The following is the transcript for this podcast episode.:
Jodi: Hello, Cindy. It is terrific to have you back on the show! Thank you very much for coming and spending time with me and the listeners again, to tell us another first state store.
Cindy: Well, I’m happy to be here, Jodi. I love first state stories and I’m excited to share another one with you.
Jodi: Oh, that means so much. And I know you’ve got a good one to tell us about today now. Unfortunately, I know that you’ve had experience with personal tragedy and upheaval before. And those listeners who’ve heard the “Cindy and Mike” episode from Season 2, they know what I’m talking about, but for those listeners who have not heard that episode yet, could you please share again what happened to you when you were 46 years old?
Cindy: Yes. I am a widow. My husband passed away. We were both 46 years old. I’m now 61. So that’s been 15 years. Yeah. He had cancer and was diagnosed with a tumor in his leg. And then even after intensive chemotherapy it spread to his lungs and he passed away. So it was from 44 to 46 years old that we had the cancer ordeal in our lives, and then he passed away.
So my whole life changed as a result. And any widow knows that. Of course you don’t expect something like this to happen when you’re making all your plans for your future and your life together.
Jodi: Of course you don’t. And it’s such a sad thing that happened. I recall from the last episode, you talking about what a tremendous man. He was and how he still remains with you as you forge forward in life.
Cindy: Yes. And I have two adult sons and two grandchildren and a daughter-in-law.
Jodi: You lost your husband had 46. How did you step forward and out again into the world and eventually get yourself to a place where you were ready to date?
Cindy: Yeah, that’s a great question. My younger son was a sophomore in high school when his father passed away. And so of course an emphasis was on him and school and getting him through school.
I’m a very social person. And so the period when my husband was ill, I was of course, devoted to his caretaking and I was working full time, which I still am doing, and family. Tasks and everything that involves being a mother and a caretaker and a full-time worker. I had a couple of girlfriends, one was recently divorced. We would spend time together and then I gradually got on a dating site, E-harmony and Match.
I was ready to meet people because just being social and going out with girlfriends….I don’t like going to bars. How am I going to meet someone? Or just even as a friend, a male friend. I was looking for companionship. So what is the best way to do that? So I did start dating online a couple of years after my husband passed.
Jodi: I’m curious. Does the topic of you being a widow come up when you’re starting to get to know a new man?
Cindy: I feel like most of the sites you choose, like you’re divorced or widowed. So I always put I’m widowed, but I did have, as I recall one, man, I went out a few times. It was just super tentative for me as far as any kind of physical recognition or any kind of touching or kissing as we went out a few times and he stopped going out with me. I think he was unsure how to approach me either. And he’s just like, I don’t think you’re ready and I’m not ready with you being a widow.
Jodi: But now we’re many years later and many dates later and many relationships later. Right? And so when we last left off, you still had the 3D model of your back house that Mike and his daughter had made for you, but otherwise you had moved on,
Cindy: Correct. Yes.
Jodi: It’s about two years later. And you’ve got a new date to tell us about who is this date?
Cindy: Okay. This date is with Bob. I met him on Match. He reached out to me with a message. It was very a great message because he commented about one of my photos. And I really liked that because on a number of the dating apps, you’ll have men just reach out and say “Hi” or “Hi Beautiful” or “You’ve got a beautiful smile” and that’s all they’ll say. It’s just a very tentative approach.
Then I’ll message back usually cause I know it’s awkward to reach out to someone. But I really appreciated that he commented specifically about my photo and the setting of my photo being near a town where he lived.
Jodi: He saw your photo, he processed it and thought about it and then made a point of telling you that he admired your appearance and could connect with where you were. So clearly he was reaching out to you to make a true connection and not just throw out a “Hey Beautiful”.
Cindy: Yes he was.
Jodi: And what happened next?
Cindy: Well, it was a Sunday morning when he first messaged me in January of this year and we messaged back and forth that day. And then he sent me a lot of photos that day, because on the app, he didn’t have very many photos.
