The following is the transcript of this podcast episode.:
Jodi: Welcome, Natasha. Thank you so much for joining me on the podcast.
Natasha: Thank you very much. It’s my pleasure.
Jodi: We’re here today to talk about a first date that you went on, but let’s talk about something else first. Please share a little bit about what you enjoy doing and what brings you joy in life.
Natasha: I enjoy hiking and I enjoy nature. I enjoy being outside. I work as a botanist, so I get to be outside and get paid to study plants and help improve the environment. I also love yoga and I love going to talks and movies and being with my friends and my husband.
Jodi: And your husband! So you’re currently married. When this date took place, were you divorced or single?
Natasha: I was single. I had been in a number of relationships, most rather short relationships that hadn’t gone where I had hope it’d go. I’ve been single a lot of my life as well.
Jodi: How old were you when this date took place?
Natasha: I was 38. That was just over five years ago.
Jodi: What was going on in your life around the time that you went on this date?
Natasha: I was working at a nonprofit that promoted green building. We were working with private homes and public agencies to improve building standards and energy efficiency and comfort.
Jodi: You were really busy with work at that point in your life, not that you’re not busy with it now.
Natasha: Definitely busy with work. I also was on the board of a women’s group, another environmental group. We were producing events and hikes and networking opportunities for career women.
Jodi: What’s the name of the guy who you went on a date with?
Jodi: How did Ed and you come to meet?
Natasha: We met on a dating website, OkCupid. I had been on a number of different dating websites. I’d tried Match. I actually even tried paper ads way back after college, but OkCupid was recommended to me by a girlfriend and it became quite fruitful.
Jodi: Did you go on a lot of dates through OkCupid around that time?
Natasha: A handful. Yeah. I was actually dating several people when I met Ed.
Jodi: How was it doing online dating? Were you comfortable with it? Did you enjoy it?
Natasha: It was challenging. I found it awkward and fun, some fun and exhilaration, but also awkward first conversations. Some of the pictures I saw on there were just strange.
Jodi: Who contacted who first? Did you see Ed or did he see you?
Natasha: He emailed me and that was a policy that I implemented at some point. I had sent out a number of messages to people and around when I met Ed I had decided I’m going to let the men come to me.
Jodi: What was the reason that you change your approach?
Natasha: I think I just wanted a traditional relationship, male-female roles. And I started to realize if the men that I’m dating don’t have some initiative, then that’s already a red flag.
Jodi: I get it. He emailed you. Did you look at his profile right away?
Natasha: Of course.
Jodi: What did you think?
Natasha: He looked cute and successful and fit and interesting, and so yeah, I was excited.
Jodi: What made Ed stand out from the rest?
Natasha: He wrote a very nice, thoughtful email. He had read my profile, which makes a big difference, and he put a little bit out about himself. He seemed to have a great career and be interested in sports and the environment and science.
Jodi: Was he single or had he been married?
Natasha: He had been married for quite a while and was divorced.
Jodi: He was divorced at the time. He wasn’t separated.
Natasha: It wasn’t finalized.
Jodi: So, he was separated?
Jodi: But that was fine with you? Did he have kids?
Natasha: He have two kids, 10 and 14.
Jodi: You had no kids at that time.
Natasha: No kids.
Jodi: How did you feel about going out with a guy who had kids?
Natasha: You know, the kids are a big factor, but you start with the relationship and make sure that that seems interesting for both of you and then see how the kids fit in.
Jodi: You were open to it.
Natasha: Exactly. Yeah.
Jodi: Do you remember how you responded to his email and what he had written?
Natasha: I actually saved it all on my computer. I think it was just a little back and forth about science and work.
Jodi: He’s a scientist?
Natasha: Yeah. We both work in science, so that was a nice overlap.
Jodi: You were wooed by science!
Natasha: And the title of his first email to me was “Green Building and Science.” A man for my heart.
Jodi: I guess so. How did the “wooing” evolve?
Natasha: Well, we emailed a couple times and talked about potential times to get together. So I think it was over a week that we shared a little bit and we had shared our phone numbers. But I don’t think we’d spoken before we met.
Jodi: Was it an evening date or an afternoon date?
Natasha: Late afternoon.
Jodi: Where were you meeting?
Natasha: We decided to meet in a local park that’s in the neighborhood.
Jodi: So he was local to you?
