The following is the transcript of this podcast episode.:
Jodi: Hi, Monica. It’s great to have you back on the podcast!
Monica: Hi, Jodi. I’m glad to be back.
Jodi: The first time you were on the show, you told us a story about your first date with Scott. It was a memorable one! I’m excited to have you back so you can share another standout date story with us. But before we get into that story, there are probably some listeners who have not heard the Monica and Scott episode yet. So for them, would you catch us up please about yourself. Tell us a bit about who you are, what you like to do. and other interesting stuff you’d like to share.
Monica: Sure. I’m in the 40-something age group. I was married for 21 years and was surprised by a divorce. That was pretty earth-shattering. I didn’t even see it coming. My son is 16 and my daughter is 13. I have a finance background. I was a loan officer in a bank while my husband was doing his residency. And when he went into private practice, I took over the household and ran everything from taking out the trash, to doing investments, to raising the kids.
Personally, I describe myself as an athlete. I’m the “weekend warrior” competitive type. I’ve played on three soccer teams. I ride a snowboard, scuba dive, do marine boot camps and have taken up cycling. When the word-on-the-street was that I was getting divorced, I had a personal trainer call me and say, “I have got the sport for you!” It was adventure racing, which is trail running, kayaking, and single-track mountain bike racing. So that’s my new passion!
Jodi: I say bravo to you for taking on that sort of intense workout, and a lot of other things, to get you past your divorce. You’ve come back to the show to tell us about a date you went on with Rich. How did you and Rich meet?
Monica: I have two very good friends, Jeff and Kelly, who have babysat me through a lot of hard things. If you listen to the other story, Jeff was the one who set me up on that date. His wife Kelly is responsible for this one
Jodi: Really? That’s great! They really love you and care about you and were making sure that you got back out in the world.
Monica: They remind me of that on occasion. (Laughter) On this occasion, I was over at their house. Kelly gave me a few glasses of wine. Then as the night progressed, she talked me into handing over my credit card. By the end of the evening, I had a profile on Match!
Jodi: Were you sitting with her while she was building it, or were you in another room schmoozing, or doing something else and she was busy creating your Match.com profile?
Monica: I was there. I remember sitting there and she would ask me questions and I would give her an answer. She was just typing away at her little laptop. She took a couple of pictures of me. So we went through this whole process. Like I said, I don’t think I thought she was really doing it. I thought she was just trying to entertain me for the evening or something.
I woke up the next day with a bit of a hangover. Then I panicked when I realized that we had actually done this! I grabbed my laptop, flipped it open, logged in, and there I was! I had a profile! But then my panic melted because I had several very nice messages from various men on my profile. It was a very nice feeling.
Jodi: What a dramatic change from logging on and being afraid, to seeing that there were men who wanted to be in touch with you. Suddenly you’re in the world of online dating!
Monica: Yes. Thanks to a couple of glasses of wine and a credit card. (Laughter)
Jodi: And a friend who doesn’t take no for an answer.
Monica: Yes, and it really was that quickly because, all of a sudden I had some control. I had a platform that I could look at. I could be as active in it as I wanted. I’m not trying to say that every single response on there was perfect and wonderful. There were several that were angry people, or maybe people who were a little strange, but it was mine.
Jodi: You had control. You are at the driver’s seat.
Monica: Exactly! I began emailing with a couple of the men who had contacted me and then agreed to meet a few just for a glass of wine at someplace close by. One afternoon, I was online. The system randomly would throw up a page that said, “If you like so and so then we think you might like so and so.” Ninety percent of the times I completely just disregarded those. But that afternoon I was sitting there and the man at the bottom of the page had on a red shirt, which immediately drew my eye. I looked down and I thought, “Man, he’s good-looking!”
My cousin was over at my house. And I said, “Come over here and check this out!” We both kind of stood there. We’re like, “Well, what do we do now?” She’s looking at me and I’m looking at her and I thought, “Well, let’s send him a wink.” So I clicked on the wink button and off it went. I went back online that night and Richard responded with a wink of his own.
Jodi: What was your next move?
Monica: Well, we started emailing back and forth.
Jodi: Were you going on dates with other men while you were in this phase of emailing with him?
Monica: Yes, there were two or three that were very nice pleasant guys, just not a whole lot of chemistry. So I would come back and hop on Match at the end of the evening to see what else was going on and basically to see if Rich was there.
