Finding true and lasting love in this day and age can be difficult with social media and online dating apps. But one local Cleveland couple found each other in elementary school and it would take years until the two found each other for good.
Rana and Ryan Cavanaugh's relationship is not a typical love story. They didn't meet online or as adults but met when they were in the 4th grade. Romantic feelings can be temporary at such a young age, but Rana recalls her young relationship with Ryan as a special one.
"We were on and off during middle school. He always told me verbally and in writing that one day he would wait for me. I didn't think it would happen, but at the same time felt comforted that he would be waiting for," Rana recalls.
Years passed after high school before they would talk again. Rana who was 24 at the time was dancing at the CMA awards during college and Ryan watched her on t.v. recalling how he needed to get in contact with her.
Unfortunately for Ryan, Rana had a serious boyfriend at the time. She didn't think anything of it, but when she came home from school for Thanksgiving break, emotions she once had in elementary school came back.
"I saw [Ryan] during the break and I knew that night I would leave my current boyfriend. Not necessarily for him, but I knew if I had these feelings for another man, then I shouldn't be with my current one," Rana said.
Ryan didn't reciprocate Rana's feelings at first. It would be a lot of back and forth over months and years until the two would become more than friends.
Rana always saw Ryan's loyalty as a friend even going years without talking. The day her father passed away in 2006 from cancer was the moment she realized he was a keeper.
"At that time, we weren't dating. He was the only person to call me from my past. He called me out of the blue and found my father's obituary in the paper," Rana recalls.
When Rana came home for a Christmas break, Ryan reiterated to Rana that a long distance relationship would never work. Feeling like she was wasting her time, Rana was direct with Ryan about having feelings for him. The two decided to stop fighting fate and decided to pick up where they left off all those years ago.
"We always had this connection. Two weeks in I knew I would marry him. I'm not sure if a total stranger would have that certainty. It was because I knew him for so long," Rana said.
The two eventually got married in 2010 on New Year's Eve a year after dating. Ryan proposed to Rana at the same bus stop where the two would have a daily kiss before boarding the bus.
Now with a daughter named Stella and another child on the way due in June, Rana can't imagine life without Ryan. While she doesn't have any advice for married couples, she emphasizes that it takes a daily effort from both sides to make a marriage work.
"Your intuition is usually never wrong. If you know that you want to spend the rest of your life with that person, that doesn't happen in every relationship. He is a keeper," Rana said.