The following is the transcript of this episode.:
Jodi: Welcome, Anne. Thanks for being my guest this episode.
Anne: Hi Jodi. It’s great to be here.
Jodi: I’d love for you to start out by sharing some things about yourself with me and our listeners.
Anne: Sure. I’m in my late 50s. I’ve never been married. I’m single with no children, but I have a gaggle of nieces and nephews who give me my kid-fix. I’m an avid hiker and tennis player. My career has been in consumer marketing, I’ve lived all over the country, and my other big hobby is travel I’m looking forward to my next big trip, which hopefully will be to Morocco, the Maldives, and maybe I’ll throw in another “M” if I can make it to Madagascar.
Jodi: The Triple M Tour!
Jodi: From what I understand, there are two phases to this story that we’re going to talk about. The first phase has to do with you and a guy named Mike who you met at work. How did the two of you meet?
Anne: We had both taken jobs at a startup. We lived in different cities. He worked in a different division. He was in sales. I was in marketing. And he had come to town for a sales and marketing meeting. There was a big dinner. He and I, by happenstance, ended up sitting next to one another and there seemed to be a spark. We seemed to have a lot in common. I was wondering, “What’s this guy’s status?,” but there’s the rule of thumb that you don’t ever go out with anyone you work with. But given the situation, it actually didn’t seem like it would be that big of a negative should something progress.
Jodi: Was he single? Was he separated, divorced or married?
Anne: He was divorced with two kids. He immediately pulled out his phone and showed me some adorable pictures of his two boys and vacations they’d taken together. He seemed to be a really devoted dad and that appealed to me, which just made him that much more attractive.
Jodi: How did the two of you end up going from a dinner together with colleagues, to a first date?
Anne: At the end of the dinner we just kind of looked at each other as if, “Wow! What a pleasant surprise!” Neither one of us were expecting that to happen. It just kind of turned into continuous communication. We traded cell phone numbers and texted each other and talked to each other. Of course, he went back to the city that he lives in, so this was all long distance. But when the next meeting was going to happen, we made arrangements to get together when he was going to be in town for what we would call a real date.
Jodi: Tell me about this real date. Where did you go?
Anne: We had established that we both love sushi, so it was my job to find a sushi restaurant and I picked him up at his hotel. We went to a little local place that was supposed to be really good and we just had the best time. Most of it laughing, talking about our travels, taking a walk around the cute neighborhood, holding hands.
Jodi: Holding hands?
Anne: Yeah, it was a big surprise.
Anne: He was just really sweet. We stopped along the way at some point and he gave me a very sweet, polite, gentlemanly kiss. It just felt really good. That was our date.
Jodi: That sounds like a lovely first date. Did you see him shortly thereafter at work?
Anne: Because he came into town frequently, we were able to see each other. So we kept in communication and we would get together when we could when he came to town. I think we were both just kind of seeing where this might lead.
Jodi: Did you feel at work that you were keeping a secret from your colleagues?
Anne: A little bit, but again, both of us agreed that we would prefer to maintain our privacy.
Jodi: So you weren’t concerned about keeping secrets from your colleagues?
Anne: I’d do that until I felt like a relationship was a little bit more firmly established, whether I worked with the person or not.
Jodi: Did the two of you keep going out after that date?
Anne: So the next day after the great date, he flies back home and we continued to communicate constantly. It was all very sweet and affectionate. We seemed like we were very much on the same page and it was really great. I ended up leaving the company.
Jodi: How long thereafter?
Anne: This was a few months later. Of course he would still be coming to town because he was still at the company, but you know, it wasn’t quite as easy to get together. And a couple of times those attempts to get together just didn’t happen. I couldn’t really figure out what the deal was. One time he canceled completely. Another time he was in town and he was going to stay over a night or two, but suddenly he had to go home.
The reasons for some of these things just didn’t make me feel comfortable. After a couple of these attempts to get together fell through, and it was a little unclear as to why, I just had this gut feeling that perhaps I should back off a little, and so I did. He continued to keep in touch for a little while, but then it just kind of faded away and stopped.
Jodi: And you moved on?
Anne: And I moved on. I’m never really sure of what the deal was, what his situation was. Was he just unreliable or was there something else going on? But it was enough that I felt that I needed to move on. And there was never any… there were never any harsh words. There was never a fight or an argument or a big breakup thing. It just kind of faded away.