Jodi: Rich would be on Match.com later at night looking for women or waiting for you? What was going on there?
Monica: Well, he had set up a profile on Match to date, right? So I feel like he was online in the evenings checking his profile and probably having other email conversations with other people. When I would log on though, he would usually pop up and ask, “Hey, how was your date?”
Jodi: He was becoming your dating coach, it sounds like, like reviewing dates with you.
Monica: It was funny because we would kind of dissect my date. You know, “What did you guys do? How did it go?” And he would hear my complaints or the positive remarks, “Oh, we did this and that was fun or this guy had terrible manners,” or whatever. He was really funny and smart. I was really enjoying our correspondence.
Jodi: Was he telling you about the dates he had been on?
Monica: He actually had kind of a different take on the dating situation. I had gone straight from high school, from my dad’s house, to college, to being married. I hadn’t ever really been on my own, hadn’t had that single girl vibe. So when I went on to Match, my thought was, “I missed this phase of my life, but dagnabbit, I’m 22 years late and I’m not going to miss out!” I thought it would be really fun to date a bunch of different people, just have what a lot of my friends had had when they were in their 30s.
He had been married. He’d been single for quite a while. He was more of a ‘date one person at a time’ kind of a person. So we would talk back and forth and then I would say something like, “This is going really well. Why don’t the two of us meet for lunch?” And he would say, “I think we’re in different places. You are wanting to go out and date a lot of people and I’m more of a ‘one-person relationship’ type person.” So, I would get a little bit of a push back from him. You just run and play. I’m going to stay over here. He wasn’t going out on a whole lot of dates. He was more looking for that person, not those people.
Jodi: That is such an interesting dynamic and a great one. Some would say that those roles are usually reversed. Stereotypically the man is the one who’s out there playing and the woman is the one who wants to commit to a relationship.
Monica: Yes. But had he known me better, there was no better way to play me. If he wanted to keep my interest piqued, this was a great way to do it. I thought this would be a very fun, free kind of time period in my life truthfully. It got old pretty quickly. I got pretty bored with the same conversations taking place in the same harmless topics. And honestly, I would be at work and somebody would call me and it would take me 5 or 10 minutes into the conversation to even figure out which one guy was. So I think Rich knew better than I did. I think he knew that this fascination with that lifestyle was going to burn itself out and he would be Last Man Standing.
Jodi: You think this was a strategy that he was executing?
Monica: I think it was a 50-50. I do know that that’s his preference to date one person and focus on that. I also feel like it was part of a strategy. Yes, and he also probably had a notepad by his computer, “Be sure and walk her to her car. Don’t be rude with the wait staff.” He’s got a cheat sheet going. (Laughter)
Jodi: He probably did. He probably was taking notes, either in his head or on a piece of paper. He knew what would be attractive about him to you if and when you eventually went out. How did he go from being your ‘late night dating coach buddy’ on Match to becoming somebody who you went on a first date with?
Monica: I finally just said, “You know, I’m getting pretty bored with this ‘date everybody’ lifestyle. You and I seem to have a really great rapport and I think it would be foolish to ignore it.” He agreed that we would meet halfway for lunch.
Jodi: During this whole period, did you ever talk to him on the phone? Or was it all texting, chatting, emailing?
Monica: We did a lot of the emailing through the Match site. Once that was obvious that we were getting along really well, I believe it was Rich that said, “Are you comfortable giving me your phone number?” And so we exchanged phone numbers and we went from the emailing to the texting. You’re still kind of keeping that level of distance in there, and then it turns into, “This is still going really well.
How about I give you a call?” By this juncture we were on the phone agreeing on where did we want to meet.
Jodi: You were the one who made the big move?
Jodi: How’d that feel?
Monica: It felt wonderful. When we had the date set up, I kind of felt like I’d won. I was feeling a tiny bit smug because I had been told, “Oh, well, your mid-40s. You’re going to have to date the mid-60s because the men that are appropriate age for you are all dating the 30-year-olds.” And I may be mid-40s, but I consider myself a fairly young mid-40s and I didn’t necessarily want to be dating somebody in their mid-60s. Rich is actually younger than me. So take that.
Jodi: Take that all you people who told you you’d be dating a guy 20-something years older! How many years’ difference is there between the two of you?
Monica: He’s 10 months younger than me.
Jodi: Okay. Got it. Now since you made the big move, did you also pick the place where the two of you were going to meet?
