The following is the transcript for this podcast episode.:
Jodi: Welcome to the podcast, Laurie. I am so glad you’re joining me
Laurie: today, Jodi. Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to be here and have this conversation with you.
Jodi: I know it is going to be a really good conversation.
Laurie: Thank you.
Jodi: Now, our longtime listeners may recall that in Season One, we had another episode with a guest named Laurie, and that episode is the Laurie and Peter episode where Laurie goes on a date with a guy Peter who shows up with his dog and ends up talking to her through the dog. It was quite a memorable date and quite a memorable episode, but you are not that Laurie, are you?
Laurie: No. Thank goodness. That sounds….I’m going to have to go back and listen to that podcast though. I’m Laurie James.
Jodi: Okay. Laurie, just wanted to make sure that it was clear and clarified for everyone that you were a new guest with a new story, which we will dive into soon.
I think though, it’s important that each guest share some background about herself at the outset of our episode, so that the listeners get a feel for her…get an understanding of who she is before we get into the discussion about the date. So would you kindly share some details about yourself?
Laurie: Happily. I am a 56 year old divorcee, a turned author and life coach. I stayed home to raise my four daughters for over 20 years before reinventing myself. One of my daughters is still in college and I have one that’s in law school. Two are gainfully employed and when I’m not busy promoting my book and coaching, you can usually find me skiing, sailing, hiking, doing yoga, spending time with my girlfriends, dating and planning my next adventure.
Jodi: You live a very full life.
Laurie: Yes, I designed it that way. I do like to be active and I like to experience life. I don’t want to just sit and watch life, go by me.
Jodi: Now, you mentioned early on that you are a divorcee. So you are coming to this episode with a story about someone that you met after your marriage.
Jodi: What is the name of this man? And what were the circumstances around which you met him?
Laurie: So his name is Gary. He reached out to me on one of the online dating apps and we quickly started a conversation online. And within the first day of communicating with him, he asked me out on a date.
Jodi: How long before you met Gary had you gotten divorced?
Laurie: Separated for three and a half years, divorced for two.
Jodi: How did you come to start dating again? After your divorce was final, or did you start dating while you were separated?
Laurie: I did start dating when I was separated. I waited about six months, six to seven months after I left my marriage to start dating whether that was the right amount of time. Who knows? It just felt right for me at the time. I think at the beginning, I probably was looking for some amount of validation that, after being married for 26 years, together with somebody for 28 that, some other male species found me attractive. (Laughter)
And through that dating, I had dated somebody for about four months. And then about a year later, I dated another gentleman for about six months. And that second relationship ended, right as COVID hit.
Jodi: Did you get the validation that you were seeking?
Laurie: I actually did. And, I think it was my first relationship that ended up only lasting four months. But that relationship did give me the validation that I was looking for, that there was somebody who found me attractive and interesting and valued me in a lot of ways and found things in me that my ex-husband wasn’t capable of communicating to me.
Jodi: So much of around the validation you got, had to do with the type of communication that you experienced.
Laurie: Yes. Negative communication or lack thereof. (Laughter)
Jodi: Got it.. Understood. Okay. So you were sort of in unchartered territory in a few ways because, well, we all were new to life during a pandemic.
Jodi: And also you had just come out of a six month relationship.
Jodi: Did you immediately decide after the conclusion of that relationship that you wanted to get busy dating again, or were you holding back because of all the uncertainty around what COVID was and how it’s transmitted?
Laurie: I waited a couple of months. I had three of my four daughters came home because at the time I had two that were in college and one in law school. So they needed a place to come back to, even though they had originally had plans to be gone for the summer through the summer. But I waited a couple of months. I felt like I needed some time to reflect and process and heal from the six-month relationship because I did develop strong feelings for this gentleman.
So I did take some time to myself. And then I decided that it was time for me to go out and get my feet wet again. You have to get back on the horse, so to speak, if you eventually want to be in a relationship. And at that point it was probably around summer time. And we were starting to learn a little bit more about the disease and how it was transmitted and safety measures to take. So I felt at that point, comfortable enough to meet people at a comfortable social distance.
Jodi: You are so right that we do have to get back on the horse. It’s not always easy and it’s often very hard. But to get your foot in the stirrup and throw that leg over onto the saddle is essential.
And it takes bravery sometime, it takes a lot of strength, sometimes to do it and fortitude. And, but when you’re back up there and you’ve got the higher view and you’re riding along, it can be pretty amazing to be back meeting people again.
Jodi: Now let’s go back to Gary and how you met him.
Jodi: He contacted you on Match.com and you responded. What was it about him that you found appealing?
Laurie: He actually didn’t have very much on his profile and his pictures were a little blurry.
