Chloe and David

Jodi: Hi, Chloe. It’s great to have you as my guest. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast.

Chloe: I’m glad to be here. Thank you for having me.

Jodi: Let’s satisfy our listeners’ curiosity about your backstory straight out the gate. Please share some details about yourself.

Chloe: I’m 52. Within the last two years, I got divorced after 24 years of marriage. We divorced amicably. I have two children, 22 and 20. And I was married to what I call a big fish in a small pond. And in order to move on, I really need to make a big change. And I realized that I needed to have my own identity, my own purpose. And so doing that, I was living in the Southeast United States and I packed everything up and made a decision in five weeks to move out West, away from my children, away from everything I knew, just to start over.

In doing that, I met a group of women that all had the same idea to re-architect their lives and basically the same thing, find an identity, find their own purpose, not one as a mom and a wife, but as an individual. And in doing that, I decided to go back to school. So I’m working on my MBA, and to really get my head straight, I decided to walk the El Camino de Santiago, which is the 500-mile walk across Spain. And when you walk the Camino, it always says the Camino gives you what you need. And it’s true and it’s hard and it’s painful physically, mentally, and emotionally, but even after you finished and you come back home and you get into the real world, the Camino still is giving you exactly what you need. And it changed who I am and my trajectory in life.

Jodi: You have gone through such a major life transition recently. It sounds like a personal renaissance at the exact same time.

Chloe: It is. And it was scary and I think I just had to really learn to be comfortable with the very uncomfortable. And I learned that pain is just pain. Actually, physical pain is much easier than mental or emotional pain.

Jodi: How have you become comfortable with the uncomfortable?

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Chloe: With my breath. When I feel that uncomfortable, I just come back to my breath and stay in the now. I’m like, “Okay, we have to just go through this. You can’t change it. It is what it is.” And I have a tattoo. When I finished walking the Camino, I tattooed on my arm. It says, “One step at a time.” And I literally just breathe and remind myself, I have food, water, shelter. One step at a time, you’ll get through this.

Jodi: That’s amazing. You have literally put a mark on your body to help you through and guide you through the next phase of your life.

Chloe: Yes. Left arm says “breathe” and the right arm says “one step at a time”.

Jodi: Which direction do you look at more often? Left or right?

Chloe: Simultaneous. There isn’t one more than the other. The “one step at a time” is the one that suits me the most. When I look at the “breathe”, it reminds me how far I’ve come and that I literally can breathe through anything. If I just remember to come back to my breath, you know, this too shall pass.

Jodi: When you look back at the woman who was the big fish in the small pond, do you recognize her in you now?

Chloe: No. I was doctor so-and-so’s wife for too long and now I am Chloe.

Jodi: You’re rocking it.

Chloe: I don’t even physically feel the same. I feel younger. And even though I’m 52, I’m still trying to figure out what I’m going to do when I grow up, because it almost feels like I got to do over.

Jodi: That is such a healthy way to look at the course of events that have happened in your life and the steps you’ve taken as a result of them.

Chloe: I feel like I’ve been through too much pain that there’s no more space in my body for pain or anger or regret. So each day has to be a clean slate. It just has to.

Jodi: Your children are grown.

Chloe: They are.

Jodi: Now you said that you and your ex-husband had an amicable divorce.

Chloe: Yes.

Jodi: But clearly an understandably, you’ve gone through a lot of emotional upheaval that you ultimately landed really well after experiencing. But still, starting a new relationship, even thinking about starting a new relationship, often isn’t an easy thing to do. So I’m curious. How did you go about getting to the point where you thought I want to start dating again?

Chloe: It was on the Camino. I just assumed I was old and unwanted because otherwise why wouldn’t my marriage work? And when walking the Camino, there was this young man that just kept kind of following me. And he literally looked like Jesus. And I’m like, “Everybody walks the Camino to be with Jesus and I literally had one kind of following me.”

Jodi: When you say kind of following you, I mean, you are on a hiking trail. So what did you mean by kind of following you? He was a few feet behind you or what did you mean by that?

