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Art is not a luxury, but a necessity.

I met a man on a business trip and left my marriage to be with him. I have no regrets.


This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Nicole Fallon-Peek, the co-CEO of Lighting Media Partners. 



“I met my now-husband, Sean, in 2017 while we were working for the same digital publishing company.


I worked out of the New York office as a managing editor, and Sean worked out of the Ogden, Utah, office as an assistant managing editor. I was on the same level as his boss, but we didn’t work directly with or for each other.

There was an instant spark when we met

We met on a business trip to our Boston office. It was my first business trip, and I was excited to connect with new people. I had no idea that one of those people would later become my husband.

I knew of Sean because we’d been on virtual meetings before, but I’d never spoken to him. When we met in the office that morning, we both knew there was a connection. I joke that it was love at first handshake.


He was one of the nicest, most charming people I’d ever met. He was very polite, but he wasn’t afraid of a little self-deprecating humor.

We went to the hotel bar every night with colleagues and flirted with each other the entire time. We’re big foodies, so when we’d go out to team dinners, I’d ask him if I could try something from his plate.

I was married to someone else then, but I didn’t feel guilty because it felt so natural to be talking and laughing with Sean — like we’d known each other forever despite having just met.

Our goodbye on that trip was awkward. When I came down to the hotel lobby to check out, I saw him sitting there waiting for his Uber to the airport. We met each other’s eyes and smiled, but we didn’t get a chance to say goodbye because he was already gone by the time I’d checked out.


We found ways to spend more time together virtually during the workday

Sean and I emailed to trade phone numbers after the trip because we felt silly asking each other in person. We tried to be professional and draw a line. If we were talking about work things, we would communicate on work platforms, but I would side-text Sean sometimes during work to talk about personal stuff.

We found an excuse to schedule a one-on-one call to discuss a project one of our mutual colleagues was working on. We talked about the actual business purpose of the call and then went on for another 30 minutes talking about personal stuff.

That call was it for me. I thought, “This could definitely be something real.”

Meeting Sean was the confirmation I needed to leave my marriage

Before I met Sean, I was already one foot out the door of my previous marriage, but meeting him was the catalyst to finally leave.

It took less than two weeks for me to realize I was head over heels in love with Sean. He told me he didn’t want to be the sole reason I ended my marriage, but I ended it because I wasn’t happy.

My ex-spouse sensed my unhappiness and wasn’t surprised when I shared those feelings, but they were definitely shocked and hurt that I’d realized it because I met someone else.

I do feel bad about the emotional pain I caused them, but we both said to each other and to family and friends that we’re better off for having split up. It would’ve happened at some point regardless of whether Sean was in the picture.

I was nervous to tell my coworkers I left my marriage for someone at the company

I was a little nervous to share that I had left my marriage and was dating someone who worked in our Utah office. Sean and I also didn’t know the policy as we’d never had a reason to look — neither of us thought we’d meet our soulmate at work.

We kept talking after the business trip and decided to make things official. Two months later, we told our bosses. We didn’t want people at work to find out from the company rumor mill.

I sat my boss down and said, “Hey, I just want to tell you that we’ve been long-distance dating. I hope that’s not a problem. We don’t report to each other, so we figured maybe it’ll be OK.”

My boss was super happy for me. She said, “I knew it! You guys are great. This is not a problem. Do your thing. It’s all good.” Everyone else at the office was happy that I was happy. They knew I struggled in my previous relationship.

My boss helped Sean transfer to New York

My boss helped Sean get an opportunity on another team in the New York office a few months later. I was also looking for a place to live at that time so I told him that even though it was kind of soon, our relationship was on a good track and I wanted to move in together. He agreed.

We found a place, started commuting into the office together, and spent as much time as we could to make up for not being able to see each other every day during those four months of long distance.

We decided to start our own venture

We eventually both felt stuck in our jobs and didn’t see opportunities for growth. We had similar skills and knew we could work together — and we had already talked about marriage and starting a family — so we decided to start our own business. We quit together in 2018.

We got married in November 2019 and now have a 10-month-old daughter.


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