Brenda Dargan, 40, Brooklyn

For Brenda Dargan, meeting Shirley made life click into place — after one major adjustment.

It started slow: They were introduced by a mutual friend, and ran into each other repeatedly over several months before either made a move. “The friend who introduced us told me of her interest,” Brenda says. “I began thinking about her a lot. Finally, we exchanged numbers.”

But the attraction was magnetic:  “Cocktails turned into dinner, then we went to another bar and had drinks. We had so much fun, the conversation never ended,” Brenda says. “We had brunch that weekend and began seeing each other regularly.”

However, the fact that Brenda hadn’t come out to her family eventually became a sticking point.

“I would say to myself, ‘When the right person comes along, I’ll tell them,’” Brenda says. “When Shirley came into my life, she was out and her family supported her. And she expected the same from me. She said she wasn’t going back in the closet.”

Though terrified, Brenda realized that she had to step up or risk losing the woman she loved.

“If I hadn’t met her, I might still be in the closet, evading questions about who I’m dating,” she says. “I came out to my parents with her encouragement. It’s the most freeing thing I’ve ever done. She was a real model to me, how she was with her family.”

Brenda adds, “To say that she turned my life upside down is an understatement. She really taught me how to live. She ignites something in me. She has the most amazing smile and a laugh that fills the room. I always want to be the cause of it.”