The following is the transcript of this podcast episode.:
Jodi: Hello, Laura. Thank you so much for joining me on the podcast. It’s terrific that you’re here.
Laura: Thank you for having me.
Jodi: We are going to talk about a first date that you went on. I want to first hear about you. Please, tell me, and tell the listeners, a bit about yourself.
Laura: Well, I’m 46. I’m a PhD student. I’m married and I’ve spent the last 15 years working as a spiritual counselor.
Jodi: You clearly have been doing a lot of significant work in recent years. But in the midst of it all, you found time to do some dating.
Laura: I did. I made it a project to do some dating.
Jodi: Tell me more about how you came about creating and carrying out this project.
Laura: Well, I was at the time in my life where I really wanted to meet someone and become involved in a serious relationship. So I read several dating books and followed some of their suggestions. In the process, I committed myself to becoming more involved in new groups and meeting new friends, as well as online dating and making space and time for that in my life and opening up that doorway, that window to what I wanted.
Jodi: Looking back, can you see how you evolved as a person during that time?
Laura: Very much so. When I started, I had to face whatever fears or limitations or blocks I had to meeting someone and also to making time and space for that in my life. But as I went on, and especially with online dating, I became very relaxed and free and open to meeting a lot of people. I had to learn to not take things personally and to just to let things be and let them flow. It definitely made me more confident and relaxed throughout the process.
Jodi: Tell me how you met Ivan.
Laura: I met Ivan on OkCupid.
Jodi: Did he start the chatting, or did you?
Laura: I did.
Jodi: What was it about his profile that sparked your interest?
Laura: When I was on online dating, often the profiles weren’t that interesting or the people didn’t seem very thoughtful to me. When I read his profile, it was clear he’d put a lot of time and effort into it. It was intelligent and reflective about life. He just sounded like an interesting person.
Jodi: That’s a lot to get from a profile. So, you contacted him. Then what happened?
Laura: With anybody that I met online, I always wanted to talk on the phone before I met them in person, just to get more of a feel for who they were and how we connected verbally as people. We had a really nice conversation and then we decided to meet in person.
Jodi: How were you feeling before the date?
Laura: I was looking forward to it. At the time, I was dating quite a few people. That was one of the suggestions I got out of one of the many dating books I read. I should date multiple people at the same time. And as hard and as difficult as that was, it was a very helpful suggestion because, again, it made me not take one person too seriously as I was getting to know him. Just let the situation be more relaxed. I was looking forward to our date, but I didn’t invest a lot of my energy into imagining what it would be like. I just knew he was a nice guy and I had enjoyed talking to him. I was looking forward to meeting him.
Jodi: Where did you meet him for the date?
Laura: I met him at a restaurant.
Jodi: When you arrived, did you spot him right away? Did he look like his photos?
Laura: He looked a bit older than his photo. Afterwards, I found out that he didn’t have that many photos. So that was part of it. He looked close enough to his photo, but he was definitely about five years older than the picture.
Jodi: Oh, okay.
Laura: A little grayer around the edges.
Jodi: I see. Did you call him out on that?
Laura: Not on the first date. Later on we talked about it.
Jodi: Please take me through the date.
Laura: It was really simple. We had drinks and dinner and sat and talked and got to know each other a bit better. We really enjoyed talking with each other, which is nice because many times I’d been on dates where that didn’t happen, where it was kind of this awkward process. But this time, we had a really nice conversation, enjoyed each other’s company, and learned about where we came from.
Jodi: How did the date end?
Laura: At the end of the date, he walked me to my car and that was it.
Jodi: So it was a pretty straightforward, very nice first date.
Jodi: Did he contact you after the date?
Laura: He did. It was about a day later. I got a text. Then two days later he called me and we set up a second date.
Jodi: How long did the two of you go out together?
Laura: There wasn’t even a second date! We planned the second date for a week and a half later. We were going to go to a street festival. It was kind of a market fair-type street festival. In between that time, he found out he had to do some work. So, he cancelled our second date. I was very much in a place of not taking things personally.
