Anna Got a Letter Out of the Blue. It Was from Mike, a Former Bumble Match
By Ashley Edwards Walker
When Anna first came across Mike’s Bumble profile in 2017, she was attracted to his “sparkly” eyes. “It was weird,” she says. “He just looked like someone I should have known.” Mike had a similar feeling of familiarity while perusing Anna’s profile. “She looked like a friendly, genuine person,” he recalls. “I don’t know how to explain it, but I could tell that she was the type of person who probably had a lot of the same values as me.” That included being “down to earth,” and something about Anna’s smile and the fact that she’d included a photo with her dog made him think she would “be someone who was really cool and fun.” Both were fresh out of college and open to meeting new people.
After they matched, they realized their paths might have crossed before. Mike and Anna had attended the University of Michigan at the same time, shared friends in common, and both worked for their alma mater (she in admin relations, he as a user experience designer) in offices across the street from one another. But they’d somehow never met. Mike decided to change that, messaging Anna his number and asking her out on a date. He suggested meeting for beers on the patio of a brewery so Anna’s dog, Max, could tag along.
That first date confirmed that there was definitely something between them. “There was an instant connection,” says Anna. For her, it was the ease and playfulness with which their conversation flowed that secured her interest. For Mike, it was the fact that Anna was “a Midwestern girl who had been all over the state of Michigan, like me.” When she told Mike she’d actually visited his little-known hometown on Beaver Island, in Lake Michigan, he told her she must be confusing it with more well-known tourist destinations. “Not that many people have heard of Beaver Island, even if you’re from Michigan,” Anna explains. But when she insisted, telling him about a toy store she’d visited there, “he had to eat his words basically,” she says, laughing.
The couple continued seeing each other, going out for weekly dates, and even meeting each other’s friends and roommates. Those early days of dating weren’t “too serious,” says Anna, “but we both were feeling it.” Then, in spring 2018, Mike delivered some bittersweet news: he’d been offered a job at a startup, and his long-held dream of moving to Chicago was coming true. His sister and several close friends were already living in Chicago. And in the years since he’d graduated from college, Mike had been applying to jobs that would take him there, too. “I felt like I was supposed to go try something different, to see what life in the big city was like,” he says. He told Anna it was an opportunity he couldn’t turn down.
At first, Anna, who “was really liking” Mike by then, started thinking about trying to continue their relationship long distance—but she wanted Mike to bring it up. When he didn’t, she figured he just didn’t want to “complicate” things, so she remained quiet. “I was bummed,” she says. “I felt like things stopped before they could really get started.” Mike knew he was at a crossroads, and ultimately he decided that establishing himself in Chicago was what he felt “most connected to at the time.” By that summer, they’d said their goodbyes and Mike was living in Chicago. Anna got back on Bumble and started dating again casually. And even though she never felt that instant connection she’d had with Mike, she remained hopeful.
A year later, Mike was newly single after ending a relationship with a woman he’d met shortly after moving to the city. He was commiserating about his past relationships with a close friend when his buddy pointed out that Mike seemed to be talking about “this Anna girl” a lot, and suggested that Mike reach out to see if there was anything still there. Equal parts “terrified and excited” by the prospect, Mike began thinking about what he might say to Anna. Neither a text message or a phone call felt right, so he sat down and hand wrote a letter. In it he explained that he knew they’d had something special, and he regretted not giving them more time to see how their relationship might have evolved. He admitted he’d been thinking about her, and wanted to know if she’d be open to giving him a second chance. And in January 2019, he messaged her on social media to ask for her address.
Little did Mike know that since they’d parted ways, Anna often wondered what had happened to him. She was shocked to see a notification alerting her that he’d sent her a message. When Mike’s letter arrived, “It was a wave of emotions,” says Anna. It brought back happy memories of how great their connection was, but it was also a sad reminder of what could’ve been. She was nervous about the prospect of giving their relationship another try, and she had some questions—namely, why now? Through messages and over the phone, Mike explained that he’d grown up and was in a position to see his mistake. With the time and distance, he’d come to see how compatible they were, and how their goals for the future aligned, including raising kids.
Mike was planning to be in Michigan in a few weeks, so they made plans to meet for lunch. “We just picked up where we left off,” says Anna of that date. She decided she also wanted to give their relationship another chance, and “it was easy from there on out,” she says.
From there, Mike and Anna entered into their long overdue long-distance relationship. They watched shows and movies together over video calls. Mike traveled from Chicago to Ann Arbor nearly every other weekend to see Anna. He joined her on a work trip to Seattle, and she joined him on a trip to Beaver Island to visit his family. They started talking about their future, where they wanted to live, and their family aspirations. “We were just so compatible in every category,” says Mike, who adds that his family felt the same way after he introduced them to Anna: “They couldn’t be more in love with her.” For Anna, the fact that Mike sees her as an equal and supports her dreams and goals gave her confidence to move their relationship forward.
By fall 2019, they were talking about living together in Ann Arbor. In March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced many companies to shift to remote work, Mike’s employer gave him the green light to relocate back home. “I really enjoyed my time in Chicago,” says Mike. “But I missed so many things about my way of life in Michigan. And obviously, I was just so excited to move back and be close to Anna and to move in together.”
A few months later, on Memorial Day 2020, Mike proposed to Anna on a beach on Beaver Island. The couple bought a house in Ann Arbor, where they live with their dog Murphy, and they got married in September 2022. “Thank God for second chances,” says Anna. “And thank God for Bumble bringing us together. We are so incredibly grateful.”
Main photo credit: Alina Albin