Natasha: Yes. We are both from the same area, which was a really interesting coincidence. We actually had a lot of shared experiences and both of us had lived in the same area for over 10 years. Same grocery store, same park, a lot of the same cafes. But I think when you get older, I kind of assumed that a lot of these guys are married as he had been. I just wasn’t looking at every guy that was around me. So, we could have bumped into each other previously and not have realized it.
Jodi: Do remember how you were feeling when you were getting ready to meet him at the park?
Natasha: A little excited and nervous. I think most dates bring that up. There’s a little risk factor, but hope and excitement.
Jodi: Where did you guys rendezvous? Was there a specific place in the park?
Natasha: We met by the Old Scout Hut. I think I got there a few minutes before him. I was looking around and stretching a little bit. I think I had some athletic clothes on. I believe he wore jeans. I don’t remember what he wore on top, but he wore some jeans that fit him just right and that really stood out for me later. I wasn’t a hundred percent convinced about him, but I knew his jeans looked really good on him!
Jodi: From the front and the back?
Natasha: From the front and the back — from all sides. Yeah.
Jodi: Take me through what happened, please.
Natasha: We saw each other in the park by the Scout Hut and we looked around and kind of gave that nod of acknowledgement, like, “Oh, you must be the person,” and smiled. We chitchatted a little bit about that being a park that we both knew and had used for years. We ended up walking up the creek through this park and talking and hearing about his work and my work and his kids.
Jodi: Was the conversation flowing?
Natasha: Not badly. I remember some flow and some nervousness too and then at times feeling like he talked too much.
Jodi: Did you think that was because he was nervous, or he was just a talker, or you really didn’t know?
Natasha: I think it was both. He’s a bit of a talker and so it was exciting to hear him talk about all this stuff. But also I felt like, sometimes he wouldn’t listen or encouraged me to keep talking. That’s been a theme that I’ve had with him and other men. There was a little bit of frustration about the challenge with the conversation.
Jodi: Did you say anything at that time?
Natasha: No, just went with it and kept hiking.
Jodi: You do wonder. I did wonder. Is he doing that because he’s nervous, or because he has no one else to talk to and he just needs to talk to someone, or because he’s all about himself?
Jodi: And is that a red or yellow flag?
Natasha: Exactly. There were all those thoughts in my mind. I was interested in what he had to say, but it was also like, “Are you going to listen a little bit too? Is this guy so full of himself?”
Natasha: But mostly, it was good. I liked that he was outdoorsy and adventurous and kept pace with me pretty well. I think just physically getting used to someone navigating difficult terrain can be something that tells compatibility or not.
Jodi: The walk through the park at the creek was difficult?
Natasha: It ends. And then you have to start walking over rocks and through the creek, over different rocks, to the other side, and around this tunnel.
Jodi: Were the two of you ultimately in a secluded area together?
Jodi: How did you feel about that? You didn’t know this man and you went with him into a part of the park that others couldn’t see you in. You were alone.
Natasha: Good question. Yeah. I tend to just trust my instincts and for sure, there was no one else around. There were no red flags at all as far as that. He seemed like a very sweet, family guy, and very trustworthy.
Jodi: Got it. You’re out there. You’re climbing over rocks and through tunnels in the late afternoon.
Natasha: Right. Yeah.
Jodi: What happened at that point in the date?
Natasha: We kept going and then you can crawl up this little trail to the side and that gets you back into city streets and a neighborhood. So you’re walking down sidewalks and down to the main street and then there’s cafes. We did a neighborhood walk and then went to a cafe and stopped and had some coffee and, I think, a snack.
At that point, I felt like he started to reveal too much. He was telling me about his mother’s inheritance and this whole family battle with his aunt. I was like, “This is kind of a lot for the first time I’ve ever met you.” That actually made me feel a little awkward.
Jodi: How many hours into the date were you?
Natasha: A couple hours, two or three hours.
Jodi: He clearly was feeling comfortable with you to disclose more personal details about his life and his family.
Jodi: It sounds like you were not at that point at all.
Natasha: It just seemed a little odd. I’m like, “Am I supposed to be tracking your whole family saga?” But I thought it was cute and interesting. But I was like, “Maybe he’s a little like unstable.” It was hard to know if he was just very trusting or a little unstable. That’s a lot of information at once.
Natasha: Yeah. Then he also told me about his kids and he stopped and called his kids, which also gave me some time to process. But there’s a lot of emotions going on and kind of confusion about what this all meant.