Chloe: Like he stopped to talk. And then of course, when you walk, I chose to walk alone. But when you stop to have food or drinks, a lot of times we would meet and talk and I am like, “Why is this 31-year-old beautiful man talking to me?” And I could tell, like he was seeking out and wanted to speak to me.  Then I just started thinking, maybe I’m not old and ugly and unwanted.

After about two weeks of this of this guy I called “Jesus” walking with me, I just started to feel attractive again. He said things to me that made me feel attractive and I thought, “Maybe there is something out there for me again.” I just thought I’m not getting married. I’m just done. No relationships, nothing. I had my children. I had my marriage. Now I’m just going to go. I was just in a bad spot. I  thought I was unwanted and I’m not enough, basically.

Jodi: But you were wrong. Jesus saw in you what you did not see in yourself.

Chloe: Yeah. And there’s no makeup. You carry everything. You have three days of clothes on your back and everything that you can have for the 36 days it takes to walk it. And you smell. You’re sweating. There’s no makeup. There’s no hair. There’s no nothing and you kind of smell. And still this very attractive man is following me. So it definitely helped my mood and my confidence.

Jodi: It’s really a gift that he gave you because he put a mirror up in front of you. As you were walking along with him, you started to see yourself more clearly because of the way he saw you.

Chloe: Yes, because I kept questioning. “Why is he following me? This doesn’t make any sense.”

Jodi: Did you ever ask him point blank?

Chloe: Absolutely. I did.

Jodi: What did you ask him?

Chloe: Well, he had said to me, “Why do you comment on these men that are like in their 50s that are attractive when you have a 31-year-old a good-looking me sitting right here?” And I said, “Because you don’t make sense and they do.”

Jodi: What did he say to that?

Chloe: He shook his head and walked off. You do that a lot on the Camino. You have this ability to, anytime that you feel uncomfortable, walk at a different pace because you run into the same people along the way.

Jodi: Well, this man, Jesus, got you to the place to see the beauty within you. So you left the El Camino and you came home. How soon thereafter did you decide to put your toe back into the dating water?

Chloe: I’d have to think, but it was once I actually moved out West and I still wasn’t comfortable. So if I was asked on a date, I went on that date and then that was it. There was never a second date. None of it made sense. It was just a whole new world that was very uncomfortable for me, but I was always willing to keep trying. Then COVID happened.

Jodi: And everything about dating changed. You said though that you were not on dating apps.

Chloe: No. I worked at a place where people came in regularly and I was asked out usually by a man that had asked somebody else where I worked out.

Jodi: Well, that must’ve done a lot to build your confidence back.

Chloe: Oh, very much. Built my confidence back and then at some point I had to check my ego.

Jodi: Really?

Chloe: Yeah. Because I went from feeling like nobody wanted me to, “Hey, I’m getting attention!” That got unbalanced for a few months where I don’t think I was looking at “dating and integrity” as I would have in the past. It was more of, “Is he good looking?”

I started looking at all the outside things when that’s not who I am. So there was this phase of just looking at physical and not looking at the whole picture. A moral compass is very important to me, and that just seemed to fall away for a few months.

Jodi: You were looking at arm candy?

Chloe: Yes. I wanted the arm candy.

Jodi: Yeah. You felt you deserved the arm candy?

Chloe: Yes. But a lot of times with the arm candy didn’t come, the other part. It was very imbalanced. So eventually, I just kind of gave up on trying to look for the arm candy. I  decided to surrender, made it a little intention to the universe that I’m going to let this go.

I think I wrote down that I want a partner that I can find that accepts me for me and I for them and take that surface value off of another person and just really be open to whatever comes in, not that they have to be a certain height or make a certain amount of money or be physically fit. I was very focused on my intentions of what I would like, but not that be the defining features of the next person that might come into my life. There were times when I  thought maybe there wouldn’t be someone coming into my life.

Jodi: Why did you go to that negative place?

Chloe: Fear.

Jodi: I understand the fear. It permeates all of our lives at some point.