Laurie: I feel like men don’t always do a great job on their profiles. But he was tall, and I like taller men. I’m 5’8. I definitely want someone who’s at least taller than me. His interests seem to line up with what I’m interested in. His activities or hobbies.
And just that initial conversation that we had via text through the app, he was a very communicative. He was very complimentary. And he seemed very interested in getting to know me. He felt very genuine to me.
Jodi: You were able to pick that up from what you saw on his profile and the early communications. The two of you had
Jodi: Someone being authentic, being genuine is essential to a successful, healthy relationship of any kind.
Jodi: What happened next?
Laurie: So he did ask me out via text on the app and I had then asked him to have a phone conversation first. I felt like it was just the right next step. He wasn’t a seasoned online dater. He had been on the app for a total of about a week.
Jodi: Newbie, completely newbie.
Laurie: He was very much a newbie and I wasn’t. And so I’ve been on enough dates through the last three years that I wanted to at least have a phone conversation. So he agreed, you know, very kindly agreed to that. And we talked on the phone a couple of days later for about an hour and it was a great conversation. It just flowed really nicely.
Again, through the conversation I could tell that he was a very kind loving man, a family man. And since my family is very important to me and my kids, that was something that was very attractive to me. So at the end of the conversation, he asked me out to dinner for the following Saturday night. And of course I said, yes.
Jodi: How did you feel when you hung up that phone?
Laurie: Great. And it was probably the most excited I was about a date in a very long time. I would say throughout the whole pandemic,
Jodi: Had you been doing much dating between the time you stepped up, back out, uh, that summer and your time that you started to communicate with, with Gary?
Laurie: I did on and off, it would ebb and flow, but I would, I would meet men ether at a park and we’d social distance, or I’d go for a walk or I’d meet for coffee. So I had met, I would say more than a half a dozen men. I’d say I probably went on six to eight dates over that nine months. None of the dates excited me the way Gary did.
Jodi: Gary asked you out what. Where are your plans?
Laurie: He asked me out to dinner and then he gave me the option. He asked me what restaurant I wanted to go to. He was, he lives about an hour away. So he was going to drive out. He asked me to pick the restaurant, but that he made the reservation
Jodi: Very gentlemanly. How were you responding to that? Is that something that’s important to you?
Laurie: That is I, yes, it is important to me. I’m a little old fashioned that way I want a man in my life who is willing to step up and take control and take charge of those types of things.
Jodi: Chivalry is a lovely thing to be on the receiving end of yes, for many people.
Not everybody sees it that way, but for those who do. That’s wonderfu to find a man who has those behaviors and carries out those sorts of acts. Yes. All right. So the evening of the date arrives. Did you meet him at the restaurant?
Laurie: So this is interesting. He texted me during the day.
And said he was really excited about the date and he couldn’t wait. And he sent me a text asking me if I would prefer to meet him at the restaurant or would I mind if he picked me up. And what I saw that text, I didn’t respond right away. I really took some time to think about it because I had never let anybody on a first date pick me up.
I waited and based off my conversation, during the conversation that we had on the phone three or four days earlier, he had told me he knew a couple people that lived in my community and my town and his daughter used to live in the town that I lived in. And there was just something about him that made me comfortable enough to say “yes.”
So I allowed him to pick me up at my house. He brought a really lovely bottle of red wine. He brought me a beautiful candle and knocked on my front door. I mean, I can’t remember the last time I had a date who came to my front door, knocked on it, gave me a bottle of wine and a candle. It was just a really wonderful way to start off the date.
Jodi: I can imagine. After you chose to break your own rule, did you feel confident in that decision?
Laurie: Immediately, no. (Laughter) When he walked up to the door and handed me a bottle of wine and a candle and had this, you know, kind smile on his face. Yes.
Jodi: Very good. That your decision was validated in that moment.
Jodi: As far as you knew things, the decision that you had made was the right one and the evening was starting off on a very romantic footing.
Jodi: I got to say, I’ve never heard of a man bringing a woman, a candle on a first date that implies a lot (Laughter) but we’ll get there.
Jodi: What happened after your “hello” at your doorstep?
Laurie: So I grabbed my jacket and we left for the restaurant. We went to a great, nice romantic Italian restaurant in town. He had been there before as well, so he knew it. And interestingly enough, this was the first weekend, or the first couple of days that restaurants were starting to allow people indoors, so that gives people a timeframe of when this was right before Easter. We sat down and there was an immediate connection. I’m not going to lie.
Jodi: Don’t lie! This is all about telling it as it happened. Please do not lie. (Laughter) Wow! So there was a connection. Explain, how did that connection manifest itself?
