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People Can't Handle This Couple's Truly Inspiring Love Story

"Falling in love with another black man was scary in ways neither of us could have ever imagined."

Last updated on June 14, 2017, at 5:08 p.m. ET

Posted on June 14, 2017, at 5:08 p.m. ET

Nick Gilyard, 25, and his boyfriend Dominic Spence, 27, have known each other since they were teenagers.

They were recently featured on thewaywemet Instagram account, which chronicles couples' (usually very adorable) love stories.

Instagram: @thewaywemet

"Dominic and I met as teenagers. We went to different high schools but they were close in proximity, so we had a lot of mutual friends," their story begins. "High school was also the time period in which we both came out to our families, although at separate times and unknowingly of each other's personal journeys."

According to the caption, the couple's first date lasted for several hours until the bar closed down. They would endure seven years of long distance in several different cities before finally landing together. Spence proposed during a visit to London in 2015 — Gilyard said yes.

Instagram: @dom_and_nick

But both of them had doubts that they would ever find such a fairy-tale ending. Gilyard noted in the Instagram post that "falling in love with another black man was scary in ways neither of us could have ever imagined."

Dominic and I feel lucky to have found love at such a young age. However, falling in love with another black man was scary in ways neither of us could have ever imagined. It forced us to face the very real resistance from society for being not only homosexuals but black men as well. We had to confront the stereotypes of being largely defined as uneducated, disloyal, untrustworthy, and unreliable individuals. But together we chose to rise above those prejudices and rewrite our own story- one of inspiration. We want others to see that our union is marked by achievement, love, friendship, respect, and unconditional support. We hope to encourage other black and brown men and boys everywhere to be true to who they are. And when they find love in each other's eyes, to know that their love is just as strong and beautiful as anyone else's.

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"It is easy to feel unwanted as a black man in America and the same can be said for being queer," Gilyard told BuzzFeed News. "When you exist at that kind of an intersection, it's easy to feel as if you'll never find someone to love you or even fully love yourself."

Instagram: @dom_and_nick

"Which makes the idea of two gay black men finding love in one another so powerful. To do so is to be completely confident in your blackness and queerness which grants you the freedom to fully express yourself. It's not easy, but it is liberating."

"We hope to encourage other black and brown men and boys everywhere to be true to who they are," he added. The post has been liked over 15,000 times and received a number of supportive comments — and a few negative comments as well.

"We do sometimes get negative comments on our posts or will see someone reshare our photo with a negative caption," Gilyard explained. "We have a rule to never engage personally with negativity and hope that sets an example for other people who might fall victim to cyberbullying."
instagram.com

"We do sometimes get negative comments on our posts or will see someone reshare our photo with a negative caption," Gilyard explained. "We have a rule to never engage personally with negativity and hope that sets an example for other people who might fall victim to cyberbullying."

The couple regularly receives messages of support or requests for relationship advice from their followers. The most moving message came from a mother in Alabama whose son had recently come out to her.

"She had come across a photo of Dominic and I together and wanted to know how she could best support her son," explained Gilyard. "Even though she knew little about the LGBT community and feared how he would be treated."

The couple hopes that anyone who comes across their story walks away feeling empowered to "love fiercely and unapologetically."

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Their advice for other people currently in long-distance relationships? Communication.

"We each lost a parent when we were very young and have made a promise to ourselves and each other to never take our time together for granted," Gilyard explained. "Communication is essential," Spence added. "Not only in difficult times but even when things are going well. Something we started doing a few years ago was random text messages of gratitude followed by #ReasonWhyILoveYou."
instagram.com

"We each lost a parent when we were very young and have made a promise to ourselves and each other to never take our time together for granted," Gilyard explained.

"Communication is essential," Spence added. "Not only in difficult times but even when things are going well. Something we started doing a few years ago was random text messages of gratitude followed by #ReasonWhyILoveYou."

Gilyard and Spence will be tying the knot next month surrounded by friends and family in Miami Beach, Florida. The officiant will be Gilyard's high school mentor, who was also a science teacher at Spence's high school.

You can continue following their love story here.

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