Chloe: Yes. And I remember it was Christmas. I couldn’t listen to Christmas music. My children weren’t living with me. It’s very hard to be single and go through a holiday.  I just thought, “What if I’m alone? What if I walked away from my whole life where everything was there and everything was set and it was picture perfect to not even be able to listen to Christmas music because of it didn’t feel like there was family anymore?”

Jodi: But you already said it wasn’t truly picture perfect.

Chloe: Oh, no. But in my head, if I could go there, I could tell myself it was picture perfect. We had the beautiful tree. We had the beautiful house. The kids had their presents that they could get. Now it’s not the same. I can’t afford to get whatever they want and I couldn’t afford to have the big tree or have the big house. So it was just a different look on everything.

The fear sets in very strongly, and then I’m like, “Nothing will ever be the same and I may not find somebody.” I allow myself usually one day of that and then it’s not allowed to happen. One pity party day and then you move on.

Jodi: You moved on to a New Year and then the pandemic happened.

Chloe: Yes. I decided to quit my job and go to school full time. Literally within two weeks, the pandemic happened. I love attention. I love being with people and that was a very hard one. So luckily, a friend of mine, a young friend in her upper 20s, she lost her job and I said, “Come live with me.” And that would fill my need to parent. Plus I’d have somebody with me so that I wasn’t alone. So Lisa moved in during the pandemic and that helped.

Jodi: Well, that’s terrific because you had somebody to be with you. She had someone to be with her during a very isolating experience because this was early days of sheltering in place. Right?

Chloe: Right.

Jodi: We are here largely because you went out on a memorable date. Tell us how that date came about.

Chloe: It was the beginning of quarantine and it was just me and Lisa. We had, we called it “hike homework” and then happy hour. That was our days over and over. We would get up and we’d do a long hike. We would do our homework and then we would have happy hour, and make a really nice dinner for each other. Then one day we were having dinner and I just said, “I don’t know that I can do this. I need attention.” And she was like, “What do you mean? Like male attention?”

I was like, “Yes, I need male attention.” And so she grabbed my phone and she said, “I’m putting you on a dating app, but we have to have an agreement. I pick the pictures, I pick what you’re going to say, and then you just keep an open mind.” I agreed. And of course, she picked pictures I would never have picked. They were of me hiking. They were all just in the moment pictures, not where you’re all fixed up. She said it’s important. I guess, men like to see your full body.

So there I was, standing up on a rock or just doing silly, silly things that I never would put online. So she put all those up and then she wrote something about walking the Camino and my favorite thing being an Old Fashion and a charcuterie board. Anyway, I thought, “Who would put all this stuff?” But I guess a 27-year-old girl has the mind of the dating scene and I didn’t. Literally within the hour, there were really nice looking men coming through. It was really fun.

Jodi: And it wasn’t boring anymore. (Laughter)

Chloe: No, no, it wasn’t. And it really helped. It really made me smile, not just on my face, but in my heart too.

Jodi: Good thing you listened to Lisa and let her take control.

Chloe: Yes. We didn’t have the internet when we were dating years ago. It was like you just met them at school or in a bar or out socially or somebody hooked you up. There were no computers to go on and it just was foreign and there are so many new rules and that’s intimidating. But it became clear that this was fun. Luckily, I didn’t have any really bad experiences, but I learned quickly, what you do look for and what you don’t. It’s like your own personal preference on the internet of how you look at a man you want to date.

Jodi: Was Lisa your guide through this or did she hand the reins over to you?

Chloe: I took the reins over immediately because I am 52 and she is 27. So there was going to be a difference. There was a man that came up and there were too many similarities. His name was David and he was from the South, like I was from the South. He had lived very close to a hometown that I’m from. We  started a conversation and we ended up knowing some of the same people, he was in a state wrestling championship tournament with my old roommate’s brother, and there were just a lot of connections.

Jodi: Oh, that’s a crazy, small world! Were you texting with him?

Chloe: We started on the app. Because I still have the aversion to the app, I did give him my phone number and we did start texting.

Jodi: You didn’t start talking you? At first, you started to text?

Chloe: Just texting. And then he did call me. Before we met, he called maybe two or three times.

Jodi: What were those phone conversations like?

