Jodi: Hello, Isabel. Welcome back to the podcast.
Isabel: Hi Jodi. It’s so great to be back.
Jodi: It was terrific to talk to you last season. For whoever’s listening to this episode who’s not heard our “Isabel and Todd” episode from Season 2, you have got to check it out! It’s unlike any other conversation I’ve ever had on the podcast. Definitely have a listen to it. But on this episode, we’re going to talk about another date. Before we do, you know that we like to have our listeners get a bit of an idea about each of our guests. Please tell us about you.
Isabel: I’m a 40 something. I am married. I have a dog. I don’t have any children and I’m a very outdoorsy person, super active, do yoga, love to travel.
Jodi: What kind of dog do you have?
Isabel: I have a labradoodle.
Jodi: Nice! On today’s episode we’re going to talk about a date with whom?
Isabel: With Zane.
Jodi: Zane. I love that name.
Isabel: Isn’t it a great name?
Jodi: That is a great name. Where were you in your life when you met Zane?
Isabel: I was actually in a really good place in my life, really working on myself, really focusing on me, not really dating and doing some deep, deep inner work.
Jodi: What drove you to desire to do this work on yourself?
Isabel: A lot of it had to do with my past relationships and them all having the same theme, the same pattern, and realizing that part of that same theme and pattern was me.
Jodi: That isn’t always the easiest realization to get to.
Isabel: No. It takes a lot of climbing over your ego to see that.
Jodi: Wow! You took that journey?
Isabel: I chose to take that journey. Yes.
Jodi: Was it a healthy one for you to take?
Isabel: It was very healthy.
Jodi: Now you’re on this journey. You are doing a lot of introspective work. Where did Zane fit into all of this? How did the two of you cross paths?
Isabel: Well, I signed up for a workshop. It was an emotional intelligence workshop. So again, allowing myself to get deeper within myself. I wasn’t looking for anybody. I was looking for myself, for me. Zane happened to be in this workshop with me.
Jodi: The two of you were in amongst of group of how many people?
Isabel: Approximately 90.
Jodi: Oh, it was a big workshop.
Isabel: Yeah, it was really large.
Jodi: How did the two of you connect at this workshop?
Isabel: Well, it was a multiple day workshop. So the first couple of days, I didn’t even notice him. I didn’t even know he was in there. My focus was, again, really just on myself and learning what we were being taught in this workshop. It was really fascinating. And then by day three, he had come up to me.
Jodi: And said what?
Isabel: “You’re a really beautiful woman. And if I wasn’t engaged, you’d be somebody I’d love to date.” But it was completely innocent. I didn’t think he was trying to pick up on me and that he was a cheater. No, not at all. It was completely innocent and I was just kind of like, “Oh, Zane, you’re so silly.”
Jodi: It was quite flattering of him.
Jodi: But he was getting married.
Jodi: Did the two of you spend time at the workshop together after he said those very flattering words to you?
Isabel: Actually, no, we didn’t. That was said and then that was kind of it that day.
Jodi: What happened next?
Isabel: By the fifth day, we spent a little more time together and just talked, But still, it was very innocent, very sweet, very kind. And then, the workshop ended. There was an option with this workshop, to take another one that was about 10 days later. I had signed up for that one and he had signed up for it as well. This was another multiple day workshop, and towards the end he came to our group and let us all know that his fiancé had cheated on him. Not once, not twice. You get this story.
Jodi: Oh! Was that horrible discovery one of the reasons he had gone to the workshop?
Isabel: No. He had gone to the workshop because she’d suggested he should go. She had done it, and she thought it would be good for their relationship.
Jodi: But she had cheated on him multiple times.
Isabel: He hadn’t known that yet. He discovered it in the workshop that was 10 days later after the first workshop. She came clean with him at home. He came and shared it with us.
Isabel: Very brutal.
Jodi: It must’ve been a very safe environment for him to approach this group of people and share something so devastating.
Isabel: It was. He was very vulnerable and we were all really open. So it was a really safe place for him.
Jodi: Where was their relationship at that point?
Isabel: Everything was called off.
Jodi: He broke it off with her?
Isabel: He broke it off, but it wasn’t that easy. They were living together. She had a daughter and he had been in her life for a long time. So it wasn’t a clean break. It took time.
Jodi: It sounds really complicated.
Isabel: Very complicated.
Jodi: Now, you are part of this group of people that he divulged his soul to…
Jodi: …opened up his everything to, emotionally. How did you try to help him through this?
Isabel: I just became a friend to him, a really good listener. We started talking a lot on the phone. We’d be on the phone for hours…just really being there for him, just being a friend with no intention on either side of us.
Jodi: Did you live in the same area?
Isabel: No, we didn’t. He lived six hours away by car.
Jodi: So you weren’t getting together face to face, it was all conversations over the phone.
Isabel: Yes. Correct.
