The following is the transcript of this podcast episode.:
Jodi: Hello Tabatha! Thank you for being with me today.
Tabatha: Thank you for inviting me.
Jodi: Let’s hear about you first before we hear about Richard.
Tabatha: I’m 53. I worked for over 30 years doing billing, bookkeeping. I decided to take a break and do a little house cleaning. So that’s my current profession. I have two daughters. One is 23 and one is 31. I have two grandkids, both born in the same year. One is 14 months old and one is 3 months old and they all keep me busy.
Jodi: You have a lot of little ones around you, don’t you?
Tabatha: Yes, I do.
Jodi: Are you divorced?
Tabatha: Yes. I’ve been divorced since 1998.
Jodi: Have you been dating for most of those years?
Tabatha: I have. I’ve had a couple of long-term relationships, but for the most part just short dating.
Jodi: This date we’re going to talk about with Richard. How did you and Richard meet?
Tabatha: We met through a mutual friend.
Tabatha: I used to work at U-Haul back in the ’80s and I’ve kept in contact with one of the repair managers. I see him all the time because I always have maintenance issues with my car. So he asked me, was I dating and I said, “No, not right now.” He said, “I have the perfect guy for you.”
Jodi: Wow! That was very considerate of him.
Tabatha: He asked me if he can give him my number. And I thought, “Okay, you can give him my number.” So for about a month, Richard and I played phone tag. We never spoke with each other. We left voicemail messages, but we never connected. And then one Saturday we got in contact and we talked for about eight hours.
Jodi: What? Eight hours?
Tabatha: Eight hours on the phone!
Jodi: Oh my goodness!
Jodi: You went through your day, did all your activities talking to him? Or you just stayed home?
Tabatha: He was off that day and I happened to be off the same day. So we just spent the whole day getting to know each other over the phone, eight hours.
Jodi: That’s incredible. Were you sitting on the couch for those eight hours?
Tabatha: I laid down. I ate. I went to the bathroom a few times.
Jodi: Not with him on the phone. (Laughter)
Tabatha: No. I muted him out a few times and we just enjoyed each other’s company over the phone.
Jodi: What was it about him that you immediately responded to?
Tabatha: Well, just the communication, listening, telling stories, laughing. We did all of that over the phone. We got to know each other over the phone in one day.
Jodi: That’s amazing!
Tabatha: It is.
Jodi: Did he ask you out at the end of this marathon conversation?
Tabatha: Yes, he did. I asked him if it would be okay if I cooked something for him. I hadn’t cooked for a man in almost 20 something years. So I wanted to do something different. So I baked some chicken wings, I made mac and cheese and I roasted some Brussels Sprouts.
Jodi: How did you come up with that menu?
Tabatha: I wanted to do something that was simple and kind of finger food and something tasty that is my favorite.
Jodi: Did you invite him to come to your place or did you two meeting somewhere else?
Tabatha: I decided to pack a picnic and I was thinking of somewhere in between where we both lived and there was a lake in the middle of where we live.
Tabatha: So he came and picked me up, perfect gentleman, opened the door and we headed to the lake which was about a mile and a half away from my house.
Jodi: After the marathon conversation, you did some emailing and exchanged photos?
Tabatha: We did some texting and we exchanged photos. I got a chance to see what he looked like – a very handsome gentleman.
Jodi: He actually sent you a photo of how he looked at the time?
Tabatha: Yes. And I actually sent an older photo.
Jodi: You didn’t!
Tabatha: I did.
Jodi: Why did you do that?
Tabatha: Because I didn’t have anything current, so I sent something that might have been about six months ago. It wasn’t too old. I still look the same.
Jodi: Okay. He opens the door for you, you get in the car and drive off.
Tabatha: Yes. We headed to the lake. We found parking. I have packed the picnic, so we located a spot. I didn’t want to sit on the grass because the grass looked a little dirty, so we found a bench. It was right on the curve of where the lake where people can walk around the lake. I laid out our food. It was still a little steamy hot.
Jodi: You had just made it?
Tabatha: I just made it right before he got there. I had plates for us. I had cups. I had water bottles. So I laid out our picnic on the bench. We sat there. At least 50 people that walked by and could not believe we were sitting there having that homemade meal at the lake. It was so wonderful. We had a really good time.
Jodi: Were people commenting as they went by? What were they saying?
Tabatha: Yes. They were like, “Can I have some? That looks really good! You guys are enjoying.” This was our first meeting and we just laughed and enjoyed the food. It was so wonderful.
Jodi: What happened next?
Tabatha: He dropped me back at home and then from that day we texted and called each other every day. I thought, “Okay, I’ve met the perfect guy.” About a week later, he invited me to go to a wedding with him. I hadn’t been to a wedding with a gentleman in, I don’t know how long. He wanted to buy the outfit that I was going to wear. I thought that was a little strange. He bought five different outfits and the outfits that he bought weren’t for my body frame!
Jodi: Did you tell him what size you were?
Tabatha: Yes. I told him that I was a large or a 12, anything bigger is fine but nothing smaller than a large. When he brought these outfits to me they were mediums and smalls. A couple of the outfits, my daughter whose size it was, couldn’t fit!
Jodi: You’re kidding! (Laughter)
Tabatha: I don’t know if he couldn’t read the text or if he wanted me to squeeze in something that was not appropriate for my size.
Jodi: Did you really think it was his eyesight?