Chloe: He was kind of business-like. It almost felt like an interview. It wasn’t this normal exchange, but it was easy. But it wasn’t what I expected. Again, you’re dealing with an app and getting to know people and you’re in quarantine. So it was different. But I also enjoy talking to him. I guess he was asking about how old were my children, where did they live.

He wanted to know if my divorce was amicable, how long I had been divorced, just those basic information, that basic information that I guess you want to know to make sure there might be a fit or it is something that you want to actually see in person. A big topic was how did we feel about quarantine. Masks weren’t required then, so it was how do you go on a date and stay six feet apart and how do you form a connection if you’re not supposed to have connection?

Jodi: What was his take on that and what was your take on that?

Chloe: We were aligned that you respect the six feet, but that it’s not the end-all. We were still nervous about COVID, but we also weren’t sure what it was.

Jodi: It was too early. There wasn’t enough information out in the world to really understand what we were dealing with as a country.

Chloe: Yes. He did ask me out and he said, “I was ‘geographically undesirable.’”

Jodi: But he asked you out anyway?

Chloe: Yes. And I was like, “What does that mean?” He goes, “Well, you’re not close to me.” We are 50 minutes away.

Jodi: Fifty, five-zero?

Chloe: Five-zero. So he asked if he could come up, and luckily, I live on a beautiful lake that has a very wide trail. So I said, “We could walk around the lake,” where if I was on one side, he was on the other, it’s easily six feet apart. Like I said, there weren’t masks yet.

Jodi: Okay. So before we delve into that date, tell us a little bit about David’s backstory. Has he been married before? Does he have kids?

Chloe: His story was very similar to mine. I believe he was married for 18 years. We both separated in the same month. We graduated from high school in the same year. His children’s ages are close to mine. He has an 18-year-old and a 19-year-old, one that was still in high school, getting ready to graduate. That just seemed like more of a fit to me.

I needed somebody who had been in a long-term relationship. They separated not really amicably, but there was no affair. It was just time for two people to go their own separate ways. That was something that I was looking for that I didn’t want somebody that had cheated or had been unkind to their spouse. I understand people growing apart or not being a fit, especially after so many years. But to have broken a vow would not be okay with it.

Jodi: Did he convey to you whether or not he was emotionally past the separation and on good emotional footing?

Chloe: He did. He said that he wasn’t quite there yet, that he didn’t want the divorce. His wife had left and he was still adjusting to that.

Jodi: Okay. You knew going in that it could be a little complicated or very complicated with him because of where his head was at and where his heart was at.

Chloe: Well, I asked him directly, if his wife came back and said, “I want you back, would you go back?” And he said, “No, I don’t even like her right now.”

Jodi: Oh!

Chloe: And I said, “I think it’s important that you do find a level footing with your ex because you have children together and therefore you’re always going to be in each other’s lives and your children should not pay for the sins of their parents and I thought that we owe it to our children to be kind to their mother or father.”

Jodi: That is a beautiful thought and perspective. Very gracious and healthy. But here he is carrying a lot of anger.

Chloe: Yes, he did not see it from that perspective at all. I actually felt irritation in his voice when he would talk about how he didn’t feel the same way I did and didn’t know if that was possible.

Jodi: These are really heavy-duty conversations to have with someone who you haven’t met in person yet.

Chloe: I think that’s my personality and maybe not his.

Jodi: How much do you think the distance and just the fact that the two of you lived 50 minutes apart, but also the distance that COVID created early on, played into you having those deeper level conversations?

Chloe: Maybe a little bit, but I think that’s exactly who I am. Just get to the meat of anything. I don’t want to say don’t think, because I definitely think, but I’m always like just jumped two feet ahead into anything. That may be not the best way to handle things, but it’s the way I did.

Jodi: But it’s you.

Chloe: Yeah. If I want to know something, I’m going to find out.

Jodi: The day of the date arrives. How were you feeling that morning?

Chloe: I was very anxious. There’s the excitement and then there’s the fear. I made the mistake of, well, maybe not a mistake, but I decided to invite him to my home to walk where I live at this lake. I know that’s a no-no, but I felt like the amount that we talked, I felt comfortable inviting him here. So he actually came to my house, which I don’t know that I would recommend, but that’s the way this happened.

