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After a Breakup, A Bipartisan Union

After a Breakup, A Bipartisan Union

Caroline Marie Darmody first noticed Jared Joseph Jones during a February 2016 orientation session for an upcoming staff delegation trip to India. At the time, both worked as legislative assistants in Washington, but on different sides of the aisle: Mr. Jones for Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Ms. Darmody for Democratic Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III of Massachusetts.

“I was seated across this long rectangular table from Jared,” Ms. Darmody said. “I thought, who’s this big happy teddy bear person?”

Later that month, the two arrived in India. “At the time, I was a young, hard-line, left-of-center, ‘I don’t speak to Republicans’ sort of person,” she said. In addition to politics, there were some differences in their upbringings as well. Ms. Darmody spent most of her childhood in Miami and Mr. Jones is from an unincorporated community in West Virginia called Volga.

But despite all that, Ms. Darmody was charmed by the jokes Mr. Jones told as they toured the country.

Soon after returning home, Ms. Darmody, 35, emailed Mr. Jones, 38, to ask him out. On leap day, they met for a drink at Bier Baron Tavern in Washington’s Dupont Circle neighborhood. The date went swimmingly.

More dates followed until Ms. Darmody received a call in March 2016 saying she had been accepted to Harvard Law School. They weren’t sure they would be able to make a long-distance relationship work. “She’s moving away and she’s going to marry a khaki pants Harvard Law School guy from a good family in Greenwich, Connecticut,” Mr. Jones said.

Though they continued to date for her first two years of school, their political divide sometimes felt difficult. “Trump’s election changed a lot of things,” Mr. Jones said. They also “came down differently on the Kavanaugh confirmation.”

They would fight and Ms. Darmody would think: “Could I ever raise children with someone who thinks that?” They broke up in the fall of 2018.

Believing their political differences were partly to blame, Ms. Darmody put her foot down: “Enough Republicans,” she said, and decided to go on 50 first dates. “I went out on a lot of dates with a lot of liberal guys,” she said. But she noticed something about many of the men she was seeing.

“When it came to the nuts and bolts of daily life, these guys weren’t great champions of women,” she said. But Jared had “supported without hesitation or qualification every big dream I ever had. It reminds me of how Ruth Bader Ginsburg used to talk about Marty.”

So, when Mr. Jones reached out and asked her to lunch in early 2022, she said yes. “Jared was actually really one of a kind,” Ms. Darmody said. “Politics and political beliefs are one measure of a person’s character but certainly not the only measure.”

They got back together that fall and knew they were headed toward marriage. Mr. Jones picked out a ring and, on July 30, 2023, they hiked the Maryland Heights trail and he proposed at an overlook. The couple moved in together in Georgetown, where they still live.

Ms. Darmody is now an attorney at Jenner & Block, a Chicago-based law firm, and works from their Washington office. She received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Amherst College and a law degree from Harvard.

Mr. Jones is a senior attorney at the IRS Office of Chief Counsel in Washington. He is also a major in the United States Army Reserve and an instructor at the United States Army Command and General Staff College at Ft. Belvoir, Va. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science, a master’s in business administration and a law degree, all from West Virginia University. He also received a Master of Laws in taxation from Georgetown University. Mr. Jones’s previous marriage ended in divorce.

When it came time, Ms. Darmody chose their wedding venue: the 138-year-old Army and Navy Club. Elizabeth Ann Copeland, a judge of the United States Tax Court and Mr. Jones’s former boss, officiated.

The reception was held in the venue’s “very formal and old and male” dining room, Ms. Darmody said. But their party brought some new energy into the space. “It was lit up like a nightclub in front of these paintings of George Washington.”

Mr. Jones said he appreciated the convergence as well. “My side of the wedding was mostly either military or West Virginia and there were 12 Harvard JDs on Caroline’s side,” he said. “In this esteemed room in the Army and Navy Club, we had two sides of America having such a blast together.”

He added: “This is a reflection of our story. Two totally different worlds that don’t spend enough time together.”

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