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Going Through a Tough Time, Laura Wasn’t Looking for Love—But She Found Chris Anyway

By Kaitlin Menza

When Laura downloaded Bumble in spring 2019, she had absolutely no intention of dating someone seriously. “I just needed a distraction, to talk to people who didn’t really know what was going on with my family,” she says. The founder of her own public relations firm, she had recently moved home to Sydney, Australia after five years in the U.K. She returned home because her sister, who had just given birth to her second child, was diagnosed with cancer. “I wanted it for an escape, really. I figured It’d be great to just chat with a few people and feel good about myself when I got a ‘like.’”

The profile of Chris, a high school science teacher, stood out to her for its lack of showy selfies or shirtless pics. “None of it felt very staged,” she says. “He struck me as more of a grounded person. Very attractive, too, so that certainly did help.” Chris swiped right on Laura, he says, because he thought her photos indicated an outgoing woman who loved to travel. Plus, he’d also lived abroad, in the U.K. and Singapore. And there were “lots of smiling photos, which was great,” he says. 

Their initial chatter was easy, Laura remembers, but she attributes that partly to the fact that she was putting less pressure on herself, assuming they’d never meet up. It took a push from her friends to finally agree to ask Chris out. “I was looking after my sister’s newborn baby, and my friends said, ‘If you get time, do something for you! Which Bumble profile do you like most?’” She chose Chris, and impulsively asked if he was willing to meet up that very night, at a pub in Sydney that was convenient for them both. 

Despite everything she had going on at that precise moment, Chris has a glowing first impression of his future wife. “She is a human sunbeam,” he says. “She’s vivacious, extremely funny, confident, outgoing—much more than myself, I’m quite shy.” The pair’s conversation flowed easily, so much so that they wound up shutting the bar down. Finding Chris to be “the most relaxed human you’ll ever meet,” Laura opened up about why she’d abruptly moved back to Australia, and explained her sister’s illness. 

He responded differently, and better, than others had at that point. “He was the only person who handled it with some sort of empathy in terms of sharing his own story. He said, ‘I have a friend struggling with a severe illness at the moment,’” Laura says, “whereas everybody else went, ‘Oh, that’s hard,’ and didn’t know what else to say.” Moved by his willingness to connect, Laura was completely honest about her capacity at the time. “Straight away I said, I’m not after dating, but I appreciate someone to talk to,” she says. “I felt really guilty. It felt like, ‘Your sibling is potentially dying, and you’re thinking about your love life?!’”

Chris wasn’t daunted by the idea of dating a woman going through such a tough time. “I think even then I knew: I need to get to know this girl more,” he says. He kept the stakes low when asking her out again: “Whenever you have time, whenever you feel comfortable, I had heaps of fun,” Laura recalls him saying. 

She didn’t wait that long; a week later, they spent an entire day bar-hopping near the beach. “He created such fun for me,” Laura says. “I was actually enjoying myself, even during the worst imaginable time.” The pair started spending more and more time together, and Chris was careful to keep it light. “I didn’t put any pressure on us to hang out, or pressure on text replies or anything like that,” he says. “I knew that’d be the worst thing I could do.” A big surfer, he often invited her to hit the waves together. “She wasn’t the most confident surfer at the time, so I think it helped her to focus and disconnect from everything else that was happening,” he says.

The couple had their first date in May 2019, and were official by August. Laura’s sister had been diagnosed that March, and passed away in early September. Chris wound up meeting Laura’s parents for the first time the very day after her sister died, because the family was planning to eat at a pub nearby. He invited them over to his place instead. “We walked into the apartment, and he’d laid out five tissue boxes and some wine and cheese,” Laura says. “He gave my parents the biggest hug ever. Obviously there were some tears, but we actually ended up having the nicest night.”

Having experienced more in a season than some couples experience in years, the relationship progressed quickly. “Because of all that, we’d had very, very open discussions about everything, and never had to skirt around issues,” Laura says. Meanwhile, says Chris, “I think I knew she was the one from the first date.” They moved in together in May 2020, and adopted her sister’s dog, Barney. “I adopted a dog and a girlfriend came with it!” he cracks. “He is our little angel. He’s just absolutely wonderful.”

In April 2021, Chris proposed on a trip to England, dropping to one knee while on a walk through the Devon countryside. “I asked her, ‘Will you marry me?’ and she said, ‘F*ck, no!’ out of shock,” he laughs. “But then she said yes.” The pair married in 2023 on the south coast, and Laura’s parents encouraged them to throw a big party. “Because there’s been a lot of sadness,” she says. “We haven’t really done anything for ourselves as a family, to celebrate love.”

Now, they’re renovating the home they bought together in Sydney, taking Barney for evening walks along the beach, planning their next trips and “starting more adventures—and eventually adventures with little ones, hopefully,” says Chris. “He’s given me so much joy in the worst possible time,” says Laura. “I know with him by my side, life will be good.”