Matthew and Iris Were Supposed To Be Set Up by Their Friends, but in a Twist of Fate, They Matched on Bumble

Matt and Iris are looking at each other. Matt has his arm around Iris's shoulder. She is wearing a blue denim jacket and Matt is wearing a blue shirt.

After going through a divorce, Matthew, a U.S. Army soldier and instructor based in Fort Bliss, Texas, decided he was ready to get back into dating. A friend and his wife were eager to set him up with one of their friends, but Matthew declined. “I thought that if the setup goes poorly, it may create friction with my friends,” he explains. So, setting out to search for potential matches on his own, Matthew decided to try a dating app. After doing some research, Matthew chose Bumble for its ‘women make the first move’ mechanism. He was looking for a serious relationship and liked knowing messages he received would be from women who definitely wanted to talk to him. As soon as he downloaded the app and created his profile, Iris’s profile was the first that popped up in his dating queue. Not only did Matthew find her “beautiful,” but he was also impressed by her career as a nurse practitioner. “People talk a lot about what soldiers do for society,” he says, “But nurses and medical professionals are doing so much meaningful work every single day. I have a lot of respect for that.”

Iris, who is also divorced, was “going on seven years of not dating anyone at all,” she says, when she came across Matthew’s Bumble profile. She, too, had a friend who was trying to set her up with someone, but she was “content” with her life as a single mom. She only decided to try Bumble after another friend downloaded the app on her phone and helped her create a profile. At first, the initial influx of matches and attention Iris received was a “confidence booster,” she admits. But, having never tried online dating before, she quickly felt overwhelmed. She went on a few dates, but didn’t feel a spark with anyone. 

When she next opened Bumble, in May 2021, it was actually with the intention of deleting her profile—until she got a notification that she’d matched with Matthew. She considered ignoring it. But then she thought, “I’ll give it one last shot to see what’s out there,” she says.

Matthew and Iris are standing together, laughing. Matt is holding Iris. She is wearing a green check shirt and he is wearing a blue top.

Iris opened the conversation with Matthew with a simple, “Good morning.” It wasn’t a lot to go on, but Matthew was just thrilled she’d messaged him. They quickly started chatting, discussing their plans for the day (it was a Saturday) and getting to know each other. They discussed their respective divorces. Iris liked that Matthew was upfront about his desire to find a deep connection, which is what she wanted as well. Their exchanges got so long that Matthew switched over to sending voice memos, at which point Iris suggested he just call her. While they were talking on the phone, just hours after matching, Iris told Matthew she was about to start a new job, so it was her last free weekend for a while. “I told him, ‘If you want to meet, it’s got to be tonight,’” she says. So they made plans to meet for dinner a few hours later.

Matthew was the first to arrive at the restaurant. He was excited, but once Iris walked in, he became nervous. “I looked at her and I saw her smile and how pretty she was in person,” he says. “I thought, ‘Okay, I’m going to get one date with this girl. She’s never going to give me a second date. She’s way too pretty for me.’” Iris could tell Matthew was nervous, but found it endearing, especially because he seemed stern and serious in his Bumble profile photos. And once Matthew started getting more comfortable and opening up, she loved how his face was transformed when he smiled. 

Iris and Matthew ended up spending seven hours together that first night, staying at the restaurant until it closed, then walking around a nearby park until the wee hours of the morning. When they spoke the following day, they decided they’d both delete their Bumble profiles and date exclusively. “At a minimum, I knew I wanted to see where it went,” says Matthew, who’d been on Bumble all of 36 hours at that point. “I didn’t want to divide my energy in 10 different directions. I knew from the first date that she was a very special woman.” That suited Iris: she’d been planning to delete the app anyway, and was also invested in seeing how their connection could grow. Over the week that followed, both eager to spend as much time together as possible, the couple went on nine more dates, doubling up for lunch and dinner when their schedules allowed. And it was on the second date that they realized they might have been fated to meet—even if it took Bumble for them to actually do so.

Matt and Iris are standing together on their wedding day. Both are smiling at the camera.

Matthew and Iris were out at dinner for their second date when the conversation turned to their romantic histories. They started discussing how they both had friends who’d been trying to set them up. They agreed that they were glad that they hadn’t met those blind dates because they’d found a great match with each other on Bumble. But as they continued to talk about their friends, Matthew and Iris realized they were talking about the same people. Not only that, but they realized they were actually the blind date those friends had been trying to arrange. Finding the whole thing hilarious, they took a selfie and texted it to their friends. “They were shocked,” Iris says, especially since she had been talking to the wife in that couple about the new guy she was dating and they hadn’t put two and two together. Her husband had a more pragmatic—and funny—reaction. “He was like, ‘I’m glad you guys found each other because now I don’t have to feel responsible if it doesn’t go well,’” Matthew laughs. The whole situation made their match feel even more fated. “In a city of a million people, we somehow found each other that fast on a dating app, after months of our friends trying to connect us,” says Matthew. 

From there, their relationship and commitment only continued to grow—even when Matthew’s career with the Army took him out of Texas. After three months of dating, going out to dinner and on hikes, spending time in nature together, and meeting each other’s kids and families, Matthew was restationed eight hours away in Colorado Springs, Colo. Before he left, he told Iris he understood if she wasn’t up for a long-distance relationship, but she told him: “I’d rather date you and make this work across this distance than be with anybody else.” They started traveling back and forth every few weeks to see each other and went on virtual dates in between, sharing dinner or watching movies together via video call. “We learned to really make each date count,” says Iris. Their relationship faced another turning point when Matthew and Iris got the news that Matthew was being deployed to the Netherlands, then Poland, for almost three months. Luckily, while overseas, Matthew learned he was accepted into a fellowship program that would take him back to Fort Bliss, Texas, where the couple had originally met. They’d already committed to continuing their relationship long distance, but this gave them a light at the end of the tunnel.

Today, Matthew and Iris are happily married and relieved to be living under the same roof. And even though they might have eventually met through their friends, they think meeting on Bumble actually made it easier to form a lasting connection. For Iris, writing her Bumble profile gave her an opportunity to make it clear she was interested in finding a genuine connection, something she might not have been bold enough to state to someone she just met in person. The same is true for Matthew. “We both knew what we wanted and were honest about it from the beginning,” she says. Matthew points out that meeting through Bumble also gave them “ownership” over their relationship that they might not have felt if their friends were the ones to set them up. “Nobody chose Iris for me, and nobody chose me for her,” he says. “We saw each other, and then we started communicating and realized it was like talking to an old friend. And she’s been my best friend since.”

Main photo credit: Veronica Cook Photography