Jodi: Did you think about him at all in the years that transpired after the two of you stopped communicating?
Anne: I did. He was the first guy in a while who I felt a spark with and we made each other laugh and we had a ton in common. I also was just forever unclear about what exactly was it again that kept us from getting together again. I thought about him, but I moved on.
Jodi: Fast forward, how many years until the two of you get reconnected?
Anne: Five years pass. I had spontaneously heard from someone who we had worked with. It made me think of him. And I don’t like leading loose ends with people. I just like knowing that if we ran into each other on the street, that it would be amicable, no hard feelings. That kind of thing. So I just sent a text. I didn’t even know if I still had his current cell number. I wrote, “I ran into so-and-so from our company and it made me think of you and I just wanted to say I hope all is well with you and your boys and that life is treating you well.”
Jodi: That was very nice of you to do and probably came as a big surprise to Mike.
Anne: He responded much more quickly than I would have ever thought.
Jodi: What did he say?
Anne: He said, “OMG! It’s so great to hear from you, Anne. I was thrilled when I saw your number pop up on my phone. Everything is good in my world. How are things in your world?” And we just embarked back on this continuous communication that fairly quickly kind of escalated into very flirtatious and fun and sweet and kind of revisiting some of the things that we talked about. The next thing I know, we’re back in this texting and calling relationship. All very polite, but with a really sweet tone to it, like it was moving in a positive direction, which was the last thing I expected.
Jodi: You never know what’s going to happen until you make a move, and you made a move that he responded positively too.
Anne: And my move wasn’t even necessarily to reconnect, to get back into a relationship. It was really just to say hello to somebody who I thought was a really terrific guy and who I had a wonderful time with. I’d figured, “No harm, no foul.” As it turned out, he was still single.
Jodi: Did you ask him about what happened five years earlier and if there was some reason on his end that the communication just kind of faded away?
Anne: I actually didn’t. I was being quite cautious and I was a little scared. So I let him drive a little bit in the direction that he wanted it to go. Without even prompting him, the next thing I know I’m getting an apology. “I’m so sorry. I was just in a different place five years ago. My career was kind of in a strange place.” And he said, “And then the next few years were really tough for me. I lost my father suddenly. As you recall, I was very close to him. My mom moved in with me and my two boys. She had MS. That progressed, and then I lost my mom.”
Jodi: They were tough years for him.
Anne: It sounded like a lot had gone on and a very different turn for somebody who I had always gotten the impression had lived a rather charmed life.
Jodi: We never know what’s going on with someone’s life until we delve into it with them, do we? So you learned a lot about him via text.
Anne: Yeah. And that was encouraging too, because he opened up. I could see that a lot of these things, in addition to some hiccups with his career and issues with custody of his children, had made him more vulnerable. Perhaps he doesn’t have control of everything. That’s when we need someone else the most of our lives; it’s when we’re going through tough times.
Jodi: Very true. Five years ago, it was a mystery to you what was happening with him and quite recently he shared all this with you.
Jodi: How does that make you feel about things then, and how you feel about things now?
Anne: Well, I’m also a different person and I’ve gone through various things in the past five years.
Jodi: How long ago did you and Mike get reconnected?
Anne: It’s now been a year.
Jodi: You texted him a year ago.
Anne: I did. That texting and the calling progressed to an attempt to get together that I ended up canceling because I got cold feet.
Jodi: How long ago did you have those cold feet?
Anne: That was about six months ago.
Jodi: In between then and now, did you do any FaceTiming or Skyping? Were you seeing each other, or was this is all via…?
Anne: Other than sending each other photos, we did not do any FaceTiming or Skyping. That doesn’t appeal to me. Talking and texting worked. He started to push again to get together and either meet somewhere, or he would come here, or I would go there.
Jodi: Why’d you get cold feet?
Anne: Well, five years is a long time, and I was a little hesitant to spend a long weekend with someone who I literally had not seen and who five years ago wasn’t the most reliable person in the world.
Jodi: What happened next?
Anne: The next thing I know, he’s finally getting specific and getting down to brass tacks. He’s giving me dates and saying, “This is when I’m available. This is when the kids can go with the ex and I can get away. Where should we go?”
