Words by Carly Bass.
A woman's love story has gone viral online after sharing how she met her husband, and it's all thanks to their parents who married a year earlier.
Matilda Eriksson, 23, said she never considered marriage until she met Samuli, 27, who became her step-brother when her mum and his dad tied the knot in 2019.
Their three-year friendship took a turn in 2021 when her step-brother went in for a kiss. "I responded right away with passion," Eriksson told Yahoo News Australia. "It took us two weeks to start dating after that and he basically moved in with me right away. It felt good and natural immediately."
Parents 'happy' but friends 'judged' relationship
A few days into their romantic relationship, Eriksson, from Espoo, Finland — about 10km from Helsinki — started to "feel weird" and the reality of their situation dawned on her. "I was confused and in love at the same time and honestly I really didn't know what to do. Thinking about the fact that he still is my step-brother and also I thought about other people's opinions," she said.
Their parents were the first people they told about their love for one another and they were "very happy for us from the start," she said. "I think Samuli's dad even kind of hoped that something like this would happen," Eriksson admitted, but their friends reacted differently.
"Some of our friends were first a bit doubtful and [were] kind of judging. I think it was because of the confusion that someone I had been calling step-brother has to now be called my boyfriend," she said. At first, her friends' judgment bothered her and she started having doubts. But it was Eriksson's mum who helped her "get my thoughts in order" and take a stab at love.
"She told me to do whatever I felt was the most right in that moment, putting everything else aside and to follow my heart, and that led me to marry Samuli," she told Yahoo. "We both have been in a few long relationships before but never felt like this with anyone."
Legal implications with marrying step-sibling
Their unique situation led them to investigate, and when they first got together they began researching if step-siblings could legally marry in Finland. Eriksson said they started Googling about their situation and any possible legal implications. "First we found some false, old information that it would be illegal, but gladly one of my sister's closest friends is a law student and she told us that there would be no problem if we wanted to get married," she said.
The couple got engaged in October, 2021 and married in July this year. The 23-year-old said they were both so desperate, "we even proposed to each other at the same time and cried." Thankfully, the couple didn't lose any friends over it because once they "saw our connection" they realised "we are 100 per cent match made in heaven."
Social media reacts to couple's relationship
The couple have detailed their love story in a series of clips on TikTok and that's where they've received the most hate, according to the Eriksson. In one video, she claims people have said some nasty things including "straight to jail" and "I'd rather die". Others say it's "weird".
But their relationship journey has garnered thousands of responses from people who say there's nothing wrong with how they met. In fact, many claimed it's a "true love story" and think it's "cute" their parents married too.
"It’s honestly not that bad compared to people dating their cousins and they are not even biological siblings," one person pointed out.
"Guys chill out they aren’t even related," another agreed.
"Like honestly that is so cute your mom marrying his dad and you marrying him," a fourth wrote.
"This genuinely makes me so happy!! I love this so much," said another.
This article was originally published on Yahoo News Australia.
Watch: First Dates star marries match from Channel 4 show after being given five years to live