He sent me photos of his home and his yard and he has some cattle and it was very charming and very sweet that he did that. And then I initiated would he like to have a video chat or talk?
I was attracted to him. He is in good physical condition and he’s actually a year younger than me. And so that was nice. So I was excited to get to know more about him. So we talked by telephone and it was nice. It was a good conversation, just kind of back and forth. He is a big talker, so he did share quite a bit about himself in our phone call.
Jodi: Did he overshare?
Cindy: No. He talked about his children, a boy and a girl, older out of college. It was a good amount. And then he followed up with that and he said, I wanted you to know, I very much enjoyed speaking with you today and I look forward to our next conversation.
So it was a great Sunday for me to get that kind of communication. And then he told me to text or call if I have the urge and he said, “I’ll be waiting to hear from you.” So then he kind of put it to me to do that which I was kinda like, okay.
Jodi: Yeah. He landed it straight on your lap! You felt good about that though.
Cindy: Yes. Yeah. I was appreciative that he initiated the first conversation. But I’m outgoing and I don’t mind kind of initiating things like that. So we did talk the next day too, and I always try to set up a time cause we’re so busy. And instead waiting to see, especially since he put it in my lap. So we talked the next evening.
Jodi: And how did the conversations evolve to the point that you made a date?
Cindy: Midway through the week I initiated in our texting that it’s the Martin Luther King holiday weekend coming up in January, and that I had Monday off, and that if he wanted to visit because he did live too hours away.
Jodi: That’s quite a distance.
Cindy: Yes. Right.
Jodi: So the two of you seeing each other takes one of you or both of you to travel and really make some time commitment to get to wherever the rendezvous spot is.
Cindy: And I’m a planner. So he did not initiate meeting after I had said it would be nice to meet in person till Sunday and said, “Good morning, it’s a beautiful day. What are your plans today? I thought about a day out and coming to see you today or tomorrow.” So that was in the morning on Sunday. And so I said, “Hey, I have Monday off. Why don’t we do tomorrow? Because I need more planning time.”
So since it’s my town he was visiting, he wanted me to initiate where we should meet. And I’m fine with that. So we made plans to meet at a restaurant that had a rooftop deck.
He texted me and he said, “Hey, I’m a little early,” so of course that’s very considerate cause he was driving from out of town. We had made plans to meet at 12:30pm and he got there at 12:00pm.
Jodi: He sounds like a considerate man.
Cindy: I was getting that feeling, yes. I felt kind of bad that he needed to wait, but it was fine. I got there on time and, and then we had lunch.
Jodi: Now, backing up to before you had lunch. When you got there, what was the “hello” like with him?
Cindy: Well, we had on masks and it was just kind of a “hello” and smiling with your eyes through the mask while the host has made our way upstairs to the patio where we had lunch.
Jodi: It is like a big reveal, isn’t it? When you pull off the mask, when you’re on a first date after doing that animated eye contact, when you’re wearing masks that we’ve all gotten good at.
Cindy: Yes. We were both happy to see each other and making eye contact and feeling comfortable. I felt comfortable with him.
So, he didn’t peruse the menu too much in detail. He was like, “I’ll have enchiladas.” It was a Mexican restaurant. I’m more of a foodie. So I would have liked looking at appetizers, having maybe ceviche. But we didn’t do that. And I didn’t want to request that. So I ordered my meal and I actually can’t remember what I had. But each of us had one course and no appetizers. So I kind of made note of that. Although he had told me he did like to cook.
You don’t know what makes people order like that. It could be not wanting to spend a lot of money at restaurants. The city kind of environment can be more expensive than the ranch area where he’s from.
Jodi: Okay. Bob and you placed your orders and how did things evolve from that point forward?
Cindy: Well, he did share about some surgery he was going to need to have. And so those kinds of things are sometimes, oh, you know, yuck! It had to do with that he used snuff when he was a young man. And so he was having to do some surgery in his mouth.