Jodi: He was not going to take “no” for an answer.
Anne: That was the impression I was getting. He was really pushing for it and I was thinking, “Why not? No guts, no glory. Go find out if there’s still a spark.”
So, five years later, our ‘second first date’ was me picking him up at the airport and going to a national park for three days.
Jodi: That’s quite a ‘second first date’!
Anne: Yes, it was.
Jodi: You hadn’t seen him in five years. Tell me about what happened when you saw him for the first time in a long time.
Anne: Well, as you know, when you pick up somebody outside a baggage claim, you don’t have a lot of time for any kind of formal greeting. And so it was this rushed thing where I pulled up and thought, “Oh, that looks like him. He’s very tall!” I’d told him the type of car I had. He saw me and came over. They’re keeping the traffic moving, so we looked at each other, gave each other a hug, and then we had to pile into the car. Off we went for a two-and-a-half-hour drive to the national park. I was very nervous. Now we’re in the car. I’m trying to look sideways as we’re chatting. I just kept saying to myself, “Just go with the flow and whatever will be will be.”
Jodi: Did he seem nervous?
Anne: A little, but he’s a big guy. He’s pretty outgoing, pretty charming. Everything was coming through loud and clear and in a good way. I did have a couple of funny thoughts go through my mind like, “If he suddenly says something that indicates he’s gone in a very weird direction in life, I’m going to have to say, ‘I need to get gas or I need to go to the bathroom, and then when he gets out of the car, I’ll take off.’”
Jodi: You were plotting that?
Anne: Well, because you just don’t know. In the grand scheme of life and dating, it was a pretty bold move on both of our parts. He could have wanted to do the same. He could have thought, “Oh my gosh! She’s not what I was expecting. She’s changed in this way or that way or whatever.” He could have done the same thing. “Could you please pull over? I need to go to the bathroom,” and just run the other way and called Uber and gone back to the airport. Who knows?
Jodi: Who knows? But did that happen?
Anne: It did not. The conversation flowed so easily. We laughed. It was pretty great. The next thing I know we’re at the friend’s house where we’re staying for this long weekend. We arrived and got situated.
Jodi: You two arrived at the house. You’ve got to pick a bedroom or bedrooms. What’d you do?
Anne: That actually worked out pretty well. The house had three levels. When we came in, I said, “Let me take you up to your room.” He got the whole upper level to himself. The main level was the kitchen and living room, and then I said, “I will be down in the lower level.” There was no real problem because I don’t think he necessarily expected me to say, “We’ll be staying in this bedroom.” That would have been awkward for both of us, I think.
Jodi: Well, that’s awesome. He was chill with it all.
Jodi: He then exhibited this to you by the way he reacted. He didn’t come with immediate expectations that the two of you were going to have sex right away.
Jodi: After you got settled in the house, how did the two of you spend your time together that day?
Anne: By the time we got to the house, it was late afternoon/early evening. So sat out on the deck for a while and continued chatting. The next thing we know, the sun is setting. We have a glass of wine. There was a movie that we both really wanted to watch that pertained to the national park we were visiting. So once it got dark, we went back inside. He queued it up on his computer. We sat on the couch and watch the movie. About halfway through, we took a break. We went to the bathroom and we refilled our wine glasses.
We came back to the couch to watch the rest of the movie, and we’re sitting closer together. We’re getting more comfortable with each other, and the next thing I know, he got into that classic ‘couple on the couch watching a movie on a computer’ kind of posture, which felt so great. He’s laying down. I’m laying down. We’re both getting comfy and we’re intertwined. We watched the rest of this incredible movie that we were both really moved by. It felt so natural and the attraction was still there.
Jodi: That’s fabulous! You didn’t know what was going to go on, but there you were lying on the couch all cozy. Am I right that you started out a foot or two away from one another and as time progressed you sort of merged?
Anne: Exactly. Yup. By the time the credits rolled, we were rolling a little too! We were cuddling together. When the movie ended, literally when the credits rolled, we kissed a little. It was so nice. Then we both, very politely, acknowledged that it was getting late and we should probably go to our separate corners because we were getting up the next day to do a very strenuous hike.
We kissed each other goodnight. He went upstairs, I went downstairs. I texted him good night. He texted me goodnight and I texted back, “This is a great modern day intercom system. Feel free to text me in the morning when you’re ready for coffee.”