I was like, “All right, he’s busy. I will make no story in my head about what that’s about. I will continue on and date other people and go to the festival.” So I went to the festival without him. And I met someone else!
Jodi: Good for you that you went out and lived your life and did what you planned! And you met somebody else!
Laura: Yes. That very day, someone else came up to me at the festival and started talking to me. We hit it off really well. Then I started dating him.
Jodi: So, no more Ivan?
Laura: No more Ivan. When Ivan called me back after the festival to set up our next date, I told him that I met someone else at the festival that he and I were supposed to go to and that I wasn’t interested in dating him anymore. So that was that.
Jodi: Goodbye Ivan. Hello someone else.
Jodi: So how long did you date this other guy?
Laura: We ended up dating for about three and a half months. His name was Steven. We enjoyed each other’s company. But it was one of those situations where we hit it off really well at first, and then it began to fade.
Jodi: After Steven stopped seeing each other, sometimes relationships just…
Laura: It faded.
Jodi: Fade, as you said, did you think about Ivan again?
Laura: I did not. Again, I was in a place where I was meeting new people and going on dates and having fun. I was trying to be lighthearted about the whole process. I’d had other people online flake out on me. So I just moved on.
Jodi: He was just another one of those guys in the sea of men you were wading through.
Laura: Yes, very much.
Jodi: So, you got back in your boat and you went sailing along. Then what happened?
Laura: A year later I was sitting at work. I was at my desk flipping through my email. At the time, I was on Match.com. I got an email from Match.com that had a list of people they suggested I look at. So I flipped open the email.
Jodi: As one does.
Laura: Yes. I was looking through the people, flicking through the ones they suggested, and this guy came up. I was reading his profile and looking at his pictures and I thought, “Oh, he looks like somebody who’s fun.” Nice profile, nothing bad or extraordinary either way. I clicked on “Favorite” because I thought, “Well, I’m probably going to go back on Match.com at some point and I’ll look this guy up,” and that was that.
Then, about 20 minutes later, I received a text. It said, “Thanks for Favoriting my profile.” I had no idea who the text was from! It didn’t take very long for me to connect that it must have had something to do with what I had just done. But the email had 20 different profiles. I had no idea who was who, and I didn’t recognize any of the people in those profiles.
Jodi: So what did you do?
Laura: I texted him back and asked who it was. And in text communication, he laughed and he said, “Oh, this is Ivan. We haven’t talked in a while and I’d love to meet up with you.” We started texting and talking again, a year after our first date.
Jodi: You clicked on his photo, but you didn’t recognize him?
Laura: Not at all. As I mentioned, his photo on the first profile I had read on OkCupid, wasn’t quite true to how he looked. It wasn’t so off, but it was definitely younger than he actually was. That profile was very long and kind of written in this pro style that described his life.
His Match.com profile was kind of the opposite. It had new pictures and all the pictures were of him sailing, which I didn’t know that he did. I guess they looked more like him. But because a year had gone by, and I hadn’t really thought about him at all, I didn’t recognize him. And his profile was much shorter and sort of fun and lighthearted. They weren’t very similar.
Jodi: He recreated his approach to marketing who he is.
Laura: He totally did and he would say that. I talked to him about it. He said, “You know, I wasn’t attracting very many people with my first profile. So when I got on Match.com I sort of repackaged myself. I asked for some help from some girlfriends and put it together in a different way.”
Jodi: And yet you responded to both approaches, didn’t you?
Laura: I did. And for different reasons. The first one, because I thought he sounded like a very interesting smart person and the second one because he looked like a fun person. They were both him!
Jodi: That means you two went on a second first date!
Laura: We did! Because it’s been almost a year, we decided we were going to go to the same place as our first date, for our second first date.
Jodi: You were going to get to know each other again, starting at the same place physically, but at a different place in life.
