Meagan Downloaded Bumble to Enter a Contest. Instead, She Found Anoop.
By Kelsey Miller
One night after work in fall 2019, Meagan, a Dallas-based nonprofit director, downloaded the Bumble app—with no intention of actually using it. She signed up to enter a contest and try to win tickets for a comedy show. Meagan had sworn off dating a while back. “I’d been through the wringer: terrible dates, bad boyfriends,” she explains. Maybe she’d meet someone one day, she figured, but she loved the life she’d built for herself, and was actively planning for her future as a single woman. She was even seeing a fertility specialist, preparing to have a child on her own. So when she opened Bumble that night, “I was just swiping through profiles, waiting for the contest ad to pop up.” But one of them gave her pause. It was just a quick glance, but Anoop looked sweet. She wanted to learn more. Unfortunately, her brain got the message before her fingers did, and she accidentally swiped left. “Thank goodness for the Backtrack feature!”
Once Meagan was able to look at Anoop’s profile again, she was glad she’d followed her instincts. He seemed kind and she just got the feeling that he was a good person. Then she spotted the phrase that sealed the deal: Anoop, a construction project engineer, had described himself as a “lifelong learner”—an axiom that Meagan herself lived by. She’d grown up in a military family, moving frequently and struggling to find consistency in her life. “I clung to learning—I fell in love with it at school, and developed a real passion for personal development.” She’d yet to meet someone who took it as seriously as she did. But she hadn’t yet met Anoop. “I’ve always lived my life like that,” he says. “I come from a very small village in India, and coming to the U.S., I feel like I’m always learning, every day. If I’m not learning something new, it feels like I’m not living—it’s boring.”
Meagan and Anoop started chatting, and went on their first date just two days later, at a Dallas tea shop, both of them delighted to find the conversation flowed just as easily in person as it had online. “I’d never had such a great conversation,” Anoop recalls. They talked about their mutual passion for self-education and growth—an ambition that had brought Anoop all the way to the U.S., to earn his masters degree. “I loved hearing about his journey to come here and create this life, and provide for his family back in India,” says Meagan. “They’re very close-knit, and very loving—that was the other thing that really stood out.” That was the kind of family she’d always wanted, and it was clear Anoop felt the same. At one point, he reached over to refill Meagan’s teacup from the pot they were sharing. “Something clicked,” she says. It was just a small gesture, but a thoughtful, tender one. “I thought, ‘Oh, I wanna keep you.’”
It would be an understatement to say they hit it off. “We moved fast and furious,” Meagan laughs. “No denying it!” A week later, they’d been on three dates. A week after that, Anoop joined Meagan and her mother for Thanksgiving. The next month, they did Christmas with her dad. In January, Meagan’s lease expired, and the two of them moved in together—a little over seven weeks after matching.
Already, Meagan and Anoop were discussing marriage, much to the surprise of their friends and relatives, many of whom hadn’t even seen the couple together yet. “‘You need to slow down’ was the advice I was getting,” Meagan says. “But then, when they met Anoop, they all went, ‘Oh, I totally get it. You two have this energy together. It makes sense. Go forth.’”
The couple themselves were caught off guard by their own pace—especially Meagan, for whom this was a complete change of course from embracing the single life. “It freaked me out, honestly!” she says. “I was scared of people looking at us and thinking that it wasn’t real love.” Even she had a hard time believing it. It felt real, but maybe it was just the buzz of new romance.
That winter, Meagan got sick and wound up having a tonsillectomy, a painful surgery with a difficult recovery. It was this decidedly unromantic milestone that helped her accept that what they had was solid. Anoop was at her side the whole time, caring for her until she was back on her feet. “Never in my life had I felt so accepted by someone,” she says. “I didn’t have to mask any part of myself, and I was upfront about my expectations and what I wanted, and so was he. I honestly never knew a love like ours could exist.”
Meagan and Anoop looked at rings, began premarital counseling, and started planning for a wedding in May 2020. But when COVID-19 arrived in March, they realized they might have to move even faster than they were used to. Anoop was still on a student visa, and with the whole world facing an uncertain future, they wanted to make sure of one thing: that they could weather it together. On March 23rd, with the city shutting down around them, Meagan and Anoop hopped in the car and drove to a Dallas courthouse for a Monday afternoon elopement.
“God, it was scary,” Meagan says, recalling that harrowing month. “But our wedding day was still such a fun, special day. It was just us, doing what we love: eating Tex-Mex, taking photos on our favorite bridge, dancing, talking with our families on the phone.” They went home and shared a bottle of champagne, listened to Bollywood music, and then resumed normal life the next day—a new normal, in so many ways.
“For me, the best takeaway from these past two years of marriage is that, even with all the challenges we’ve faced, our relationship has always been a great experience,” Anoop says. As ever, he and Meagan just keep moving forward. They bought their first home together, and moved across the country to Raleigh, North Carolina. They’ve gone through the stress of career changes and planning (at long last) a wedding reception, all while riding out the highs and lows of the pandemic. And recently, they were finally able to visit Anoop’s family and childhood home in India—an especially exciting milestone, allowing Anoop to introduce Meagan not only to his family, but to his culture.
“We always balance each other,” Anoop says. “Even when there’s a lot at stake, or a lot of stress or expense, there’s never been a time when it’s me versus her. It’s always us, together.” This year, they’re taking on another challenge: trying to conceive. Meagan lives with endometriosis and PCOS, which made it pretty difficult. Fertility treatment is a daunting process, fraught with unknowns—and they’re exceptionally grateful to enter it together. “I still can’t believe how perfect of a match we are,” says Meagan. “I never believed in the phrase ‘when you know, you know’ until it happened to me.”
Main photo credit: Mae Rachelle Photography