Therefore, I was a little nervous about that. But then he showed up  through the back door because we had this agreement that we would go for a walk and then we could sit at my back patio and have a glass of wine or something afterwards. He was adorable and came with a nice bottle of wine and little Ziploc bags with different things like grapes and walnuts and chocolates and cheese and pepperoni. He made it like a beautiful charcuterie board.

Jodi: Oh, that’s so sweet. He took the charcuterie board cue from your profile to heart.

Chloe: Yes, but it was the awkwardness of, “Okay, how do you let him in your house?” Right. This is COVID. You’re supposed to keep separation. I think we automatically just moved it to three feet just because I do live in a small area and Lisa was fine with it. I had to have a long conversation with her living here. We have to respect that. “Are you okay if this man comes and I do go on a walk with him and I have the charcuterie board outside on the deck with him?”

It’s like all three of us made this agreement that we were okay with three feet. So when I invited him in to put his stuff down and change his shoes to go for the walk, he kind of just set everything down on the table. And again, I kept my three feet away. Then we went outside to put our shoes on. I think we stood up and gave each other a hug and then it’s like, “We just threw this whole social distancing to the side.” And then we realized we did that, so then on the walk, we kind of still stayed apart and then we slowly worked back together so that we were almost shoulder to shoulder by the end. The hike is like a mile, but very quickly we ignored those social distancing rules.

Reinventing Yourself

Jodi: There was this magnetic force that pulled the two of you together.

Chloe: We just said the hell with it.

Jodi: How were you feeling? What was going on in the back of your head as you were going against the social distancing guidelines?

Chloe: I think at first, it wasn’t even about COVID. It was about meeting somebody who I don’t even know and how close do you get to them? So even if there wasn’t COVID, I think those same things would be going through my head. I think the COVID part was more for Lisa who was staying with me, and  also people  we would see out on our walk and would they judge me? Of course, they wouldn’t know that I don’t know this man. But that went through my head too. So it was more of appearances to other people that was important to me and not COVID being so important to me as a person being worried about getting it.

Jodi: You spoke about how you had asked him a lot of really deep level personal questions during your conversations before the two of you met. Now you’re out together. You’re walking around the lake. How’s that conversation going? How were the two of you getting along then?

Chloe: It was great. It was easy. We just walked. It was like I’d known him for a while. There was a little bit of ego in my head wondering, “I wonder if he thinks I’m pretty. I wonder if he’s attracted to me.” Those normal things. But the conversation  flowed easily and I enjoyed my time. But then as you get closer, like, okay, we’ve already walked this loop. Do you keep walking? Do you say, “Hey, do you want to go back and have a glass of wine?” So there were those awkward moments of what do you do now. But I think again, that’s just a normal first state for any of those thoughts.

Jodi: Exactly. That’s just the first date.

Chloe: Yes. But he was easy to be with.

Jodi: Were you getting more and more attracted to him as the two of you were out walking?

Chloe: I don’t think I would have allowed myself to. There was still a bit of being on guard. But he was easy and I was definitely attracted to him when we came back and sat down and had wine and charcuterie and the laughs happened. It just got easier and easier as the date went on.

Jodi: When you went back to the house, what happened?

Chloe: He put together the charcuterie board. I gave him the cutting board and he laid it all out. He  very much likes to be in charge. Like, “Where’s this?” He wants to do it all himself and make the presentation the way I guess he expected I wanted it to look. So I just allowed him to free roam of the kitchen and I went and sat outside and then he presented this beautiful charcuterie board with wine.

Jodi: Lovely! You learned a lot about him within an hour or two of meeting him that you didn’t know up to that point.

Chloe: Yes. And the conversation literally just flowed. And I think hours went by, we were just sitting outside and that’s when Lisa said, “It’s dinner time. You guys want me to make dinner?” And we just agreed and she literally made us dinner and served it to us, but then it got cold and we had to come inside and that’s where we sat on the couch. I sat at one side, he sat on the other, and then I don’t remember. At some point, there was no more distance between us. I think he grabbed my foot and maybe gave me a foot rub or something. It just became perfectly natural and I felt like I knew this man. Again, the COVID rules just didn’t apply anymore.

