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shoe theory

@soimjenn/Instagram, used with permission

You never know where chance encounter might lead.

A woman named Jen Chia is having even the most cynical of us reconsidering the existence of fated encounters after finding an old selfie with her husband Jon visible in the background…years before they even met.

On Instagram, Jenn wrote “I’m still shaking looking at this,” sharing a photo taken in Oct 2012, where she appeared to be enjoying a drink at what appears to be a theater.

Behind her we see a bearded man casually standing with a backpack. That man was apparently Jon. Both were completely oblivious to their future significant others.

“We were at the same place but didn’t know each other existed,” she wrote.

Cut to a photo of Jenn and Jon on an amusement park ride, 2 years laters, when they officially met, then to a wedding photo, 9 years after that.

A few viewers linked it to the viral “invisible string theory,” which is the idea that one’s ideal partner is hidden in plain sight, until the universe decides it’s the best time for you both to meet. It’s a concept based on the Chinese mythology that has found new life on TikTok, similar to the ”shoe theory,” though that’s more about fated break-ups.

Whether the timing was part of fate’s plan or not, Jenn agrees that things worked out as they should.

In her vidoe’s caption, Jenn shared, “We met at the right time. If it was before, I don’t think the relationship would have lasted. I was a narcissistic monster, unaware and naive.”

“Took me a year of traveling and being single to reflect and realize my own mistakes. That’s when we met,” she added. “The right person will always find you at the right time.”

In the comments Jon agreed, saying, “So glad you didn’t meet me in the first picture. We were meant to go on our own journeys. We met a few years later at the perfect time 😍”

Proving that these sort of kismet connections are perhaps more common than you think, previously Upworthy covered a similar story of a young woman who was going through old school photos when she discovered her late mother had been her current boyfriend’s kindergarten teacher.

From a purely scientific perspective, there is no irrefutable evidence that fated relationships exist. Still, many of us have felt inexplicably charged by connections and coincidences. Plus, research has shown that having a little magical thinking when it comes to love, like believing something is “meant to be” can help lead to more committed relationships.

Maybe Jenn and Jon are cosmically intertwined. Or maybe they are two people simply in the right place at the right time. Either way, their love story is a fun reminder that life is so often trying to work with us, not against us.