Laura: I think we both thought it was sort of poetic to go to the same place we had the first time around. Then the story gets a little bit sillier. For our second first date, I was supposed to meet him at the bar restaurant. But I locked my keys in my car and I couldn’t get there!
Jodi: No way!
Laura: I was living in an apartment at the time. So I had to go find the apartment manager. He had to get me into my apartment so I could to get my spare keys to my car. But I couldn’t find him. And my cellphone was in my car!
I finally did get the extra keys, got in my car, grabbed my cellphone and texted him right away. But by this time, I was going to be an hour late and he was already there waiting for me.
Jodi: He was still waiting for you?
Laura: Yeah. And he continued to wait for me. He waited for an hour! He said at first he thought that, maybe, I was playing some strange trick on him. But I wasn’t. It was such a random occurrence. Then we met up and had our second first date. It was fun.
Jodi: When you eventually showed up, how were you feeling given everything that happened before you got there?
Laura: I was definitely rushed and a bit stressed. I felt badly because I really didn’t want to leave him sitting there. It was such a weird thing for me to lock my keys in my car and to have to go through all of that. But I’m glad I made it. I’m glad he waited. We had a great time.
Jodi: That’s outstanding! How did the date end?
Laura: So this time we sat and talked again. Both of us appreciated, perhaps even more than the first time, how easy it was for us to talk to each other and to have a really good conversation. We chatted and flirted and at the end of the date he walked me to my car. But this time he kissed me goodnight.
Jodi: Do you have memories of that kiss?
Laura: I do. It was a wonderful kiss.
Jodi: After the kiss, how were you feeling?
Laura: I was feeling good. You know, I still had the same mentality that I had throughout this process. “Well, let’s just see what happens and leave it open and not get caught in my mind, or got caught in planning or imagining something.” But I really enjoyed the date. I enjoyed him. He called me the next day and wanted to get together again. We started dating from there.
Jodi: No work obligation got in between you and he going out on your second date?
Laura: No. I think he probably learned from the first time around that he needed to be a little more proactive and get on that.
Jodi: What eventually happen with you and Ivan?
Laura: After that second first date we kept dating and spending time together and getting to know each other better. We eventually moved in together and eventually got married.
Jodi: Yay! So after all that you went through with Ivan, what did you learn?
Laura: I was very glad for the advice I’d read and received from people to relax around the whole dating thing and just let it flow in and let it flow out. Throughout that whole time, from the first time we went out on a date to the second first date, I didn’t get caught up in imagining, or trying to make up something that wasn’t there…either make up a story about what went wrong, or make up a story about what could’ve gone right. That was nice.
But also in that time, we had grown. We had matured as people. I think we could see each other better when we met again because we both had a year of dating in there.
Jodi: You’ve shared a lot of rich takeaways during our conversation. Is there any additional advice you have to share with our listeners?
Laura: I think the one piece of advice I would say is, don’t necessarily judge the book by its cover. Ivan is an attractive man, but we weren’t each other’s types. I think that’s part of what was the disconnect at the beginning. I wasn’t really his typical type and he wasn’t really my typical type. But we found each other attractive. It just didn’t have that click of, “Oh, that’s what I’m looking for!”
And what we really appreciated and even more so, when we met again was that, “You’re the kind of person I’m looking for and you’re attractive. You have the character and the qualities that I’m looking for and the values and the goals in life.” I also feel like the older I’ve gotten, the more important it has been to share the same values and sort of the same vision of where you want your life to go.
I’ve also seen my friends get married and divorced. Some of the conflicts that have come up for them are around getting older with someone. We’ve found that our values – what we want out of our lives – really matched up well.
Jodi: And that is essential if you’re going to go through life with someone, as you’ve said.
Laura: It is. It’s not something I would have put at the top of the list when I was younger. Also, we’re both dedicated to not only making our marriage work, and our relationship work, but are dedicated to growth because it goes up and down. We have a great relationship, but it’s still an effort to work on life together.
Jodi: Thank you for sharing the story of your first first date, and your second first date, with Ivan.
Laura: You’re very welcome.