Cass Forgot to “Pause” Bumble When She Returned to Her Hometown—and Ended Up Finding Her Future Wife

Cass and Taylor at a wedding together.

By Elle Hunt

In late 2019, Taylor, an accountant based in Iowa, was hoping to meet someone outside her immediate circle. “It’s not easy to meet people that you don’t already know in Des Moines,” she says. “It’s just small.” Plus, having dated both men and women, Taylor realized that she “definitely had a preference” for women, making her dating pool even smaller. 

Eager to expand her social circle, she downloaded Bumble. She was looking for someone outgoing and adventurous, who shared her passion for sports and the outdoors, and who was comfortable in their sexuality. “I was definitely ready to settle down,” Taylor says.

Cass was also from Des Moines, but had moved to Chicago to pursue her dreams in improv comedy and acting. She, too, had signed up for Bumble hoping to connect with people outside of her circles. “I refused to date another actor,” she says. After years of juggling gigs and temp work, she felt ready to prioritize her personal life. “I wanted to put myself out there and start looking for a serious relationship,” Cass says. 

That October, when Cass returned to Des Moines for a visit, she forgot to turn on Travel Mode on Bumble so she could continue swiping in Chicago. As a new arrival on the Des Moines scene, she was instantly “inundated” with likes. “I thought, ‘Wow, I’m really popular!’” she says. Although Cass doesn’t remember Taylor’s profile in particular, “I remember texting her, ‘Let’s meet up!’” she says.

Cass left, Taylor, right

Taylor, for her part, had right-swiped on Cass’s profile because one of her pictures showed her at a soccer game—Taylor had played at state level—and they had attended the same college. Though Taylor didn’t remember Cass from back then, knowing they had shared experiences and interests was a drawcard. When they matched, Taylor happened to be at a bar with a college friend who recognized Cass. His description of her further piqued Taylor’s interest. “It made me think: ‘OK, she sounds fun’.”

The day after they matched, there was an Iowa State homecoming football game. Both Cass and Taylor were out bar-hopping with friends, and in a spur-of-the-moment decision, they agreed to meet at the next bar. When Taylor walked in, Cass recognized a member of her group. “I was like, ‘Oh my god, you know people that I know!’”. 

Their first meeting ended up feeling more like a casual get-together with friends rather than a traditional one-on-one date, but they both noticed how easily their friends got along. For Cass, that blending and common ground “was a big green flag,” she says. “It was very casual and fun, but we got a lot covered on that first date.”

Nevertheless, Cass was looking for a relationship closer to Chicago. After the weekend, she went home and the conversation with Taylor petered out. Taylor felt the same way—she was settled in Des Moines and not looking for something long-distance. “Honestly, I didn’t think I’d see her again,” says Taylor—but she admits feeling disappointed over their missed connection. “I definitely thought we were compatible and that we could have had a lot of fun.”

Taylor, left, Cass, right

While Taylor kept swiping for a connection in Des Moines, Cass deleted Bumble not long after returning to Chicago, having lost enthusiasm for dating. But on her next visit home for Thanksgiving a month later, she caught up with two friends who told her of their difficulties in finding their own romantic connections. The effort they were putting in made Cass think of Taylor and the fun they’d had on their first date. “I thought, ‘I really liked this girl’,” she says.

When Taylor got a message from Cass suggesting they meet up again, she was surprised. “I was like, ‘Oh wow, she actually did like me!’” Taylor says. They met up that night, then ended up spending every day together of the week Cass was in town. “We just wanted to stay out talking, we had connected so deeply,” says Taylor.

By the time Cass boarded her flight home to Chicago, Taylor was already planning a visit. “We couldn’t wait to see each other again,” she says. A month later, in December 2019, they became an official couple. They started visiting each other every weekend. “I knew within the first couple of months that we were compatible and could see a future together,” says Taylor, who confesses occasionally skipping her flight home to catch a later bus, just so they could spend more time together. 

By December, they had agreed on “official girlfriend status”, says Taylor. But the coronavirus pandemic forced them to make a decision about their future. When the city shut down, Taylor was in Chicago on a visit and Cass was doing temp work, having been laid off a few months earlier. Cass returned home with Taylor to Des Moines with just one bag packed, thinking that she might be there for a week or two. “Cut to three years later, and I still live here,” she says. At first, it was exciting to spend so much time together after the back-and-forth on buses. “We found a way to coexist very quickly,” says Taylor.

Taylor left, Cass, right

But as the pandemic wore on, Cass in particular struggled with the upheaval. After six years away from Des Moines, she felt disconnected from her hometown, plus she was at a crossroads in her career. “It was really hard. I was essentially starting over,” she says.

Amidst all the uncertainty, Taylor was an unshakeable source of support. “From the beginning, she grounded me,” says Cass, who is now training to be a teacher. “I just knew that whatever I ended up doing, Taylor was coming along with, or I was going along with her—it was never in question.” For Taylor, the strength of their bond lies in their differences. “We balance each other: I like to plan everything, and Cass reminds me to live in the moment and enjoy it,” she says. 

Their engagement captured this perfectly. Cass intended to propose to Taylor on their vacation to Paris in early 2023, but she ended up blurting out the question on Christmas Eve of 2022 at home in Des Moines. “It was just so magical around the tree,” says Cass. “I had so much adrenaline, I can’t even remember everything I said, but I know that I told her that I loved her, that she’s the greatest thing to ever happen to me, and that I want to spend the rest of my life with her.”

Despite having grown up in the same town, gone to rival high schools, and attended the same college, it took Bumble to finally bring Taylor and Cass together. “We were like ships in the night for 20 years,” says Cass. Not long after they started dating, they unearthed a fun fact: they had actually been on opposite sides of the soccer field before. Taylor’s mom had even snapped a photograph of Taylor scoring a goal at her first varsity game over Cass, the goalie. Cass grimaces: “I’ll never live it down.” Now they’re finally on the same team and set to get married June 14, 2024.

Main photo credit: Laura Wills Photography