Nathan Hartman and Christopher Sipes first met in March 2011 when they were introduced by mutual friends at a dinner in Atlanta, where they both lived.
“We were each in long-term, committed relationships at that time,” said Mr. Hartman (left), 42, an estate planning lawyer and an adjunct professor at the Emory School of Law. He is also the father of twins.
“We became good friends who kept in touch,” Mr. Hartman said of Mr. Sipes. “Things stayed that way for years.”
But things started changing in July 2014, when Mr. Hartman’s 17-year relationship came to an end.
Mr. Hartman took solace in his friendship with Mr. Sipes, a 33-year old geospatial information science and remote sensing specialist. Their relationship continued to thrive, and they grew even closer when Mr. Sipes’s nine-year relationship ended in February 2019.
By November 2019, Mr. Hartman and Mr. Sipes, both single, began seeing each other through eyes that were more romantic than friendly.
“For me, Nathan became a confidante,” Mr. Sipes said. “It was nice to have someone to talk to who would listen to me.”
The longtime friends had fallen in love, though Mr. Hartman had long before gotten off at that stop.
“I waited five years for my Prince Charming,” he said, referring to the length of time that had elapsed between his and Mr. Sipes’s breakups.
Mr. Hartman, a father to 8-year-old Jonathan and Lara, said that Mr. Sipes “genuinely enjoys spending time with the children, and he has an incredible devotion to them.”
And he has an incredible devotion to Mr. Hartman, an advisory member of the Emory Village Alliance who sits on the Emory University Alumni Board. He also served as the past board chairman of the Child Development Association. Mr. Hartman graduated from Emory, from which he also received a joint law degree and master’s degree in theological studies.
“Nathan always had my back,” said Mr. Sipes, who graduated from Kennesaw State University in Georgia￼ ￼and received a master’s degree in remote sensing and environmental mapping at University College London. “He really helps me to enjoy the moment and the precious time we have together,” he said.
Mr. Sipes is in the process of creating the Atlanta branch of the University College London.
“Christopher is a wonderful, dedicated person who once told me he would always be there for me,” Mr. Hartman said, “and he has never wavered.”
They were married Oct. 10 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Orlando, Fla. The Rev. Michelle Freeman Owens, a Presbyterian minister, performed the ceremony.
“We are going to continue doing the things we love most, like traveling the world, doing crossword puzzles and gardening,” Mr. Hartman said. “And of course, we love nothing more than spending time with the kids.”