Monica: I did because it was an area that I am more familiar with and I found a very casual but kind of happening lunch place. I’m not a real dress up person anyway. So picking a place like that made me comfortable in my own skin as well.
Jodi: Makes sense. How did you feel getting ready and driving over to meet this man who you spent so much time conversing with?
Monica: There was a level of comfort because we had spent so much time already talking and going back and forth and laughing a lot. Like I said, we already kind of had some inside jokes going. Honestly, I was still emotionally kind of in a place in my mind of, “I’m never going to get married again. I don’t want to put myself out there. I don’t want to risk myself again that way.” So this was not me going, “Oh, I’m going to go meet my next husband.” It was more, “Oh, I am going to go meet this person that I could end up having a really fun, enjoyable connection with.”
Jodi: That’s a very healthy place to be.
Monica: Exactly! Honestly, if we had gone in and stared at each other blankly over lunch, I would have been disappointed. I was already enjoying his company online and on the phone and there would have been kind of a feeling, kind of a letdown. But I wasn’t going to lunch to meet my husband because I wasn’t even sure I wanted another one.
Jodi: When you arrived at the café, was he already there?
Monica: Yes, he was there and already had a table.
Jodi: Did he look like his photos?
Jodi: Were you happy with what you saw?
Monica: Yes, very much so!
Jodi: How did he greet you when you approached the table?
Monica: With a great smile with two of the best dimples you’ve ever seen.
Jodi: Oh, love it! All right. And how did the date progress from there?
Monica: Well, we had already established a real comfortable connection online and it just continued in person, not to say that we had everything in common because we didn’t. But we had a very easy way of sharing information and listening to one another that just made it fun to talk.
He plays golf and volleyball. I play soccer and race mountain bikes. He works in the construction industry and I was just starting a job at a non-profit. So it wasn’t, “Oh, we have so much in common.” It was more, “This is really fun to exchange different information, to hear new things and to learn some other things about someone else.”
Jodi: Where did the date go from there?
Monica: We had previously agreed that we were going to split the check, which we did. He walked me to my car, which is not a given as we all know. We were still laughing at that juncture and he said, “I’ll give you a call later tonight,” and I said, “Great,” and I drove off with a huge smile on my face. We spoke that night and we arranged another date.
Jodi: After you went on this wonderful first date with Rich, did you go back to Kelly since she’s the one who put you on this path to begin with?
Monica: Oh, absolutely. She was very happy. She saw I was moving forward, that I was taking action and not sulking anymore. So she was very pleased to see that.
Jodi: Now if you would share with us the rest of the story, please. What happened with you and Rich after you went on that second date?
Monica: After our second date, I told him that I was going to shut down My Match account, that I really was not interested in talking to anyone else at this juncture, that I felt like I had met someone that I’d like to focus all my interest on. He said he was planning to do the same. He is my only boyfriend that I ever introduced to my daughter. And we got married!
Jodi: A lot happened after that second date. Congratulations! And you were the one who put it out there first again. You invited him on that date and then you made the first move also to say, “Hey, I want to get to know you and that’s why I’m getting off of Match.”
Jodi: That is really something!
Monica: That was scary because he could have looked at me and said, “Well, I’m not going to shut mine down.” So that was a big risk. I have never been one that’s big on self-help books. I just always felt like you could find a book that tells you pretty much what you already believe and so then you just get to reinforce your beliefs.
I had another friend who was going through a divorce about the same time as I was. He recommended four books to me. One of the books spoke about being honest in a relationship and then letting the other person react however they want to and you have to be prepared for that. I got a lot out of that book and this was me trying to implement that. This is how I was feeling. I was being honest, and I had to be willing at that juncture to have him say, “I’m going to shut mine down too,” or, “I think I’m going to leave mine open,” and I did it.
Jodi: So you went on the date with Rich thinking that you weren’t interested or prepared to be in a long-term relationship anytime soon, if ever. You didn’t necessarily want to get married again. That’s what you said. But two dates in, you decided, “Okay, this is the guy I want to date,” which means that you were open and in your head already thinking, “I could do a long-term relationship with this man.” That’s a big swing in two dates! That’s an incredible evolution!
Monica: I was open to a long-term relationship. I, at that juncture, was not open to getting married again. I still had kind of a bitter taste in my mouth for the marrying part of it.
