Lauren Sinnenberg ’10 and Tyler Rainer ’11

January 10, 2021

“This is probably a lesbian cliché, but we played in the same soccer team,” Rainer said. The two were teammates and friends for nearly three years before they began dating in the week leading up to Sinnenberg’s graduation.

“We found ourselves lingering,” Sinnenberg said. “When we would be hanging out with a group, we would stay and talk … I remember standing in the Morgan staircase for an hour talking to Tyler.”

Before their relationship with each other, neither Sinnenberg nor Rainer had ever dated another woman before. As they were navigating the formation of a new relationship, they were also navigating an unexplored facet of their identities.

“We’re obviously both gay,” Sinnenberg laughed. “So it was like, ‘Oh, yeah, this is what it’s supposed to be like,’ you know what I mean?”

“Everything is more intense,” Rainer agreed. “Like more passion, more love, more fear, more — all of this. All of the things are amplified.”

At the same time, the fact that neither were public about their sexuality yet added a dimension of anxiety to their burgeoning relationship. “Our Williams soccer community is some of the most loving, respectful, caring, open-minded humans that exist,” Rainer said. “But I think there’s first-time fear and anxieties.”

“I think we had built it up,” Sinnenberg agreed. “It didn’t end up being an issue. We used to go on dates to Northampton, so we could hold hands.”

After Sinnenberg graduated, she moved to New York. While she originally planned to spend a year in South Africa, she ultimately decided to live and work closer to Rainer, who joined her the following year, after her own graduation. They separated for another year when Sinnenberg headed to Philadelphia, Pa. for medical school before Rainer joined her again.

Despite multiple periods of being long-distance, the two said they were simply happy to be together. “We were basically not explicitly dating but in a romantic relationship over Skype,” Sinnenberg said. “It was definitely very emotional; it definitely felt like it was a relationship. So then, for it to go back to distance, I think probably felt kind of natural to us. It was sort of the way in which we had known each other.”

When Sinnenberg proposed to Rainer, gay marriage had not yet been legalized nationwide. “We kind of went into getting married thinking that we weren’t going to be able to make it legal on a federal level,” Sinnenberg said.

But a month later, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges legalized same-sex marriage across the country. “We actually had friends who got married the weekend after it was legalized,” Sinnenberg said. “That was a pretty emotional time.”

Rainer and Sinnenberg themselves were married in the Catskills, N.Y. Though they chose not to return to Williamstown for their wedding, as many other alums did, the College still has a strong presence in their lives. “The home we live in currently is from Williams alums,” Rainer said.

“And our grill is from Williams alums,” Sinnenberg added.

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