In 2017, Ruth, a PR consultant, was ready for a fresh start after a breakup. She wanted to move somewhere new, so when Ruth’s sister and brother-in-law invited her to stay with them for a little bit, Ruth took them up on it. She never saw herself moving across the country to Tynemouth, a coastal town northeast of Newcastle in the U.K.— “It’s too cold!,” Ruth says—but after a couple of weeks with her sister’s family, Ruth decided that she wanted to stay. She was given the option to work remotely, so she rented a flat a stone’s throw from the beach and figured that she would find a way to deal with the cold.
Ruth got into a routine of working from her co-working space, going to beach yoga, and exploring Tynemouth, which is full of “lots and lots of beaches, quaint little shops, and people who look out for each other,” she says. She was living alone for the first time since university, loving her independence and working to cultivate the life that she wanted. “It was quite empowering,” Ruth says.
As Ruth built up her confidence, she decided to try dating again. She found herself on a series of “disastrous” dates, but with every failed one, she started to feel more and more comfortable with the idea of being on her own. “Although it was hard, I realised I didn’t need a partner to be happy,” she says. “But it would be a nice bonus.” She had started “dabbling” with Bumble while looking for local friends on Bumble BFF, and figured that she might as well give Bumble Date a try. “Online dating simply didn’t exist the last time I was single, so I was a decade behind everyone else,” she says.
Not too long after, she found Jordan. Ruth says that it was by chance—she originally didn’t want to date anyone younger than her, but one day she decided to “just look, just in case.” Ruth changed her age filters slightly, which is how Jordan’s profile popped up. As soon as Ruth saw his profile, she had a strong, positive gut feeling about him. “I thought he was really handsome,” Ruth says. His profile “felt real,” and he’d “clearly put some time and care into it, which I liked.”
Before coming across Ruth’s profile, Jordan, a TV writer, was getting tired of dating. He felt like his Bumble messages and dates “never led anywhere serious,” and at this point in his life he was looking for a long-term relationship. He was drawn to Ruth’s candid photos—especially one of Ruth smiling with a huge plate of meat on a table in front of her. “I’ll always remember that photo of Ruth with the barbeque food,” he says. “I even remember that she had on a white t-shirt with a unicorn on it. That’s how much it’s in my head.” The photo not only showed Jordan that Ruth seemed genuine, but it also helped him guess that she was a foodie like him.
Ruth wanted to put some effort into her opening message to Jordan. “He looked like he was funny,” she says, “so I went with humour and sent him a GIF of the Titanic splitting into two with the caption, ‘Well, that’s an icebreaker.’” Before that, he had only received “Hey, how are you?” messages, so Ruth’s original first move stuck out. He replied that he had once dressed up as a frozen Titanic passenger for Halloween; she responded with a story about how she wore a rock star costume for her office’s Halloween costume contest, but lost to a coworker dressed as a pigeon. “I was so annoyed about it!” she laughs. From that initial conversation, “I immediately sensed that our humour was the same,” Jordan says “I knew we’d get on very quickly.”
When they finally set up a first date, they took a walk along the beach, got a coffee, and went to mini golf. As Jordan told Ruth stories about his family, her nerves started to melt away. After scoring a hole in one at mini golf, Jordan did “a silly little dance,” says Ruth. She then tried to mimic it, but ended up falling over, accidentally flashing her pants to the young family golfing behind them. As the day went on, it started to rain and they ran to take shelter under a beach hut, ending their date with a kiss. “It was the perfect first date, minus the bruised knee and ego,” says Ruth.
Ruth then went on holiday for a week, but she and Jordan kept in touch. She’d send him pictures of the sunsets and music that she thought he’d like. When she came back, they saw each other practically every day. Four months laters, they became official. “We were a natural fit,” says Jordan.
Their relationship deepened when Ruth had a health scare and needed a minor surgery. Afterwards, Jordan came to Ruth’s house to help her recover and stayed by her side the entire time. “It was early in our relationship to have something like this go on, but I thought, ‘I just really love this guy,’” says Ruth. For Jordan, there wasn’t any alternative—he knew he would step up. “Ruth’s my person,” he says. They continued to date for two years, spending their time together watching and chatting about films (“We’re both movie buffs,” says Ruth), watching American football games, and reading books in the sun. “We both have high-pressure jobs so we love taking time out to just relax and enjoy each other’s company,” says Ruth.
Jordan asked Ruth to marry him after a day spent recreating their first date (without Ruth falling over this time!). “I proposed to her by doing the exact same things we did on our first date: a walk on the beach, a coffee, and mini golf, in the exact same order,” he says. He got down on one knee in the spot where they had their first kiss.
Their wedding day was completely stress-free. “I was so relaxed because I knew that I was doing the right thing,” says Ruth. Jordan agrees: “We were marrying each other and that’s all that mattered.” Then U.K.’s COVID-19 lockdowns went into effect just a few days later, and Ruth and Jordan spent their first year of marriage in isolation. They made the best of it by having “date nights” (which entailed getting very dressed up for their permitted daily walk), attempting to recreate some of their favourite fast food at home, and adopting a cat named Ziggy.
Unable to go on their honeymoon because of the pandemic, Ruth and Jordan used the money that was put aside to make a payment on a new home in Newcastle. As they look to the future, they’re hoping to save to go on the honeymoon they missed out on in 2020. And no matter what they might go through in years to come, “it’ll be worth it,” Ruth says. “Jordan is the one I’ve been waiting for. He’s such a good man.”
With reporting by Beth Ashley.
Main photo credit: Nigel Playle Photography