By Sara Gaynes Levy
Heather, a New Yorker who works in the financial sector, was extremely nervous for her first date with Angela. So nervous, in fact, that she considered trying to cancel the date just because she hadn’t had time to do her hair that morning. But Heather convinced herself that it would seem like she was trying to blow Angela off, when the truth was the opposite: she was so excited to meet Angela that she was terrified that if everything on their first date wasn’t perfect, she’d screw up their connection. Later that day, just before their date was supposed to begin, she huddled on a street corner a few blocks away from the restaurant. She was on a video call with her best friend, trying to calm down before heading in to meet Angela. Little did she know, Angela walked right past this scene, saw Heather on the video call, and got a little spooked herself. “It made me so nervous,” she says. “I went into the restaurant, ordered a beer right away, and started wondering: did she see me and think I looked different in person? Did she decide that she didn’t want to meet up anymore?”
But when Heather entered the restaurant a few minutes later, both their nerves subsided. “Thankfully she smiled when she saw me,” recalls Angela, a cybersecurity engineer. “And when I saw her come through the door, there was an instant attraction.”
Despite what their pre-date jitters might indicate, Angela and Heather had already been talking for months before they finally met up in person. They matched on Bumble in late 2019, and exchanged flirty Bumble messages and social media messages for weeks, but still hadn’t made the jump to texting. Then, on New Year’s Eve, at midnight, Heather messaged Angela and said, “You never asked me for my number, so here it is,” adding: “My New Year’s resolution is to get to know you better.” It was bold, and maybe even a bit out of character for Heather, but it worked. Angela says she got butterflies when she read the message. “I want to get to know you, too,” she texted back. The fateful first date was a few weeks later.
The date, at a Mexican joint in midtown Manhattan, lasted nearly six hours. They connected on everything, from what tight-knit families they both come from to Heather’s obsession with her goldendoodle. There was no question there would be a second date. But there was something hanging over Heather’s head: her recent divorce. Her friends and family advised her to wait until the third or fourth date to bring it up, but their second date, a movie and drinks, was going so well that Heather decided not to wait. “I said, ‘I have something I have to tell you, and I don’t want you to freak out. My divorce is almost processed, but I’m divorced.’ And Angela was just like, ‘Thank you for telling me.’ And then that was kind of it,” Heather says. It was that easy! The simplicity and straightforwardness of the convo Heather took as another sign that Angela was the kind of person she was meant to be with.
After a few more four-hour-plus dates, the pandemic hit. Angela and Heather felt confident enough in their burgeoning relationship to bunk up together in Angela’s apartment in Queens, and spending all that extra time together strengthened their bond. Toward the end of 2020, they decided to make their living situation permanent, co-signing a lease to move in together. That was in early 2021, and they haven’t looked back since. “We share interests,” says Heather, “but we’re different enough to keep things going and interesting. We both agree that this is a relationship in which we both feel seen, heard, and unconditionally loved.”
There was one more big thing Heather wanted to discuss, though: she wanted to start a family, and pretty soon. “I’ve always wanted to have a kid,” says Heather. “I wanted to start family planning at 30.” As her 30th birthday approached in the summer of 2021, she broached the subject with Angela. “She was open to it, but she was kind of skeptical at first,” Heather admits. “But as our relationship, bond, and connection we have with each other progressed, I told her, ‘I think you would be an amazing mom,’ and she reciprocated the feeling.”
Last summer, the couple started the process of building their family, pursuing what’s known as reciprocal in vitro fertilization, or RIVF, where one partner donates eggs and the other partner carries the pregnancy (donor sperm is used for fertilization). Angela donated, as Heather wanted to carry.
But before the IVF process officially began, Heather suggested they do a photoshoot just the two of them. “I got my hair and makeup done, and we bought new outfits,” says Heather. She also picked up a cake from a bakery in Little Italy that Angela had been dying to try, and had “Will You Marry Me?” iced on to the cake. Yes, this was a surprise engagement shoot.
“I had the ring and the cake, and I was so nervous,” Heather says. She had also ordered some decoy lotto scratch-offs, and handed them to Angela before the photographer began to shoot. Angela scratched her card to reveal three rings and “will you marry me?” written on it. Then came the cake, echoing the question. “She said yes, we popped a bottle of champagne, and went on with the engagement shoot!” says Heather. A few months later, on a trip to the Caribbean for Heather’s 30th birthday, it was Angela’s turn to propose to Heather, which she did on the roof of their rental. While they’re loving being engaged, they’re not rushing to plan a wedding. “We want a baby first,” says Heather.
Joining Bumble after her divorce was a big decision for Heather. “Angela showed me how to love again,” she says. “Not just love her, but myself. She gives me unconditional acceptance and love like Iʼve never had before.” Angela’s reasons for joining Bumble couldn’t have been more different— “I wasn’t looking for anything serious!” she admits— but love, of course, finds a way. “I didn’t intend to find a wife on Bumble,” Angela says. “But I did. There was an instant connection with her that I couldn’t refuse. I really lucked out.”
Main photo credit: Chosen Photo LLC