Jodi: Did he?
Anne: Yes, he did. We had set a time of when we were aiming to leave, and so we started texting each other, “Are you up?” “I’m up.” “Coffee?” “Sure.” “Meet you on the middle level.” We met on the middle level in the kitchen to make coffee and kind of looked at each other like, “Are we really here? Is this really happening?” I asked, “Do you like coffee?” I mean, I don’t even know. Is he a coffee drinker, a tea drinker, an orange juice drinker? He was very easygoing. We ended up stopping for breakfast on the way into the park. Then we had a most magnificent day of hiking, with spectacular scenic views and wonderful memories for both of us.
Jodi: It sounds poetic.
Anne: Absolutely! These are the kinds of places that, gosh…..I would really love to share some of these experiences with somebody that I’m crazy about. So even though we weren’t quite sure where this was all going to go, it was great to be in this beautiful place. And we had a wonderful evening. We were exhausted from the hike. So that was kind of good because there wasn’t any pressure on either of us romantically and we knew we were going to be getting up early again the next day. So we had dinner in the park, we drove back, did a little canoodling and then we both went to our separate levels.
Jodi: So that leaves the last day.
Anne: So we decided the last day that we would just do a little bit more driving than hiking and stop along the way at some of the sites to see some of the waterfalls and some of the overlooks. We always seemed to be on the same page about what we wanted to do next and where we wanted to stop. That evening was lovely. We had a great little picnic in the park and then I took them to the airport.
Jodi: What was the farewell like at the airport?
Anne: It was very affectionate and there was very much a mutual desire to stay in touch and to get together again as soon as we could both make it happen.
Jodi: What are some of the things that you’ve learned from this whole experience?
Anne: I think it’s so important to keep an open mind. Where before I might’ve thought, “Nope, not going to go down this road, this just didn’t go in a direction that I would have wanted it to before,” a lot had transpired. Don’t shut things down too soon. See where things go. You never know. And we all change.
Jodi: How are things with you and Mike since saying goodbye at the airport?
Anne: As of this moment, we are in daily communication, multiple times a day. I’ve gotten lots of great picks of his kids and lots of suggestions about where we might meet next.
Jodi: How are you thinking about a second rendezvous with him?
Anne: I’m hoping that it happens sooner rather than later because I think it will be very telling. I think on the first one, two people are going to be on their very best behavior. It was a complete getting reacquainted kind of a three-day date. So I think to keep some momentum going, and see if this is going to go anywhere, it probably behooves us to get together sooner rather than later, if we can, and take it from there.
Jodi: Take it from there. We never know what the future is going to hold.
Anne: Who knows? But I think, what is the saying? We regret more what we don’t do than what we do do.
Jodi: You rolled the dice. You took a chance when you texted him and you didn’t have an expectation that much of anything would come out of it.
Anne: Not at all.
Jodi: Something has very much come out of it. How has that changed the way you think about dating, relationships and connecting with people?
Anne: I think it’s important to just keep a very positive outlook on things and not get too down on dating or too down on the people that you’re interested in dating. It’s easy to get into that victim place.
You have to stay positive and optimistic, as hard as that can sometimes be. I do think it’s important to take emotional risks because most of the more meaningful relationships in our lives involve some level of emotional risk. If you don’t show vulnerability, and open yourself up to someone, how does the relationship get to a deeper, more meaningful place?
Jodi: It can’t. And you don’t evolve either as a person.
Jodi: What you just said is really so helpful and I think so true. You mentioned that you need to stay positive. How do you continue to stay positive?
Anne: At this point in my life, I try to keep it really simple. I try to surround myself with positive people who I can help bring out the best in, and who can bring out the best in me. Whenever I can, I try to spend my time doing things I enjoy and learn something from.
A lot of people say this, but probably because it’s really helpful. I constantly remind myself of all the things I have to be thankful for. We all have something we can be thankful for, even on our worst days, when we kind of question so many things in life. There’s always something. The last thing I try to do is to make sure when I spend time with people, that in any small way I can, they leave our time together a little happier.
Jodi: Well, I’m leaving our time together a lot happier and very thankful to have had you as my guest on the podcast. Thank you so much, Anne.
Anne: Thank you, Jodi. It was fun to chat with you.