So that was like, “Okay is this what I really need to know about on that first date?” But for him to be sharing and another aspect to me, it’s like, well, that’s very open and comfortable having a conversation with me and I tend to ask a lot of questions. He did share about that with me. And it was a beautiful day. And since we knew he had come in so far, we were talking about taking a walk along the river after lunch.
Jodi: You did your stroll and how did things evolve from there?
Cindy: As a matter of fact, we ended up not walking as much as I thought we might, but we did stop and sit and talk to each other.
He has been divorced twice and so he shared more about his second marriage, the divorce, and a lot of detail about that relationship and things that had happened that were a little traumatic in his life. So he was very open and sharing things like that. And he did most of the talking. He had been divorced about a year, so I don’t know how much he had gone out before meeting me.
Jodi: Was it a little too much for you to be listening to all of that, to taking in all of that because it seems that he shared some pretty heavy duty stuff? So often on first dates, it’s much more, I wouldn’t say casual, but much more high level in the conversation. Not that you shouldn’t ask some important questions, but to disclose your history your past with all your past divorces and so on, that can be a lot.
Cindy: It was. And I think that since he lived two hours away and had, you know, drove in that, I guess I should have thought that more would be shared because we would be spending a longer time together.
Because is he going to drive in for two hours for a 90 minute lunch? So it just….I didn’t really think about that. It would lead to that much in depth conversation, but it did. And it was a lot to take in because there was a lot of….there’s even a lawsuit and things having to do with her workplace and just a lot of drama with his second marriage that he shared with me.
Jodi: Were you concerned with all that he shared that he had a history of being involved with drama and that he might bring that into a relationship with you?
Cindy: I was concerned. But I know that we all are not blank slates anymore. We’ve all had things happen in our lives. And for some people, me being a widow might be seen as a traumatic life experience. And certainly it was with my husband’s illness. So I just tried to be open and listen to his story.
And it, it seemed to be that the second wife especially had a lot of drama around her and he made a decision to marry her too quickly. So I was really giving him the benefit of the doubt and seeing him in a positive light by the story he told me.
Jodi: You and Bob have had a lot of time to converse about a lot of things. What happened next?
Cindy: Sure. So given we’d had a couple of phone conversations and he had texted me all those pictures, and he was sharing his life story with me, and he had driven two hours into town, I was like, do you want to come by my house and we can hang out on my front porch for a little bit?
It was four o’clock – late afternoon, four or five. And I just wanted to spend more time with him, to get to know him better, and to not have him drive the two hours home yet.
Jodi: That’s a big deal. What were you hoping would happen when you invited him to your home instead of, let’s say, to go walk through a shopping mall or some other neutral spot where other people were around you?
Cindy: Oh, that’s a great question. And you know, usually on a first date, I don’t have a man come to my house. But I wanted him to get to know me better. And my house is very personally decorated.
I’ve lived many places. I have a lot of artifacts. It’s a very comfy home. And I wanted him to see how I lived to get to know me better because I was interested in him. He had a lot of qualities that were attractive to me. He was financially secure, owned his home, the ranch. I knew he’d had really interesting, good job.
Actually he went to college in New York City, even though he grew up in more of a ranch setting. And he had traveled a lot. And so I was learning all of this, about him through this date and through our conversations. So I wanted him to get to know me better too. And I thought by seeing my home and spending some time there, that he would get to know me better.
Jodi: You mentioned earlier that he did a lot of the talking. Could it be that you wanted him to see your place because he hadn’t asked a lot of questions about you to the extent that you would have liked? So for him to see your place is presenting yourself a visual way versus a conversational way.
Cindy: Yes. I think that’s a great way to put it.
Jodi: What happened when you both got back to your place?
Cindy: Well I briefly showed him my home and we sat on the front porch and talked and then he was like “Do you have any coffee?” And I’m like “Sure.” And by then it was about 7pm and made him some coffee for him to take on the drive home.
Jodi: By this point you two had been together for what? Six or seven hours.