Jodi: Right. It sounds like you were enjoying your time, but not sure exactly what was going on.
Natasha: Yeah, exactly. And the information and just the feelings around it all.
Jodi: As the day progressed, did you get more clues from him as to what he was thinking about you and him on this date?
Natasha: There were signs that it was going well. He seemed interested and positive and receptive. After the cafe, we decided it was time to go home. It’s kind of a loop. I walked him down from the cafe towards the park again. He reached out and gave me a hug, which I thought was sweet, and then he asked me if I was free the next day. So I was like, “Oh, he does like me,” and “that’s sudden,” but sure it was Saturday. Sunday was open. I was like, “Sure, let’s get together tomorrow night.”
Jodi: He did not leave you to wonder.
Natasha: Right, which was really great.
Natasha: Why toy with each other? You know?
Jodi: That’s really refreshing.
Natasha: Absolutely! Yeah. I really like that.
Jodi: But you still had questions, a lot of questions, in your mind about his oversharing.
Natasha: Yeah, and the conversation dynamic and how the kids fit in and the tension between dating and the kids.
Jodi: When you went home, did you get on the phone and call your friends or text your girlfriends?
Natasha: I’m sure I talked to some friends. I don’t remember exactly what happened. But I was excited and a little nervous and wondering what it all meant.
Jodi: Please share the rest of the story of what happened with you and Ed.
Natasha: Well, we dated the next night. I’ll briefly say we met at a restaurant and I was expecting him let’s say at 6:30pm. I got there at 6:30pm. He didn’t show, he didn’t show. So I was like, “Oh, second date.” But 15 minutes later he called me and said he was running late. He was working on a wine project with some of his friends. So that irritated me that on the second date he was late.
Jodi: You waited?
Natasha: Yeah, I waited. He got there 25 minutes later.
Jodi: What did you say when he showed up?
Natasha: I was a little irritated. But he’s like, “I’m sorry. I was in the middle of something.”
Jodi: Did he bring you any wine?
Natasha: Not that night. No. But since then, I’ve gotten plenty of wine. So it works out. But we did have a nice dinner and kept dating. A couple weeks later, we saw a movie and I remember just sitting next to him and loving his laugh. Having something else to focus on, but being aware of him and hearing him laugh was the most nurturing, reassuring sound. I was really struck by what a nice laugh he had. And then as we left the movie, he put his arm around me and that was really sweet too. But no kissing.
Jodi: No kissing for how long?
Natasha: For several weeks.
Jodi: And that was okay with you?
Natasha: Yeah. That was kind of part of the plan. One of my girlfriends had been coaching me and that was part of my plan.
Jodi: Explain more about that strategy please.
Natasha: I was just like the sense of developing a friend, a friend and someone that you can converse with, that you enjoy being with, that you can get to know in a non-physical way. That was what my girlfriend was coaching me on and I felt that was right for where I was in my life.
Jodi: Did you tell Ed that this was the way you wanted things to go? That you didn’t want to kiss him for a while in the early stages of your relationship? Or he just didn’t make a move?
Natasha: I think I gave some signals. But yeah, I kept a little distance. I think he was respectful too. He knew and he wasn’t looking for something short term. He was looking for a long-term relationship.
Jodi: Do you remember any times when he made the move and you turned away and responded with a hug or something else? (Laughter)
Natasha: No. There were a couple of hugs and I don’t know if I like moved a little bit away. I don’t think he really tried to plant a kiss on me until it was about our fourth date. And then once we started kissing, there was no stopping!
Jodi: Ah. That happened about a month in?
Natasha: Yeah, three weeks or so.
Jodi: Is that a strategy that you would recommend to other women?
Natasha: I would feel it out. But yeah, I’ve tried different things and at that point in my life, I think that was definitely the best….just finding someone that you’re real compatible as a friend with, and knowing that the attraction is there. Of course physical attraction is really important. But to me having good rapport was essential before you get physical.
Jodi: Once you started with the kissing, do you think that that elevated things to a different level between the two of you when it came to intimacy?
Natasha: Yeah, I think there was kind of a lot pent-up energy and excitement. So yeah, things were very elevated. Yeah, there was a lot of chemistry between us. Once that kind of fire came on, it started gushing, I guess. (Laughter)
Jodi: So ultimately, where did your relationship with Ed evolved to?
