Gemma Burrows (left) and Joel Rabago

Gemma Burrows and Joel Rabago have met only once during their two-year romance

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February 19, 2019 04:38 PM

It was love at first sight for Gemma Burrows and Joel Rabago — through a computer screen.

Burrows, 26, and Rabago, 28, are preparing to wed in May despite having only met once in person and maintaining their long distance relationship through the livestream broadcasting community, LiveMe.

“I thought she was an awesome person. She was sweet and her personality showed in her messages,” Rabago tells PEOPLE. As for Burrows, she says she was immediately drawn to Rabago’s “cool” personality.

“He had this really lively energy,” she says. “He had this caring way about him. You could tell the way he cared about people.”

Courtesy Gemma Burrows and Joel Rabago

They began chatting privately and started a relationship just three days after they first encountered each other on the app. Burrows lives in Peterborough, England, thousands of miles away from Rabago, who lives in Marysville, California.

But that didn’t stop the duo from growing their relationship.

“I was excited but also scared at the same time. All I’d heard about long-distance dating is that it never lasted. So I was skeptical about it. But I knew how I felt about it,” Rabago tells PEOPLE. “We kind of just jumped into the relationship. I knew she was gonna be mine. I just blurted it out on LiveMe that I had a girlfriend, and that [Burrows] was my girlfriend.”

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Courtesy Gemma Burrows and Joel Rabago

After a year of dating via livestream, Burrows traveled to California in October 2017 with her daughter, now 6, where she met Rabago for the first time. The trip was made even more special when Rabago surprised her with a marriage proposal.

“I wasn’t expecting it. I was hinting when we were broadcasting about being engaged. But when I visited him I wasn’t expecting it,” Burrows gushes.

“We went to a camp site, and he brought a cake and I wasn’t expecting that. On the cake itself ‘Congratulations!’ I didn’t know what to think. Then I turned around and he was on one knee!”

Rabago says his family helped him pop the question, and were excited when Burrows agreed.

“I was just really excited! Even seeing her at the airport my knees went weak,” he tells PEOPLE.

The couple says the year since their engagement has been difficult as they plan for their wedding and for Burrows to move to California.

“I’m so excited! I keep trying to find a way to move their faster but there’s no other options!” Burrows says.

They plan to wed in a small wedding on May 20. But Rabago says he eventually wants to give Burrows a “grand” wedding.

“I’m looking forward to having a family of our own and being able to live together,” Rabago tells PEOPLE. “When we’re separated it gets harder and harder. We’re so excited for her to finally stay here.”

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