Laurie: It manifested itself by enjoying a nice bottle of wine, a great conversation. There was never a moment when I felt like I wanted to get up and leave. I mean, in fact, the complete opposite. Literally the date flew by. Before I knew it, it, we had been there for three hours talking laughing, sharing stories, eating, enjoying a nice bottle of wine. I mean, to me, there’s nothing better than having great conversation, a great meal in a romantic setting on a first date. I mean, it was just, everything was there and he felt chemistry with me as well because he, you know, grabbed my hand and at moments in our conversation, so I knew it was mutual.
Jodi: He set the romantic tenor at the beginning. Yes. From moment one, his expectation was that this would be a romantic date. Yeah. And that just from what you’re saying, kept being validated by everything that happened.
When he touched your hands on a first date, how did it feel?
Laurie: I’ve had that happen before on first dates and in the past I’ve been hesitant and I was probably a little hesitant with him because for me personally, it takes a little bit of time for trust to be built. But I allowed it because I did feel the chemistry.
Jodi: It wasn’t clammy. It wasn’t sweaty?
Laurie: Nope my hand wasn’t and neither was his?
Jodi: So there you are. You’ve had the trifecta. You have all three things that you say are essential to a lovely time. How did the evening progress from there?
Laurie: So when we realized the restaurant was about to close, we decided to leave.
He ended up just taking me home after that. But I do remember, as we were pulling up my street, I had asked him about…something about his job. And so I just remember him pulling over in front of my house. And I remember him sitting there telling me about his job and all I wanted to do is kiss him.
Laurie: I didn’t really care about his job…but I didn’t!
Jodi: You didn’t?
Laurie: I didn’t, because I didn’t want to be rude! I wanted him to finish his story. (Laughter)
Jodi: You don’t want to make that move when he was mid-sentence. Is that what you’re saying?
Laurie: But he did walk me to my door and he gave me a hug and we definitely we had a very nice kiss, or maybe two, before we said goodbye.
Jodi: Sounds like a lovely first date.
Laurie: It really was.
Jodi: How did things progress with the two of you? After that?
Laurie: We continued to date. In fact, he asked me out for a second date the next day for the following week. And we had a lovely, a fun second date too. We went to a casual dinner cause it was during the week. We went to a casual dinner and I made the mistake of bringing my dog because we walked our dog, my dog in to town and then ate.
But my dog was acting up. I think she was actually a little jealous. But he was a very good sport about it. And we ended up dating for probably about a month and a half or two months. Unfortunately, even though we did have chemistry and the connection and compatibility, and we enjoyed our time together, we did end up ending the relationship mostly because he had recently ended a very, what I would call intense relationship.
And he was still in the process of, still kind of sorting that out, even though that relationship had ended and it was final. He still was working through some things. We still stay in touch and talk every couple of weeks. And we’ll see if he comes back into my life or not. In the meantime, I am continuing to date.
Jodi: You said he was still getting over the end of another relationship. Was that a marriage?
Laurie: It was, yeah.
Jodi: You also said he showed up at the front at your front door with “Romance Central” in his arms. So the two of you progressed and then he pulled away, it sounds like.
Laurie: He did. He was very transparent with what was going on, which I really appreciated. But with that transparency, there were some things that concerned me and through conversations, healthy adult conversations, he decided that it made sense for him to work with someone, to work through some of those issues so he really understood his part in why he stayed in this relationship, this intense relationship that had very high highs and very low lows, for as long as he did.
And at the end of the day, I want to be in a relationship with somebody who understands themselves. I think, as we all reflect back on our past relationships, whether we dated somebody for a month, six months, 26 years, I believe, or at least what I try and do, is reflect back on those relationships and think about what I should learn from that relationship. What’s my takeaway? And how can I take that into my next relationship and be a better person?
Jodi: You acknowledged that you and Gary had healthy adult conversations and that you appreciated that.
Laurie: Yes. Very much.
Jodi: You have written a memoir that goes into great detail about how the impact of unhealthy communications, unhealthy conversations, or the lack of conversations, in your life has impacted you dramatically and how you have come through that to get to the place you are today.
Your book is called Sandwiched, A Memoir of Holding On and Letting Go. Please, if you would, kindly speak to how the absence of conversation and communication in your married life propelled you to want a different existence, because I have to believe that there are women listening who are also divorcees, who have also come out of relationships that they went into expecting to have open and honest and healthy conversations during. And yet those did not happen or they did initially, but they weren’t sustained throughout the marriage and that greatly impacted the ending of their marriages.
Laurie: Yes. Uh, well, for me personally, I didn’t have healthy role models as a child. So even though when I married the man that I had four children with and stayed married to for 26 years, I thought I was marrying somebody different than my dad and the role models I had. But it turned out that I married somebody very similar, which we unconsciously have a tendency to do.
