After Matching on Bumble, Jess and Nick Built a New Life—and Launched Two New Careers—Together

Jess and Nick are standing together at the beach. Jess is looking towards the camera, smiling.

By Ashley Edwards Walker

In May 2021, Jess, a fifth-grade teacher, had just arrived back home in Texas from a trip to New York City, and was waiting at the Houston airport for her luggage at baggage claim. To kill time, she took out her phone and started scrolling through Bumble. Elsewhere in the city, Nick, also a fifth-grade reading teacher, was at his home doing the same thing. Normally, they wouldn’t have shown up in each other’s Bumble queues. Although both called Houston home, they lived in suburbs on opposite sides of the city and used Bumble’s location filter to limit their search to a 20-30 mile radius from where they lived—Lake City for Jess and Spring for Nick, more than an hour apart. But, as fate would have it, their brief proximity lasted long enough to result in a match. 

Nick and Jess are both ambitious people who are “interested in always improving” and “passionate about doing our best,” says Nick. Back then, Nick was looking for a relationship with someone who had what he calls “teaching qualities: patient, understanding, caring, compassionate.” Those are characteristics he associated with someone who would, like him, be constantly looking for ways to grow and evolve, and would push him to do the same. So when he came across Jess’s profile and saw that she was an educator, he swiped right. 

Jess and Nick are standing together and smiling at the camera. Jess is wearing a white tank top and Nick is wearing a blue print shirt.

Jess wasn’t quite as clear on what she hoped to find on Bumble, but she was open to new possibilities. When she saw Nick’s profile, she swiped right because she thought he was cute. At the very least, she figured, they’d have things in common given their shared profession and the similar religious and political beliefs they’d expressed on their Bumble profiles. After they matched and Jess reached out to say hi, they spent two weeks messaging back and forth and talking on the phone, falling into an easy discussion about work, with the end of the school year approaching, and their summer plans. “I think teachers, especially young teachers, have a really specific experience,” says Jess. “So we knew what each other’s days were like.” Eventually, they hopped on a video call, and after chatting for a few hours, they decided to meet in person. Their first date was scheduled for the last day of school to celebrate the completion of another year of teaching.

Although both had initially been hesitant to date someone who lived more than 30 miles away, soon, the 60 miles between their homes didn’t seem like such a big deal—especially when Nick offered to drive the hour-plus to Jess. The day of the date, Nick picked Jess up at her apartment and they headed to a beachfront restaurant in nearby Galveston, Texas for fish tacos. As they discussed their summer plans and goals for the near future, Nick was impressed that Jess was already planning for the next school year, including some professional development she was aiming to complete. Growing up, his parents had always instilled in him the belief that “it wasn’t what you do, but how you do it,” he explains. So finding a partner who was committed to self-improvement was important to him. 

Jess and Nick are taking a selfie together with Jess's engagement ring on show. Both are smiling at the camera.

Likewise, Nick had an eye toward the future, revealing during that first date that he was planning to apply to law school and pursue a legal career. “Right from the beginning I decided, if we’re going to date, I’m going to support that goal,” says Jess. It helped that the idea of moving elsewhere in the U.S. was exciting to Jess. Jess had grown up in England, so had a desire to see more of her adopted home country. This led to them discussing their shared values and beliefs. “It felt like we were on the same page about a lot of things,” Jess recalls. “I just felt comfortable with him, when normally I’m a lot slower to feel comfortable with someone new.” After discovering they had yet another thing in common—both have similar wave tattoos—they decided to end the date on a spontaneous note: running into the ocean fully clothed. “It was a really fun afternoon,” says Nick.

With the academic year behind them, Jess and Nick had the whole summer to continue getting to know each other, and took advantage of their wide-open calendars. “We were really lucky that we were able to commit to traveling to see each other for those first couple of months,” says Jess. The two fell for each other quickly, spending almost every day together after that first date, going to the beach or exploring new spots around their respective neighborhoods. They ate seafood and swam in the ocean. For the Fourth of July, Jess accompanied Nick to his family’s cabin in Oklahoma to celebrate the holiday and meet his parents and relatives. It felt like everything was falling into place, which gave them the confidence to have more serious conversations about what they wanted for their future, and how they could continue growing together as a couple. 

By the time the new school year kicked off that autumn, Nick and Jess decided they were ready to tackle those goals they’d discussed back on their first date (law school for Nick, new experiences for Jess). And they chose to pursue their objectives together. “Despite all of lifeʼs challenges, I’ve always felt secure in our relationship because we approach everything from the same team,” explains Jess. When Nick started applying to law schools that fall, he made sure Jess was involved in the decision-making process, taking her through all the options that were on the table, and even giving her veto power if she felt strongly about a place. Ultimately, they agreed they didn’t want to end up in a big city, and settled on the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. At this point, Jess knew she was ready to move on from teaching to a career that was more financially stable. And being in a college town meant there would be ample opportunities to put her skills as an educator to use and pursue another degree in a new field if she decided.

Jess and Nick are standing together smiling at the camera. Nick is wearing a black T-shirt with the word 'groom' on the front of it. Jess is wearing a white t-shirt with the word 'bride'.

In March 2022, Nick proposed to Jess on the same beach where they shared their first date. Then, after another blissful summer spent on the Texas coast, they packed up their belongings and moved nearly 20 hours north to Ann Arbor. It was a new chapter, and yet another opportunity for Jess and Nick to grow together as a couple. While they loved being so close to both of their families in Texas, Jess says the change presented “a really nice opportunity for us to experience something new together.” 

Even with their August 2023 wedding on the horizon, Nick and Jess didn’t slow down. Nick finished his first year of law school. Shortly after they moved to Ann Arbor, Jess started working for U-M’s medical system as a training specialist, using her background as an educator to teach new doctors and nurses how to use a patient communication system. With Nick’s support, she also started a masters program at the University of Michigan Dearborn in business information systems. “He supports me in everything I do,” says Jess. “He believes in me, encourages me, and hypes me up whenever I need it.” 

No doubt, Jess and Nick are a driven couple, and they attribute their continued accomplishments to their mutual respect and encouragement of each other. “Our lives look nothing like they did when we met,” Jess continues. “Weʼve both grown and achieved so much because of the support we give each other.”