Jodi: Yes. I’m presuming the two of you got together again. So take us through please. How things transpired from there?
Cindy: So we did go on a second date another long date because he was driving in. I heard from him that first week after our first day. And he said, “I’m already thinking about when we can get together again.” And so we got together the next weekend. He drove into town on a Saturday and we spent the day together again. He came to my house first and we went on a short hike with a beautiful view and had a casual lunch. And so it was another great day. And that ended with me making him coffee and him driving home.
Jodi: Wow! You developed a quick little routine there didn’t you. Did the second date then lead to a third date?
Cindy: It did lead to a third day, but more than a month later.
Jodi: Why was that? What transpired in the interim?
Cindy: He had some more drama in his life where he was his ranch was broken into and he was robbed. And he had a number of clues to determine that it was the friend of his second ex-wife. When he first told me you know, it was a bit overwhelming. But he did share it with me I didn’t hear from him for a while. He was in the emergency room. He was beat up in his sleep.
Jodi: Oh, my gosh! So he was physically injured and recovering.
Cindy: Yes. And then we had a big snow storm and we live in an area where we don’t get a lot of snow, but we were FaceTiming and communicating. He actually helped me figure out what to do with frozen pipes. And we had this great conversation cause he builds houses and is very handy. And so he was giving me advice and I was so appreciative and we were sharing back and forth like, like this is a genuine relationship cause you’re supporting each other, even though we’re not seeing each other,
Jodi: Had you considered driving the two hours to see him while he was caught and below.
Cindy: So we did have the bad snow storm. I did want to go to his house and see his ranch in person. Then he ended up selling it very quickly because of the trauma that happened. So we would talk, I would check in, text. “How are you feeling?” Then I wouldn’t hear from him for a few days and he would just be like, “I’m really busy. I’m packing things up.” He also had a lawsuit. He also was meeting with sheriffs. So he had a lot going on.
Jodi: That is a lot that he has happening. You don’t owe him anything other than just being a friendly, considerate, caring woman. And he really hasn’t asked very much of you either.
In your mind were you seeing yourself with him longer term and becoming a part of his life?
Cindy: Well, at one point he said, “If you could live anywhere, where would it be?” And he sent me a picture of a home in Montana and I’m like, “That is gorgeous.” And I said, “I would want to be in a place that had an airport relatively close so that family could come visit. But I was open to thinking about having a second home in a more rural area like that.”
He did pose that question to me. So we had those kinds of conversations, kind of like tentative. And I said “With the right person, you know, when I get to know that right person. I would be willing to do that.”
Jodi: This is a lot to be discussing and to be dealing with with a person you’ve only met twice, never even kissed before.
Cindy: Correct. We did hug the second date and we did kiss very lightly.
Jodi: Oh, there was a little kind of peck sort of kiss?
Jodi: But nothing very romantic and nothing very lingering. Okay.
Jodi: Okay. Well take us to date three then please.
Cindy: Well, the date three happened. Like I said more than a month later and it was on a Friday, late afternoon. He happened to be in my town for a meeting for a job. He was looking at. I had made reservations on a rooftop deck to see the sunset, another rooftop, but a different restaurant. And then we went for another walk and he held my hand as we walked and he really enjoyed it. It was a little more romantic and I was initiating kind of like hugging.
And as we sat on the couch, I sat next to him. He was not initiating as much physical contact. So I initiated it because I wanted that to begin exploring that more since this was our third, you know, like 4 – 6 hour date. So he did hug me and said “This feels good” and kind of picked me up when he hugged me. And so we had more physical contact on this date that I enjoyed.
Jodi: How were you feeling when this was all going on? Especially since you acknowledged the were sort of leading the contact between the two of you?
Cindy: He did not initiate more. So I was a little disappointed. I was looking forward to a following date that maybe that would be one where we would become more physically connected.
Jodi: How did that date close out? What transpired between the two of you when you parted ways?
