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Bonnie’s Deployment Kept Them Apart—But Marina Knew It Was a Forever Love

By Kaitlin Menza

Bonnie and Marina each swear they weren’t looking for anything serious when they started swiping on Bumble in spring 2020. “I was dipping my toe back into the dating scene, just seeing what was out there,” says Bonnie, who’d just become single. Marina, too, had recently ended a nearly six-year relationship. “It was like, ‘Oh, my goodness, do I know how to talk to women still?’” she says. “Honestly, I was just looking for some fun.”

Marina’s profile was very fun: She’d made up quotes from celebrities recommending her as a wonderful date, all ranking her with five stars. When they matched, Bonnie’s first message was to playfully make fun of her silly “reviews,” which delighted Marina. “She was teasing me, and I was like, ‘Ooh, this is my sense of humor. I really like this,’” she recalls. Bonnie agrees: “Straight off the bat, it was funny banter.” The pair texted nonstop for a week and then set up a date. 

The city of Sydney, where they both live, was a few weeks into a pandemic lockdown, so they decided to meet up at the rental apartment where Marina had temporarily moved to get some space from her roommates. Nonessential businesses were closed, and state regulations dictated you could only have up to two people visit your home for the foreseeable future, so choosing each other for the date was pretty high-stakes to start with. The fact that they were meeting in a space that was foreign to both of them helped break the ice. “It wasn’t my space, and it wasn’t her space,” Marina says, “so it was like, ‘Let’s try and find where the wine glasses are, together!’” 

Bonnie, left, Marina, right.

From there, the conversation flowed and the date went well—so well that Bonnie had to warn Marina, who works in tech sales, that she was six weeks away from a nearly five-month deployment for her position as a medic in the Australian Navy. “I was pretty upfront about it. In my mind I was like, ‘Nope, not going to happen. I’m not going on this deployment having just met someone,’” Bonnie says. “I needed to focus on work, so I was very non-committal.” 

They agreed to keep it casual and just have fun, but were soon zipping back and forth between each other’s houses. “Honestly, by probably our third date, I was head over heels,” Marina says. To her dismay, Bonnie again pumped the brakes once it was time for her to leave. Bonnie, who didn’t want any obligations, suggested that they talk in a few months when she got back to see where they stood.“I think I was very much in denial,” Bonnie says. Marina tried to be understanding—she knew that, as the ship’s medic, Bonnie was responsible for the health of over 100 colleagues and needed to focus—but wanted to convince her to stay together anyway. “It was like, ‘Damn it, but we’re going to get married! That’s what I’m telling you,’” Marina says. 

When Bonnie left, she refused to even share her contact information with Marina so they wouldn’t be tempted to chat while apart. Yet it was Bonnie who broke first, reaching out after a mere three days (which were “excruciating,” Marina says). “I felt bad; we were used to talking to each other every day! I just missed her,” Bonnie says. She confessed to feeling a bit bored, and when Marina asked how she could help, Bonnie asked her to send a horoscope, a morning routine of hers that had been disrupted by the ship’s poor internet connection. 

Marina saw the request as an opportunity. “Every day, I’d copy and paste a horoscope, and then I’d do a fact of the day under them, and the facts were just me hyping myself up, explaining how good of a girlfriend I would be,” she says.” One of them was, ‘Did you know Marina was voted most likely to date a navy medic in high school?’ Dumb stuff like that.” Once a friend walked in while Bonnie was laughing hysterically reading her email, and when asked to explain, the friend requested a horoscope, too. Soon, Marina was delivering horoscopes to 10 people each day, and kept it up for 100 days. It brightened Bonnie’s long, lonely days, she says, and helped Marina’s cause with Bonnie’s work friends: “They were all saying, ‘Oh my god, you have to date her. She’s so funny!’”

Bonnie returned in October 2020, and despite their constant contact, she again insisted on taking it slow: Pandemic restrictions were loosening and she wanted them to both have time to adjust. “It was tough because every single cell in my being was telling me that we’re going to be together and get married and have this beautiful life,” Marina says. And again, Bonnie was the one to break, saying “I love you” within 48 hours of getting back. She credits her mother for giving her the push. “‘What is wrong with you? She sounds perfect for you! Just give it a go,’” Bonnie remembers her mother saying. 

By December 2020, they were officially girlfriends, and they moved in together shortly after. In spring 2021, they started looking at engagement rings and got a puppy, a French bulldog named Moo. As per their pattern, the couple decided to wait a bit before formally getting engaged—yet started touring wedding venues and booking vendors anyways. When Marina proposed at a picnic she’d set up near a lake in January 2022, Bonnie, for once, didn’t hesitate. “Throughout the proposal I was saying yes. I said yes before she’d even asked. We were laughing, yes! Yes!” Bonnie says. 

They got married in spring 2023, three years to the day after they matched on Bumble. The ceremony was held at a hotel right next to the naval base where they said goodbye, with a reception at a ramen restaurant nearby. Marina’s vision for their beautiful life is right on track, finally becoming real.