A GWENT beauty therapist who met and fell in love with a paralysed man on the internet has told how she moved to America to marry him.
Nicole Wulfekuhle, 44, from Afon Village, Newport, met her future husband Dean online after a friend suggested that she sign up to a dating application on Facebook.
The mother-of-three spoke almost daily to life coach Dean, who was left paralysed from a spinal injury after a car accident in 1993.
Mrs Wulfekuhle, who worked as a Beauty and Holistic Therapy lecturer at Coleg Gwent in Pontypool, visited Dean eight times over the next two years.
The mother to Ffion, Imogen and Mollie, said: “From the outset it was clear that we had a lot in common, including our sense of humour and passion for helping others. Our thoughts were almost telepathically linked and we often found ourselves typing or saying the same thing at the same time.”
In 2010, two years after the pair first met online, Mrs Wulfekuhle left the UK in May and moved to Minnesota in the USA. The pair married in June that year with a small ceremony attended by Mrs Wulfekuhle’s three daughters and her sister’s family.
The expat said she found out about Dean’s paralysis very early on.
She said: “The first night we spoke, Dean made comments that his life was a bit of a challenge but did not elaborate. The second day, he shared with me that he was a C5/6 quadriplegic. I think he expected me to make a departure at that point but I am still here over six years later and have no intention of going anywhere.”
The couple had considered moving to Wales but decided the move would be too difficult for wheelchair-bound Dean.
Patients with C5 and 6 quadriplegia often have some use of their upper body and can propel a wheelchair, but in some cases may require assistance bathing and body dressing.
Mrs Wulfekuhle said the biggest differences between living in Minnesota and Newport are the way English is spoken and the long, cold US winters.
Looking back on their first meeting, Mrs Wulfekuhle said: “I just remember thinking his eyes were bluer than they had come across on Skype.”