In some very special cases, however, you may be matched with someone with a deeper history.

On one typically sunny afternoon in Santa Barbara, Shefali and Jiezell sat down to tell me their match story — and about a relationship that’s endured for years.

Now seniors at the University of California, Santa Barbara, the two “crossed paths” for the first time on Tinder, of all places. While both were initially shy to reach out, they started dating mid-lockdown, and though restrictions made date nights tough, the pair was still able to find quality time together, even occasionally living under the same roof.

Shefali told me about their first date — a casual breakfast at a coffee shop downtown.

Shefali: I mean, I thought she was really cute, but also quiet.

Jiezell: We both definitely liked each other, but just like, I think we were both too shy to say anything for a while.

After dating for a little under a year, the pair saw that the Marriage Pact had come to UCSB on Twitter, and decided to sign up, thinking it would be a great way to make some new friends. They filled out the form entirely separately, without a shred of expectation about matching with one another — let alone matching at a rare 100th percentile of all other matches.

The two share a lot of things: Their home state of California, their love languages (physical touch and quality time) — Shefali and Jiezell are even both bisexual statistics majors and only children of immigrant parents.

Jiezell: It was funny because we really are kind of different. I don’t think we put a lot of the same answers. We didn’t look at all, we wanted it to be a surprise.

Shefali: Jiezell got her email first, and she had my initials, and I was like, “no way, that’s such a coincidence!” I still didn’t really think it was me.

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Despite their perceived similarities, the two know they’re a great mix of introverted, extroverted, experienced, and less so.

Jiezell: On a surface level we’re pretty similar, we have a very similar sense of humor. But one difference is that she’s my first relationship, like ever, so everything I’ve learned about relationships has been through this. And we have some similar interests but we also have different interests. And our friends are really different.

Shefali: We really balance each other out.

Shefali and Jiezell were even step for step when specifically answering some newer Marriage Pact questions. The two would likely go to space if given the opportunity even if it meant they wouldn’t return, so long as the opportunity was safe and free. They both also asserted that it was much more important to tell the truth than to protect someone’s feelings, saying you’re always able to be honest in a nice way as opposed to telling someone bluntly what they need to hear.

When asked if they believed if people had one true soulmate…

Jiezell: I don’t think so…

Shefali: Yeah, there are different kinds of soulmates. I don’t think you have just one.

Despite their uncanny similarities, some of the pair’s friends are usually surprised about the match.

Jiezell: I’ve told a few friends about it and they were all really surprised. My friend saw my post on Twitter about it and he texted me like, “Oh my god, are you serious? Did that really happen?”

Since matching, the two don’t really feel like much in their relationship has changed, but the experience served as a great reminder of just how compatible they are.

Shefali: It was pretty reassuring.

Jiezell: It’s brought us closer.

Shefali: Yeah, it was like, at least we know something’s right.

Though Shefali and Jiezell are months past the day they matched, they still relish in special moments together. The two celebrated their anniversary with one of the first nights out they’ve had since the pandemic began at a Latin American restaurant in downtown Santa Barbara. They also recently took a trip to New York, their first trip alone together. The two imagine these are just a couple of many exciting adventures to come as they look to graduate this spring.