Cindy: The third date? It was positive. I made him his coffee. We kiss goodbye and he’s like, “Hmmm.. that’s nice.” And you know, he hugged me. He had his two hour drive home. The other thing that we had to talk about on that date is I had trips plan to visit family.
Jodi: Were the two of you in touch during that time?
Cindy: We were in touch. I sent him pictures of me and my grandchildren. But it wasn’t as much in touch as I would have liked but he did say when I was coming back that he was ready to have me back home.
Jodi: Gotcha. He was ready to be with you again?
Cindy: Yes. We planned date number four and I initiated through a text. “You have this long drive to my house. Would you like to stay the night?”
Jodi: Oh, okay. You put it out there!
Cindy: Yes, because he had not. And so he says, “well, that might be a good idea.” So I heard from him Saturday night and he had some issues with a rental car. He said “I misplaced my phone at the car rental. I found my phone I’m headed home.”
So then Sunday morning around 10:00am I hadn’t heard from him and I texted and then I called and there was no answer. And all day Sunday, I did not hear from him. He did not come to my home. He didn’t call me or text me. He ghosted me and stood me up!
Jodi: He ghosted you and stood you up.
Cindy: Yes, it was devastating. I have been ghosted by men I’ve communicated with a few times and then they just disappear. That’s not a big deal to me. This….we had those three long dates, as I’ve described to you, sharing of photos, family history.
Nothing from him! So on Wednesday, I hadn’t heard anything, but for myself I needed closure. So I sent him a very long text saying “I hope you’re okay. I’m going to share how I’m thinking and feeling with you for myself. And you don’t have to respond.”
Jodi: That’s very nice considering what he did. Did you get a response?
Cindy: No. So Jodi, I am only responsible for my actions and my feelings. So what he did, I didn’t take personally.
He has a lot going on in his life and I feel like I had been supportive, but there were like so many red flags about the drama in his life. And so maybe I dodged a bullet.
And actually, Jodi, I have been going out, not just with Bob, but yeah. Other men I’ve had other dates. And actually a man has been very devoted to me during all of this time when I’ve been going out with other men. And I decided to really give this man a chance because he’s always there for me. He’s reliable, responsible. Cares for me. And that he was willing to wait and see, you know, what would happen. And I really liked Bob because he was well-educated well-traveled financially secure, owned his home.
This other man doesn’t own his home. But he is very devoted and kind to me and loving it. And so I am focusing on those qualities and not the qualities I thought I should be looking for in a man.
Jodi: Well, first off, congratulations, because you deserve to receive all that kindness and all of that loving from someone with a big heart and a kind soul and I’m really glad it’s going so well for you and him.
And this experience with Bob, it seems really was eye opening for you because it helped you hone in on what’s truly important in the person that you want to be with.
Cindy: That’s correct. Yes.
Jodi: And maybe the qualities that you thought or the characteristics of his profile that you thought were important at the end of the day are not as important when you’re picking the person – the companion and the partner – that you want to work on, exploring a relationship with long-term.
Well, whether it was that he wasn’t in the emotional place, the right emotional right place to be involved, or some other reason, I think what you said earlier is likely right. He did you a favor and you are in such a better relationship, in such a better place now.
You’ve gained a lot of knowledge and perspective. What advice do you have this time for the women listening to us talk about how to approach dating and what wisdom do you have for them?
Cindy: The man I’m currently with, I didn’t think I would continue on with him. But he remained so devoted and kind that he stayed in my life. Despite me meeting other men who I think, who I thought, would be better suited to me. And I found out they weren’t.
So my advice is to be open to men who you might not think you would be interested in and when they show you who they are, believe them. So I wasn’t 100% surprised by being stood up and ghosted, kind of more a fit with the pattern I saw with his life having a lot of drama.
Jodi: Take Maya Angelou’s words to heart….”When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”
Jodi: Great words. Great story. Thank you so much, Cindy, for coming back on the show.
Cindy: Well thank you, Jodi. And it was a pleasure to be on your podcast again.