Jodi: Wonderful that you were in the moment and you felt that it was right and your gut told you to go forward and you did so without consequence.

Chloe: Yes. And I think that’s the key point where you just have to trust your intuition and literally just trust that this is going to be okay. It feels right. All my senses were feeling safe and secure. So I just trusted it.

Jodi: How did the evening come to a close?

Chloe: It lasted nine hours.

Jodi: Wow!

Chloe: We ended up calling my sister-in-law. They knew all the same people because they were from the same hometown and graduated the same year. It was like we both didn’t want it to end, but he did have a son in high school and he needed to be home. So I think it was around 10 o’clock and I’m like, “It’s time for you to go. Your son’s at home.” And he agreed.

Jodi: What was it like when the two of you parted?

Chloe: Natural, like I had known him for a long time and he was an amazing kisser. So of course, I didn’t want him to leave. If I had to say, it was a perfect COVID date.

Jodi: That’s great. Please share with us what has happened between you and David since then.

Chloe: Well, I think I heard from him maybe two days later. He actually spoke to me more before we went on the date than after we went on the date, when I thought it was such a great date. And then what I came to realize is that’s just part of his personality, being nervous. So we had this great day, but then there’s space and I’m like, “Well, is this part of the dating world?” I didn’t understand it.

To me, if you had a great time, you just keep talking like regular. It almost felt like there were rules after first dates, but we got through those and I actually said, “I don’t like that we wait two or three days to talk. It doesn’t feel organic and I would appreciate from you that this evolves where I feel like I want to talk to you. I talk to you and then you talk to me, not this game playing.”

We went on some more dates and then he asked me to go away with him for the weekend. That tells you a lot about a person. I think that was where some problems started to happen where we were both trying to understand what the other person wants and that’s very hard, especially when you’ve been married so long. So you have certain ideas of how things should go and he had expectations and I had expectations and they weren’t matching. We had a conversation and we tried again and that went lovely and we got closer again. But again, he would keep pulling away.

When we were together, it was wonderful and perfect. But then when we were apart, there was a distance that he was creating on purpose. I didn’t understand it and I did confront that. He did admit that yes, he was purposely keeping distance because it was too close to his getting divorced. We were dealing with his fears at that point.

Jodi: He really wasn’t ready at that time to be in a relationship.

Chloe: No, and he wasn’t sharing feelings and I was sharing feelings. So it got rocky there for a little while and then he came back around and started sharing some more feelings and it became really, really great. I made the mistake of saying, “I love you,” which…..let me re-frame that….I shouldn’t have said we made the mistake. I honored my true feelings and said, “I love you.” He halted everything and called things off.

Jodi: Goodness. He ran for the hills.

Chloe: He ran for the hills. We went from ten to zero. That really was hard for me to digest. And then I had to understand because I am very open and loving and for me to try to understand somebody not being so open and not being so free with their feelings was very hard.

Jodi: That must’ve been crushing because you were being true to yourself, you had been honest with him from the get-go, how you were feeling, who you are, you put it out there and he wasn’t capable of receiving that most loving of expressions as you had expected he would.

Chloe: Right. It crushed my heart and physically, it felt like a punch in the stomach. But my heart had already been through the divorce and what he had done was share his true feelings. He said, “I can’t show up like you do. I don’t want to share all of my feelings with you yet and you’re very open and honest and loving and I’m not ready to share that much with you yet.” And I said, “So are you breaking things off?” And he said, “Yes.” And I said, “I will bow out gracefully. There are no hard feelings. You just shared your true feelings.” But inside, I was devastated.

Jodi: Understandably, but he wasn’t ready to receive the glorious gift of you in his life.

Chloe: I love how you say that. Now that there’s been time since then for me to digest it, I agree with you. Saying “I love you” is never a bad thing and how somebody receives it is their business. If you truly love them, then you have to say it and let them process it any way they can and do with it, whatever they choose to do with it. His choice was to walk away.

