Mallory and Owen

How did you two meet? 
Mallory and Owen met in 2011 at the Youth Transition Jamboree in Las Vegas, Nevada.  At the time, Owen worked for Family Ties, the Family to Family Information Center that was putting on the annual event.  Mallory was invited to be the keynote speaker!  Since they were staying at the same hotel for the conference, Mallory invited Owen to join her and her mother for dinner (Ok, her mom made her call him...).  It was St. Patrick’s day, and Mallory and Owen got to know each other during a night of fun and  karaoke. They both knew they had something unspoken, and special.  

After the conference, the two kept in touch through phone calls, texting and Skype.  Since Mallory lived in Maine, and Owen was in Nevada, neither of them knew when they might see each other again.

Two months later, Mallory was returning to Vegas for her birthday and invited Owen to join in the celebrations, not knowing that where Owen lived in Nevada was actually a plane ride from Vegas.  Owen, not knowing if he would ever see Mallory again, took a chance and booked a ticket and a hotel room to spend time with her on her birthday. 

In May of 2011, the two reunited and had a connection that they had never felt with anyone.  They decided that, no matter how far apart they lived, they wanted to be together and they would do whatever they could to make it work! 

After a year of being long distance, lots of facetime calls, and four more trips to Vegas, Mallory and Owen moved in together in Boston so Mallory could go to graduate school.   In 2015, they moved to Denver, Colorado, where they currently live and work. Seven years later, they are now planning their wedding! Mallory and Owen have seen a lot in their time together, but every challenge has made them stronger, they continue to live each day to the fullest as they plan their life together.

To follow the journey of Owen and Mal, check out their Facebook page:

And read Mal’s Blog:

What advice do you have for youth with disabilities who are seeking relationships?
-    Be willing to take a chance, and not limit yourself to who you think you like or where you might meet people!
-    Be open to meeting new people and take opportunities that are presented to you for social activity.
-    Don’t play games, be honest about what you want and don’t want.
-    Don’t be afraid to make the first move. Chances are, the other person is nervous too, and if you want to get to know someone, it has to start somewhere! (Mallory put her number in Owen’s phone, and he chose to use it!)
-    Make sure you are both on the same page with the relationship.  Make it clear when you are “serious,” and not seeing other people. Don’t assume!

-    This is the biggest component of a healthy relationship, whether it is a first date or your 30th wedding anniversary! 
-    Be willing to discuss what you want and need in a relationship, and understand the needs of the other person. 
-    Be willing to compromise and negotiate to find things that work for both people in the relationship. 
-    Be honest about your disability and your support needs, but share when it is comfortable and appropriate.  It will take time to learn everything you need to know about the other person and that’s ok.
-    Nobody is a mind reader!  Be willing to have conversations, even if they are difficult.  In order to really be in a long term relationship, you need to work through things and be able to resolve conflicts. 

-    Honor the goals, challenges, and successes of your partner.  Be their biggest cheerleader.
-    Move at a pace the other person feels is appropriate. Don’t push them to do things they may not be ready or comfortable doing. Whether that is moving, starting a new job, or being in a physical relationship.

-    Mallory and Owen knew they wanted to be together because of how comfortable they felt with each other and how much they laughed together. Through the good, and the bad, they are still finding humor in each day and find time for fun!  If you can’t be your true self with someone, they may not be the one for you!
Don’t settle.  Everyone deserves to be with someone who treats them well and makes them feel like the best version of themselves.