Jodi: You were clearly very generous to step up and be there for him and become a friend to somebody who you’d only just met.
Isabel: He’s a very kind person and he was hurting. We had done this deep work together. So I wanted to be there for him. He needed it.
Jodi: That’s a great gift.
Jodi: To give anybody.
Jodi: The gift of listening and not judging, and being there.
Isabel: He was a big gift for me as well. He was a man that I had no intention with at the time, but I felt really safe around him.
Jodi: How did things evolve from that point forward?
Isabel: Out of nowhere, one day he asked me on a date. I was like, “I don’t know.” The date was to meet him in Singapore.
Jodi: You don’t live in Singapore.
Isabel: No, I don’t live in Singapore.
Jodi: He doesn’t live in Singapore.
Isabel: He doesn’t live in Singapore.
Jodi: That must’ve come out of left field.
Isabel: It came out of left field.
Jodi: What did you say?
Isabel: “Can I get let you know tomorrow?” He was like, “What?” (Laughter)
Jodi: Why was he inviting you to Singapore?
Isabel: He was actually going for work and he just thought it would be fun.
Jodi: Were you feeling at that time like the two of you were working towards a romantic connection? All the conversations you were having over the phone, were they heading in that way in your mind?
Isabel: They were. Something had clicked.
Jodi: About how much time had transpired since the workshop to the point when he invited you to Singapore?
Isabel: I would say a month.
Jodi: That’s pretty fast.
Isabel: Yeah. It is pretty fast, and I also didn’t want to be a rebound.
Jodi: You saw this man at his lowest low.
Isabel: I did.
Jodi: A month later he asks you to fly to the other side of the world with him.
Jodi: What were you thinking?
Isabel: I wasn’t. That’s why I said I had to get back to him. Who does that?
Isabel: Yeah, exactly. Zane does this. I’ve never been in a situation like that before.
Jodi: How did you figure out whether to go or not?
Isabel: Well, I had to let him know the next day, and of course I had to get on the phone with all my girlfriends.
Jodi: Of course you did.
Isabel: And we had to gather and we had to talk about it and gossip about it. “Do I go? Do I not go?” They said, “You have to go. Who gets asked to go to Singapore? And you trust him. You spent enough time talking with him. He’s a kind human and he’s not a sleazebag.”
Jodi: Did you listen to your girlfriends?
Isabel: I listened to my girlfriends.
Jodi: We should listen to our girlfriends.
Isabel: We should listen to our girlfriends.
Jodi: Did you call him up the next day?
Isabel: I think I sent a text like, “Okay, I’m in.” I was trying to be a little casual.
Jodi: Even though you were probably feeling…?
Isabel: No, I wasn’t feeling casual. Yeah. I was like, “Whoa! Okay.”
Jodi: How was the trip?
Isabel: The trip was amazing!
Jodi: So let’s be clear. Your first date with Zane was in Singapore?
Isabel: My first date with Zane was in Singapore.
Jodi: That’s a hell of a first date! Take me through it.
Isabel: We live in different areas, so we flew in separately. It’s a long flight. We met in the airport, I think around 2:00 AM Singapore time. I’m not going to lie. It was a little awkward, kind of like, “Hi. Yeah. We’re in Singapore.”
We get to this hotel, this amazing hotel. It’s called the Marina Bay Sands, and it’s just insane. We check in and they’re like, “Oh, your room’s not available. So we have to upgrade you.”
Isabel: This room was floor to ceiling, 40-foot windows. It was gorgeous, looking out on the bay. I was just beside myself.
Jodi: Had you been to Singapore before?
Isabel: I’d never been to Singapore before.
Jodi: Had you been to Asia before?
Isabel: I have been to Asia. I had been to Bali, but two completely different places.
Jodi: Yes, very different destinations.
Isabel: Singapore is beautiful. It’s the cleanest place I’ve ever been. It’s gorgeous. This room was gorgeous. This was just turning into a major fairytale.
Jodi: You said that it was a bit awkward in the airport.
Jodi: And you now had been upgraded to this suite with this huge view.
Isabel: Stunning suite.
Jodi: Amazing. What was going through your head?
Isabel: It was also overwhelming and I was exhausted. I was newly liking somebody. I’m in a different country. There was just so much going on. “Am I tired? Am I hungry?” Yeah, I was kind of a mess, but a good mess.
Jodi: Did you feel that he was feeling uncomfortable or was he feeling a little awkward?
Isabel: I could tell we both were a little shy, a little awkward. And again, he’d just got off of a really long flight as well.
Jodi: The two of you hadn’t even kissed before?
Isabel: No, we had not.
Jodi: And here you are in this beautiful hotel room together.
Jodi: How did you navigate that?
Isabel: I just said I’m going to take a bath. The first night was pretty innocent.
Jodi: And how did things go from there?