So, the way I dealt with that was I put myself into therapy. I read a lot of self-help books. I did a lot of personal work, a lot of self-reflection, a lot of introspective. My book is a very, as you know, Jodi, is a very introspective look at these difficult years in my life.
When I realized in my marriage that the communication that I needed, that open honest communication, which is the foundation of a healthy relationship…when I knew that that was never going to happen, that’s when I had to divorce. I was left with no other choice, but to divorce and to realize I had to let go of this life in this family that I created and, and gave 28 years of my life to happily.
I wouldn’t change….don’t get me wrong. I would not change anything for the world. I love my daughters. I would not change that. But sometimes we have to go through these experience to learn what we don’t want. So we know what we do want, which is where I am today.
Jodi: You traveled down a very challenging road to get to this point, you are at you authored a book that is very honest and revealing, uh, raw in a lot of places and moving. And I think is a book that a lot of women will be able to see themselves in and will benefit greatly from reading. Why did you write it?
Laurie: I wrote it because I felt for a lot of those reasons, I felt like the things that I had experienced other people could relate to and I wrote it because if I can make a difference or impact or have someone see a bit of themselves in my story. And that’s enough for them to make whatever small change they need to make in their life, so that way they can find more happiness and more joy, then I feel like I have accomplished what I set out to do.
Jodi: That is quite a mission and a very, very generous one for you to want people to learn from your story and, I guess, some of your mistakes.
Laurie: Yeah. A lot of them.
Jodi: …that you assessed as mistakes in retrospect, of course and the wisdom that you have pulled from those mistakes and incorporated into your life now. How can our listeners find your book?
Laurie: They can find my book through any of the normal channels. I would prefer that you bought it through your local independent bookstore, but if you must, you can, you can also find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and it’s titled Sandwiched: A Memoir of Holding on and Letting Go.
Jodi: We’ll also be putting links to your website and to where people can buy the book in the show notes for this episode.
Laurie: Thank you so much, Jodi. I appreciate that.
Jodi: Absolutely, so everyone can also check the show notes. You came out of a very tumultuous, 28 plus years, because your early years in life were not the easiest. I don’t want to disclose too much because the memoir is packed with all sorts of fascinating insights into your life.
And you met this man who could communicate, but it wasn’t the right time for the two of you. That’s what I’m gleaning from what you’ve shared.
Jodi: Why did you pick this date to share on this episode?
Laurie: I picked this date to share, because this is a relationship that gave me the faith, not renewed my faith, but actually gave me the faith that there is someone out there that has the qualities that I’m looking for.
Because up to this point, most of the men…. and I’ve met some really great men….there’s the chemistry, there’s the connection, there’s a compatibility, and the communication, that there is somebody out there for me. And so, that has given me the energy to continue my search for my person.
Jodi: That’s tremendous! That is really powerful because what you’re saying is, even though you and Gary at this moment in time, are not moving forward as a couple, that just the mere opportunity you had to meet him, and him enter your life validated for you that, although he may not be the right one, someone else is. Being with him and absorbing his qualities into your life has led you to believe…..likely so, I’m a believer myself, that he’s a tell, he’s a sign…. that there is someone out there who can deliver into your life, all that you feel that you need and want to be part of a really healthy, thriving coupled existence.
Laurie: And that we don’t have to settle.
Jodi: And we don’t and we shouldn’t.
Laurie: We don’t. I think that’s the main message here is: Ladies, don’t settle!
Jodi: You are so, so right in that advice! Ladies, don’t settle! So that is advice that applies to dating in general. Laurie, what advice do you have for women coming out of your experience with Gary?
Laurie: I would say that sometimes we have to let go of a relationship, whether it’s a marriage, a relationship, in order for something better to come in. And that’s what I did with my marriage. If I hadn’t done it with my marriage, I wouldn’t have had the experience with Gary. If I hadn’t been open enough to go out on this date with Gary, I would not be in a position to, you know, at some future date either have him come back into my life or have somebody who has all those qualities.
But the timing is right because I truly believe to the core now. And I didn’t before. I truly believe to the core that there is somebody out there for me who has all the qualities I’m looking for. And I believe that all of the listeners should feel the same way.
Jodi: So beautifully said! Thank you. Thank you so much, Laurie, for sharing those insights and those tremendous sage words with me and with everyone who’s listening to this episode. It has been a joy to talk with. I wish you only the best as you continue on meeting that next person who comes into your life. and I’m really delighted that you joined me on this episode.
Laurie: Jodi, it’s been such a pleasure to have this conversation with you. Thank you so much. Thank you.