Jodi: How did you get rid of that bitter taste?
Monica: It was actually a very convoluted way to come to that conclusion. I have a very good friend who is my age, whose parents had been divorced as far back as she could remember. Her mother had had a longtime relationship with this one man for probably 35 years. I was talking to her one day and she was recounting a story and she said, “My mother and my ‘whatever he is’,” and she continued with her story. At that moment I thought to myself, “I don’t want to be with Rich for 35 years and have my daughter say, ‘My mother and whatever he is’ about Rich.” I didn’t want that for either one of them.
I had made multiple nasty comments about getting remarried. “Oh, I never want to get remarried again. Oh, you know, people lie…” They were very cynical, kind of nasty little side comments. So the chances of this man ever asking me to marry him are probably few and far between, right? I’d had this change of heart. And so now what do I do with it? I have a very good guy friend. I was talking to him about it. I said, “I didn’t really know what to do with this now. I’ve kind of had this change of heart, but I’ve made so many nasty comments.” And he said, “Well, why can’t you ask him?” And I thought, “I guess I could. Why couldn’t I do that?” He and I kind of smiled and I thought, “Okay, I’m going to do this.”
Two weeks later, Rich and I are sitting in a pizza place after my daughter’s soccer game and my phone buzzed with a text message. I did not have my glasses on. So I handed my phone to Rich and I said, “What does this say?” And he looked at it and got this funny smile on his face. I said, “What is it?” and he said, “Well, it’s a text from Randy and he wants to know if you’ve asked me to marry you yet.” (Laughter)
Jodi: I can’t believe it! (Laughter) That’s unlike any proposal I’ve ever…
Monica: He smiled very sweetly and said, “Is there something you’d like to ask me?” (Laughter)
Jodi: What did you do? Did your jaw drop? How did you respond to that?
Monica: I just started stammering and started laughing and was red in the face and I just said, “Can I please have my phone?” (Laughter) And not another word was said about it. He did end up proposing later.
Jodi: Once it was out in the open, what kept you from then asking him?
Monica: That little incident had wiped my little snarky comments off the table. I felt like, at that juncture he knew that I was open to getting married. And trust me, he didn’t miss a chance to poke me about it. Every once in a while, he would look at me and go, “Isn’t there something that you need to ask me?” or something…just as we’re walking in the grocery store…stuff like that. So, he used it. He didn’t miss that chance. But he ended up proposing a couple of months later. Like we had said earlier, I had sent him the wink. I talked him into meeting for our first date. I wanted to let him have this one.
Jodi: He made the big move.
Monica: He did, over a lantern and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches because the hurricane had knocked out the electricity.
Jodi: He proposed during a hurricane? (Laughter)
Monica: Yes, he did. No shower for two and three days. So he must have meant it. (Laughter)
Jodi: What a fabulous story! Before we conclude this episode, are there any lessons from your first date with Rich that you would like to share with the listeners?
Monica: I think right off the bat that sometimes it’s okay to pursue something that you want. It’s always okay to be brave. I am a firm believer of stepping out of your comfort zone. A very minor lesson that I learned is, sometimes more isn’t necessarily better. It was a phase I needed to go through, but it wasn’t something that I personally wanted to pursue for a long time.
Actually, to be completely honest, at one point I started having misgivings and I decided that I should break up with Rich. I tried to do it over the phone because I was a chicken. He made me get in my car and drive over and do it face-to-face, which is always smart. It was over a bunch of superficial reasons. He sat there very patiently, he listened to my explanation. Then he said “I’ve been single for 11 years and I know a good thing when I see it.”
Jodi: And he was staring at it and it was you!
Monica: Exactly! I took a moment and I heard what he was saying. It was true and I actually went to my counselor. I was seeing a counselor because of all of the divorce stuff and I told her. After my conversation with her, she pointed out, “You know, you are about to break up with someone who said get in your car and come over here and be an adult.” She started pointing these things out to me. She also had a better view of what a good relationship looked like. I chose to listen to both of them They were right and I was wrong.
Jodi: Thank you for sharing all of these valuable learnings you had and thank you for coming back on the show to tell all of us your wonderful first date story with Rich.
Monica: Well, it was very fun. I enjoyed reliving it. I actually went over this interview with him last night and told him what I was doing. He got a kick out of it as well. I really hope that your listeners will gain something from my experiences. I think that’s one of the best ways that we can all learn.