Isabel: From there, it clicked, and then it was a whirlwind. Singapore is a beautiful place. He’s a foodie. I’m a foodie. So we had amazing food. Eating together can be so intimate and that was a really great connection that we had. It was a magical, beautiful time and it was only four days.
Jodi: You said that you didn’t want to be a rebound. As the two of you are in Singapore together, what were you picking up about where he was coming from?
Isabel: I was picking up that he was completely into me, that this was authentic and this was real. I did not feel like a rebound at all. But we are also traveling and that can be kind of fantasy.
Jodi: A wonderful fantasy.
Isabel: A wonderful fantasy. Yes.
Jodi: What else happened during your four-day first date that you’d like to share?
Isabel: Well, we kissed and we solidified our relationship. And it was beautiful and it was wonderful. And I’m not going to tell everything.
Jodi: You don’t have to.
Isabel: You can only guess though. You can only imagine because you would do the same that I did.
Jodi: Yes. Yes.
Isabel: But it was just wonderful and amazing, and that’s when I think I fell in love with him.
Jodi: On your first trip together?
Jodi: You fell in love. That’s beautiful.
Isabel: But I didn’t know/ I think that I was, but he was just different. Something was just very different. I feeling l’d never had with anybody.
Jodi: How did the time together in Singapore come to an end, and what was the parting of ways at the airport like?
Isabel: It made it a little awkward again, and a little sad. I didn’t know if this was just this trip, and we were going home and we were going to still talk as much as we had, or was this just a thing? That’s when the rebound stuff hit me. “Was this just some fling for him to get over the ex or just to get back? Did he use me and was this all it was?” And stuff like that. So my plane ride home was a little awkward for me. A little stressful.
Jodi: You ran that movie in your head, huh?
Isabel: I did, yeah.
Jodi: Were you picking up clues along the way that that might be the case?
Isabel: I was not picking up those clues, but it’s just a place I would go. So again, back to my weird patterns that I was working on breaking.
Jodi: Right. Well, what did happen between the two of you after you got back?
Isabel: Well, after I got back, I heard from him right away. Everything stayed the same and we ended up seeing each other almost every weekend.
Jodi: You did?
Jodi: That’s tremendous.
Isabel: Yes. I’d fly and go see him. He’d come see me.
Jodi: You weren’t on this magical trip any longer. You were back in the States. How did things feel between the two of you?
Isabel: It felt good because everything stayed the same. All those thoughts in my head weren’t true. We still talked every day. We still were in contact, texting, talking at the end of the day, after work, right before bed, in the morning, texting. So it just continued and it became more. We spent more time doing it and more time connecting and it was different because we had taken our relationship to a different level.
Jodi: Tell me where things went from there.
Isabel: There was back and forth traveling and one day he gave me the key to his apartment.
Jodi: Was that a huge surprise?
Isabel: It was a really huge surprise because I didn’t know if he gave me the key just to have when I came to visit. But he wanted me to move with him and asked me if I was open to leaving my life behind and coming to where he lives.
Jodi: How much time had passed since the magical trip to Singapore before that key was given to you?
Isabel: I would say a year.
Jodi: What was your response to him?
Isabel: I think I may have teared up and cried. Nobody ever gave me a key to their place, let alone I’d never lived with anybody.
Jodi: You hadn’t been married before and this was the first invitation….
Isabel: It was. Yes.
Jodi: …to move in with somebody.
Isabel: It was real. I was in a real relationship.
Jodi: That’s fantastic.
Jodi: It really is. Fast forward to now, how are you and Zane doing?
Isabel: We are happily married.
Jodi: Oh! How many years have you been married?
Isabel: We’ve been married two and a half years.
Jodi: The two of you went on quite an Odyssey together.
Jodi: You and Zane came together at a time when you were making yourself vulnerable by being at the workshops, and he made himself vulnerable both by being at the workshops and just coming from an incredibly raw, difficult, painful place that, unexpectedly, brought the two of you to an incredibly joyous place.
Isabel: Yes, it did.
Jodi: What have you learned from that period of your relationship and the early stages of going to Singapore with him and taking that risk?
Isabel: Being vulnerable can be very scary, but it can also be really rewarding because you’re being real. You’re being honest. Our relationship was created on real vulnerability and honesty.
Jodi: What suggestions or advice do you have for the women listening to us talk?
Isabel: Take care of you. Make sure you know what you want, what you really, really want, and don’t change yourself for a man. And when you do meet a man, stay vulnerable. If he can’t handle it, that’s a red flag for you to get out because that’s how he’s going to handle every situation. I wasn’t my husband’s rebound. And if I’d let myself get in my head, I would’ve sabotaged that and I didn’t. So know your worth and when you know your worth, anything can happen.
Jodi: This has been a wonderful, life-affirming story that you’ve shared, Isabel. Thank you for coming on the show again to share it with me and all our listeners.
Isabel: Thank you for having me again.