Natasha: It just kept growing and getting the kids into our relationship was a whole another level. Of course, each of them has feelings about having another woman in their dad’s life. Some of that was a challenge, but it went quite well. We kept growing for about six months and then I was getting some signals that were not working for me. So then I actually broke it off and said, “Okay, we’re separating. This is not working.” I think a lot of it was conversation, but it was also different take on spirituality and what’s important. That had been a strain.
Within a few days, he’s like, “Well, can we just talk?” And I was like, “Okay, we can talk.” He had written out some notes about all these feelings he had. He had talked to his therapist and he had a lot to share. He was like, “Let’s just be friends. I don’t want to lose you.” And then that just started it all up again. I was like, “Oh, that’s so sweet and thoughtful.” And then I was like, “Okay, we can be friends.” But we were never, we could never.. (Laughter)
Jodi: You were never just friends.
Natasha: No. No. We were never just friends. But it shifted the relationship, the tensions that were there before. We addressed them. It helped a lot.
Jodi: You were able to get past your personal concerns about spirituality?
Natasha: Yeah. I felt like he could see that part of me much more clearly and was more willing to listen and be more sensitive in the relationship.
Jodi: Was that a break up, or maybe it really was pressing “pause” more than completely breaking up?
Natasha: Well, I saw it as a breakup. I was really sad. It felt like something I’ve been thinking about for a while and then I said it and said goodnight and then the whole next day I was like, “Oh, it was so sad to lose him.”
Jodi: So you didn’t see in him, at the time, having the ability to meet you where you wanted him to meet you?
Natasha: Correct. Yeah.
Jodi: It turns out you underestimated what he ultimately was able to do and the way he was able to evolve, to be in the relationship.
Natasha: Yeah. Yeah. Since then, we’ve totally grown together. I feel like we’re a really solid team. So yeah. I underestimated him. I felt like he just wasn’t open enough, I think, for me previously.
Jodi: Where are the two of you now in your relationship?
Natasha: We’re great. We’re married. We’ve been married for a couple years and we’re very happy.
Jodi: That’s fantastic.
Natasha: Thank you. Thank you.
Jodi: Now I’m curious. What advice you have for the women who are listening?
Natasha: Sure. Well, partly thinking about this podcast and reflecting back on this time in my life, I pulled out some my journals and I realized that journaling was very helpful because each step of the way you have mixed feelings and challenges. But sometimes just putting all that down on paper and supporting yourself through working through your thoughts and your feelings with each relationship is helpful. And also I think friends and girlfriends, talking about what you want, putting it out there that you’re looking for a relationship, and talking about the challenges and strategies.
Jodi: Yeah, telling everybody you know that you’re interested in meeting someone to date is a great suggestion.
Natasha: And just knowing that there is someone. I believe everybody’s totally lovable and that there is someone out there for you. So just trust that and just know that the situation will appear when the time’s right.
Jodi: Love it! I absolutely love it! And it worked for you.
Natasha: Yes, surprisingly, but I’m very happy it did.
Jodi: I don’t know about ‘surprisingly.’
Natasha: At times, I didn’t think it would work. But yeah, it’s worked great.
Jodi: But you kept at it.
Natasha: Yep, I kept at it.
Jodi: Why did you keep at it if you doubted at times? Because I know there are women listening who are doubting at times, unfortunately. I doubted at times. I’d love to hear from you what it was that kept propelling you forward.
Natasha: Well, one thing that helped was a visioning class. I took a visioning class just before that. It was about being creative and thinking about what excites you, making collages, writing out and imagining what you want in your life, taking space for yourself and dreaming about what you want. That was a good tactic that I did just before I met Ed. I think in some ways, just feeding the things that make you happy and spending less time on things that worry you, or make you feel not happy.
Jodi: That’s such a healthy approach to take, to get centered on what you want and see it for yourself. Then that way, when you experience it you’ll know that this is what you want because you’ve already pictured it and you’ve already kind of processed it.
Natasha: Yeah. I think making some space in your mind and in your heart for this makes you open and aware and available when your life starts to shift.
Jodi: Wonderful. Thank you for talking with me about your first date with Ed. I’ve enjoyed it immensely. I hope our listeners have also learned a great deal and I thank you so much for being here on the show with me.
Natasha: It’s been my pleasure. Thank you.
Photo by Ben Klea on Unsplash