They were described as the perfect couple, deeply in love and thinking of spending the rest of their lives together.
The future Joanna Yeates and Greg Reardon were planning was stolen by Vincent Tabak in the most horrifying of circumstances.
And for Tanja Morson her dreams of getting married and starting a family were dashed by the shocking prison confession from the man she loved that he was a killer.
The realisation that her boyfriend was addicted to internet pornography and had paid for sex with a prostitute would have been another devastating blow for an already shattered heart.
As Miss Morson begins to rebuild her life, so does Mr Reardon, coming to terms with the loss of his girlfriend.
Mr Reardon and Miss Yeates started working together in the autumn of 2008 and by that Christmas they were a couple.
They moved in together in the summer of 2009, living at Westbury Park in Bristol, and cemented their relationship by getting a black and white cat called Bernard.
Rebecca Scott, her best friend from school, said Miss Yeates and Mr Reardon had been looking forward to spending New Year in Edinburgh.
''I was just happy for her. When she said she was getting a new cat, I knew it was the real deal with her and Greg,'' she said.
''They were in it for the long term. (They were) the perfect couple.''
After Miss Yeates disappeared, Mr Reardon made desperate appeals for help, speaking of his love for his girlfriend.
''I desperately want her back - I thought we would be together forever,'' he said.
''She was my future. This Christmas was going to be our first together. I was going to spend it with her family, which is always a big deal for a boyfriend.''
Miss Yeates's family also spoke lovingly of the young couple.
Just two days before her body was found, her father, David, said: ''Her and Greg were totally in love and devoted to each other.''
Like many young couples in Bristol, Miss Yeates and Mr Reardon moved to Clifton - attracted by its eclectic culture and vibrant nightlife.
Another couple, Tabak and Miss Morson - also in the first throes of their relationship - were living in Clifton as well.
Their lives were to be irreparably damaged when Miss Yeates and Mr Reardon moved into the neighbouring ground floor flat at 44 Canynge Road on October 25 last year.
Tabak and Miss Morson began seeing each other in November 2008 after she contacted him through the online dating site Guardian Soulmates.
Their relationship developed and by the following June they had set up home together in Canynge Road.
During his trial, Tabak spoke lovingly of his girlfriend: ''We were constantly calling, texting and emailing each other several times a day.''
They had a wide social circle and friends commented on their closeness and Tabak's loving affection towards Miss Morson.
She thought Tabak was ''the one'' and confided in girlfriends that she was thinking of marriage.
Sarah Maddock, a friend since they studied together at Exeter University, said: ''I spoke to Tanja on the phone some time early January this year after I returned from being away for Christmas and
''We spoke about a wedding we were both invited to and about the fact I was pregnant again.
''And Tanja told me that her and Vincent were thinking about marrying and starting a family this year. The question seemed to when rather than if.
''I was delighted to hear that.''
But unknown to Miss Morson, the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with was using prostitutes, escorts and internet pornography.
Her life was shattered when her boyfriend's betrayal culminated in the death of Miss Yeates at his hands.
But after the killing, Tabak was seeking solace from Miss Morson, sending her text messages and telling her how much he loved her.
''I just wanted to reach out to Tanja to speak to her, to get support from her, to hear her voice, anything,'' Tabak said.
In the following hours, days and weeks he could not bring himself to tell the person he had been going to spend the rest of his life with what he had done.
And just a few feet away - divided by a partitioned wall - was Mr Reardon, overwhelmed by grief at the loss of his soulmate.