I became part of a lawsuit and the one person that my lawyer said I needed to hire was what his specialty is. So I took the risk to call and ask if he would help me, or if he didn’t feel comfortable, would he at least point me in the right direction of somebody that could help me? And of course, he agreed to help me. We became closer during this time than we did when we were actually dating.

Jodi: Really? Do you think that was because he didn’t feel the pressure of a budding romance? He could just be himself without any expectations of him being a romantic partner, thrust upon him?

Chloe: Yes. I wasn’t being myself because I didn’t know he was keeping me at arm’s length and so I would not call and I would not reach out. So even though I was asking for this organic relationship to unfold, I wasn’t being organic. I was always waiting around for him to call.

When this happened and he was helping me, I had to call if I needed an answer and he had to call me to ask questions. So there wasn’t this thought process of, “Is he going to read into this if I call?” It just was genuine and it actually happened organically the way we wanted to when we were not dating.

Jodi: Who would have expected that a lawsuit would bring the two of you back together?

Chloe: Yes.  We actually got to see each other more clearly for who we are, working together because there were ethical issues. At times, I was asked to do things that I said I couldn’t because it went against my integrity. I saw quickly that he really liked that. I couldn’t do things just for the sake of winning. There had to be integrity behind our actions.

One day he called and asked if he could come by and see me because he was in town for business.  I said, “Of course.” He came over and the first thing he said was, “I lied. There’s no business. I just wanted to see you.” Then I looked at him and I said, “David, what are you doing here?” And he said, “I think you’re a wonderful woman and I just wanted to see you.”

He gave me this long beautiful hug and he said, “Oh, you smell like Chloe. I really missed you.” I looked him in the eyes. I said, “Are you going to run again?” And he said, “No.” And I said, “Are you sure?” And he said, “Yes.” And he’s stood by that commitment. He’s shown up, he’s talked about feelings and now we’re in a wonderful, committed relationship.

Jodi: You helped him grow. You helped him become emotionally healthier person because he realized that you bring so much goodness into his life that he needed to step up so that he didn’t miss out on you.

Chloe: Yes. I think so. I showed him that there was nothing to be afraid of, that I am trustworthy and I’m not going to run. I’m not going anywhere and that those words, “I love you,” mean I accept you exactly as you are without expectations. You can just give me the opportunity to love you and you have the opportunity to love me back.

Jodi: Have you said those words to him again since the two of you got back together?

Chloe: No.

Jodi: Well, those are big words to say and clearly they had a major consequence when they were said earlier. Would you ever have expected something like this to happen during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Chloe: Absolutely not. Even without COVID….that just makes it even more amazing that it did happen and the connection did happen. But no, I did not see this coming and it was such a beautiful pleasant surprise.

Jodi: What learnings did you take away from this journey you’ve been on with David?

Chloe: To be gracious in spirit.  You don’t know what the other person has been through. So you really have to have a lot of grace in how anybody reacts to you, especially if you’re having an intimate relationship with someone else. Saying “I love you” is going to be interpreted by me as such a kind and generous, loving gesture where it could be taken as very scary by another person. It doesn’t have to be labeled as good or bad.

I think you just have to allow each person to be exactly who they are. And hopefully, you are at the same point where you can receive them and they can receive you. But I do think it all has to come down to loving yourself first and also having compassion and love for the other person.

Jodi: That’s beautiful. You’ve been through a personal renaissance. What advice do you have for women listening who have come out of a long-term relationship and are trying to find their footing?

Chloe: It’s okay to be afraid. It’s perfectly natural. It’s okay to have confidence and look in the mirror and say, “I like you.” I think we were all taught to be humble and maybe not toot your own horn. But this is the one time that is so important to toot your own horn, to feel good, and to just be a badass. Dig deep and find the badass in each of you and let that shine. Because if you don’t do it, no one else will.

Jodi: Be a badass. I love it! Thank you for coming on the show and sharing this tremendous tale with us and for encouraging us all to be badasses.

Chloe: Yes. From one badass to another!

Photo by Dylan Reuter on Unsplash.

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