By Ashley Edwards Walker
In summer 2021, Stacey, a pilates instructor and actor, decided to start dating again after getting out of an unhappy relationship. Having just turned 60, she was skeptical she’d ever find “true love.” But she figured she could at least have fun, and challenged herself to go on 52 dates in 52 weeks. “I thought, ‘Worst case scenario, I get great material to write a book,’” she says. “‘Best case scenario, I live happily ever after.’” After trying several dating sites and apps, she found herself underwhelmed by the results, going on just one date. Then, she read about Bumble and decided to give it a try, figuring that she had nothing to lose.
Stacey set up her Bumble profile and was thrilled when she got a notification letting her know that she was getting noticed. But it wasn’t until she complained to a friend that no men reached out after matching that her friend explained it’s actually women who make the first move on Bumble. Sure enough, when Stacey logged back into the app, she discovered all of her existing matches had expired—except David, who had extended their match for an additional 24 hours.
When David, a comedian and actor, came across Stacey’s profile, he’d felt an instant attraction. “I think it was her smile and her eyes,” he says. He also liked that Stacey’s pilates career indicated she was similarly interested in fitness. Rarely had he opted to extend time with past matches, but he decided to take a chance on Stacey. His gamble paid off. After taking a closer look at David’s profile, Stacey liked how open he was about his sobriety, spirituality, and that he prayed and made his bed every morning. “His profile was the most honest I’ve ever read,” she says.
For her opening line, Stacey kept things practical; she asked David where he lived, since his geolocation showed Ohio, while his profile stated he was based in Maryland, not far from where Stacey lives in Pennsylvania. “I was okay with the Tri-state area,” she says. “But I’m thinking, ‘Oh my god, I can’t do a long-distance relationship.’” Luckily, David was just visiting Ohio for a work conference, and confirmed they only lived a few hours apart. Even better, he was already planning to travel through Pennsylvania the following week on his way to visit family in New Jersey. When he asked Stacey if he could take her out to lunch, she agreed.
In the week leading up to their first date, Stacey and David continued getting to know each other through text and talking on the phone. They discussed everything from their children and past relationships, to their passions and aspirations, to whether David would be willing to relocate to Pennsylvania, where Stacey’s pilates studio has been operating for 22 years. They felt it was important to put everything on the table rather than risk wasting time. “When you’re young and building your life, there’s certain criteria you’re looking for,” explains Stacey. “But we’re on the other side of that, and that grocery list of things you look for is very different.”
By the time they met in person, they’d already established a level of comfort—so much so that when David showed up at Stacey’s pilates studio with two raspberry lattes, he greeted her with a kiss right away. “And I kissed him back,” says Stacey. Afterwards, they went out for sushi and swapped stories. Stacey was impressed by David’s comedic skills. “I don’t think I’ve ever laughed that hard,” she says. And David was equally impressed by Stacey’s wit. “She just riffed right back at me,” he says. “I was like, ‘Wow, this girl can hang.’” They both also appreciated that each had “full lives,” and were looking for a partner who would “complement” them, but not “complete” them. David says he left the date “flying high and shining.” He dropped Stacey back off at her pilates studio. “I got a wonderful kiss goodbye,” she says. “Then he texted me immediately to tell me that he’s deleting all of his dating apps.”
The date with David was only the second out of the 52 dates Stacey planned to go on. She left that meetup wanting to continue getting to know him. But when, just a few hours after their date, he texted that they should get their kids together to meet, she told him the relationship was moving too quickly. “I might have come on a little bit too strong,” David admits now. He accepted Stacey’s decision to cut things off, although he was bummed enough that he opted to block Stacey on social media so he didn’t have to see her “frolic into a new relationship.” Meanwhile, Stacey continued pursuing other matches and went on a third date. And yet, David was never far from her mind. “I was on Bumble again, scanning through other profiles going ‘not David, not David, not David,’” she says of that time.
Fortunately, they got a second chance two weeks later. David had, in fact, deleted his dating apps. But when he got back on Bumble, Stacey saw his profile and reached out again. She explained that she really liked him, but that she’d been overwhelmed by his intensity. They spoke on the phone, each opening up about how they’d been hurt in past relationships. “He told me, ‘You’re going to have to open your heart sometime,’” recalls Stacey. The thought stayed with her. And when David invited her to visit him in Maryland the following weekend, she agreed. They spent 24 hours together, visiting David’s local farmer’s market and favorite antique shops. Stacey was impressed when he woke her up in the morning singing and making her “the most amazing cup of coffee.” On the drive home, she called a friend and told her, “I think I fell in love with this guy.” A few weeks later, David showed up on Stacey’s doorstep, having driven there in the middle of an early-fall hurricane, and confessed he loved her, too.
Their relationship continued as swiftly as it started. After meeting each other’s families that fall, David proposed to Stacey in New York City in December, just four months after they first matched. They got married a month later, in January 2022, during a New Year’s trip to Puerto Rico. While a few of their friends and family initially expressed concern about their whirlwind romance, once everyone saw them interact as a couple, “they were so happy for us,” says Stacey, adding, “when you know, you know.” And David agrees: “You can think of all the reasons why it shouldn’t work. Or you can focus on the love and say, ‘Hey, let’s do this.’”