New York Times Vows Section
TAMSEN FADAL AND MATT TITUS
MATT TITUS is fearless.
On his first date with Tamsen Fadal, a reporter for WCBS-TV in New York, he told her she would end up falling in love with him.
“How do you know you’re going to fall in love with someone the first time you go out with them?” asked a skeptical Ms. Fadal, 36, who had initially refused to even have a drink with Mr. Titus. “I didn’t believe in love at first sight. I barely believed in love.”
But he does. Mr. Titus, 40, a professional matchmaker and dating coach in New York, also knows the rules. “Nine times out of 10, when someone doesn’t say yes, you should move on,” he said, offering advice he would typically give his clients. But there is nothing typical about Ms. Fadal.
“She’s a sex kitten and a smart reporter,” said Magee Hickey, also a reporter at WCBS. “Every man that looks at her falls all over her.”
Mr. Titus initially “fell” in October 2004 when he saw her at a gym in Philadelphia, while she was working at KYW-TV there. “I couldn’t stop staring at her,” he recalled.
But she was focused solely on her career, and lived in a nearly bare apartment. “I had sold everything, so I could be ready to move to New York if I got a job opportunity,” she said.
Mr. Titus, who at the time was a personal trainer with a bad-boy reputation and recently divorced, did not fit into her plans, which is what she told him. But that is not what he heard. He heard fear, he said. “I felt she was terribly afraid of commitment.”
There was some truth to that, she admitted. Having lost her mother to breast cancer, “I had a hard time getting close to people, because I was afraid they were going to leave me,” said Ms. Fadal, who was 13 when her mother’s cancer was diagnosed.
Mr. Titus was also 13 when his mother died from cervical cancer. “He talked about her like she was this angel,” Ms. Fadal said. “Women listen to how men talk about their mothers.” She found herself growing more attracted to him, which unsettled her. “In my career, I’m very strong,” she said. “But in my personal life, I was never sure what was right for me.”
Mr. Titus was confident enough for both of them.
He asked her out daily. If she had other plans, he would ask to see her after. He bought her flowers and jewelry. He even showed up with an umbrella on a rainy night — and escorted her to a date with another guy.
Then he sent a text message to her: “Call me when you leave.” And she did.
In December 2004, Ms. Fadal was offered a freelance assignment at WCBS, and Mr. Titus volunteered to drive her from Philadelphia to her 3 a.m. shift. Five days a week. “She’d get out of the car, and I’d drive back to Philly,” he said. He would return to New York to pick her up at 1 p.m.
“Matt’s passionate, and sometimes passionate isn’t rational,” said Eddie Varley, a friend since college and the chief executive of Matt’s Little Black Book, Mr. Titus’s matchmaking company in New York.
Mr. Titus embraces his gung-ho approach to life. “My mom died in my arms, and if I could get through that then nothing can hurt me,” he said. “I’m used to taking leaps without nets. I fall on my face a lot, trust me.”
The year before he met Ms. Fadal, he nearly died in a motorcycle accident while racing to meet a girlfriend while his first wife waited at home. “I had hit rock bottom,” he said, referring more to his infidelity than his physical injuries. After his painful divorce, he vowed to turn his life around and draw upon his mistakes to help others avoid them.
He was forthright with Ms. Fadal about his past. “I do think you can change,” she said. “Something traumatic can make you a different person.”
That said, she was cautious, fearing the depth of her feelings. “Matt helped me to realize I could have my independence and also have him,” she said.
He wanted that for her, too. “I love her dreams and how she pursues them,” he said. And still at 3 a.m. every day, he walks her to work.
On Oct. 13, 89 wedding guests gathered in New York on the patio of Tavern on the Green surrounded by the still-verdant trees. They oohed when Ms. Fadal appeared in her strapless charmeuse gown and matching ballroom gloves designed by Tanaj Perry, a makeup artist at WCBS. Then Ken Rosato, a priest of the Catholic Apostolic Church in North America and an anchor on WABC-TV, led the couple in their vows.
Afterward, the bride’s father, James Fadal of Orlando, Fla., offered a toast and benediction, saying, “May this be the day that you loved each other the least.”