Tabatha: I don’t know. Like I said, it just totally got weird when he decided he wanted to pick out the outfit for me. One was like a spandex outfit, white.
Jodi: Oh my goodness! (Laughter)
Tabatha: I couldn’t believe it! So, I told him, “Let me pick out my own outfit for the wedding.” And so he’s out shopping, he’s at a boutique right around the corner from where I live and he says, “I see this perfect outfit for you. Do you mind stopping by here and trying it on?” I stopped by and it was another outfit that wasn’t appropriate for my age or my body type.
Jodi: What did you say to him?
Tabatha: I said, “No, I can’t wear that!” I said, “I’ll just wear a black dress, something plain.”
Jodi: He was basically obsessed with this.
Tabatha: Yes, with dressing me.
Jodi: With dressing you. When he saw you in that black dress, how did he respond?
Tabatha: He just said it’s beautiful.
Jodi: He was respectful?
Tabatha: Yes, very respectful.
Jodi: How was the wedding?
Tabatha: The wedding was really nice. It was also close to the lake where we had our first date, but in a boathouse. The hall that they were married in is also where they had the reception. It was really pretty.
Jodi: What else happened between the two of you after you went to the wedding together?
Tabatha: Afterwards, he turned into a kind of like control freak. He wanted me to text him in the morning when I got up, text him when I got home, text him in between cleaning jobs. He really wanted to make sure he knew where I was at all times. That just totally weirded me out.
Jodi: Understandably. Did you do all of that?
Tabatha: I did because I’m starting a new relationship with somebody. I’m not accustomed to letting some know where I’m at all the time. I’ve been single for a long time. So I said, “Okay. Well, I’ll do a little something different.” But it got completely out of control.
Jodi: Then what happened between the two of you?
Tabatha: Well, I didn’t know that he was religious. Every time that we spoke he would always want to pray and he’s Baptist. They do a lot of praying. It was just like an obsession of praying that everything worked out with us.
Jodi: Oh, that’s what he was praying about?
Jodi: He wanted the two of you to pray for your relationship, the success of your relationship?
Tabatha: Yes. And that was odd to me.
Jodi: Interesting. Yeah.
Tabatha: I never had that done. So it got kind of weird after that. If he couldn’t reach me during the day, then I will get a long scripture and the scripture would cover up the whole frame of my phone. It would be so long!
Jodi: Did you respond to those?
Tabatha: How do you respond to that? And I don’t go to church.
Tabatha: So it got kind of weird.
Jodi: Yeah. I can understand.
Tabatha: I told him, “We need to talk.” I headed over to his house and he wanted to tell me about his past relationship or marriage, and then he started showing me pictures of all the text messages from his ex-wife that he had taken pictures of.
Tabatha: Exactly! He had snapped, screenshotted, the text messages and then had printed them out. He had a binder full of all these text messages!
Jodi: He had a binder of messages that were texted to him? (Laughter)
Jodi: How did he explain this to you?
Tabatha: Well, he said the reason was someone had sent him a CD from his ex-wife and it had pictures of her with other people and then he started going through her phone and then he goes on and on and on about this ex-wife. Then he showed me a picture. I looked like her!
Jodi: You looked like her? That’s what this was about! He wanted to dress you in her clothing.
Jodi: That is creepy.
Tabatha: Very creepy.
Jodi: Did you see any signs of this after your first date, or while you were at the wedding?
Tabatha: No. Not at all. Just like I said, a really nice guy, perfect gentleman, you know get the door, pay for everything. He was just a really, really nice guy, but just wanted to be in control. And the scriptures. I mean, I looked at scriptures in the morning, I would get them in the afternoon. I would get them in the evening. It was a little overwhelming!
Jodi: Oh my goodness! Tabatha, what did you do? What did you say?
Tabatha: I said, “I’m going to have to call the mutual friend and see if I can find out a little bit more information on him.” And so I called him and he said, “Yes, he had a really bad breakup and divorce with the ex-wife. She had cheated on him.” And so him sending me scriptures and keeping up with me every day was just to make sure that it didn’t happen to him again. That was the end of the relationship.
Jodi: How did you end it with him?
Tabatha: I texted him and told him that we needed to talk. We set up a time to talk on the phone. I told him that we were going to have to go our separate ways, that he’s really religious and I’m not, and I don’t want to take it any further. I didn’t want to tell him that I was creeped out. I just wanted to see what his response would be. And then all of a sudden, he was like, “Come get all your things from my house!”
Jodi: Your things from his house?
Jodi: What things had you left?
Tabatha: I had left a pair of shoes and probably a little overnight bag. He wanted me to come get them immediately.
Jodi: Did you?
Tabatha: I did. When I got there, he had an entourage of guys at his house, people I’ve never met or never even heard of…like he was going to need these people to protect him from me.
Jodi: Were these men standing outside his house?
Tabatha: They were inside the house. But when I called to tell him I was there, they came out with him, like they were his bodyguards.
Jodi: Oh my goodness!
Tabatha: It just got creepy.
Jodi: This is just so over the top!
Tabatha: Yes. Later I found out that the ex-wife had jumped on him. So he was frightened that I was going to do the same to him!
Jodi: He thought that you were going to tackle him?
Tabatha: Yes. It was completely weird.
Jodi: What did the guys with him say? Were they apologetic?
Tabatha: They didn’t say anything. Once I told him I was outside, I told him just bring my things to the car. He brought them in and he was like, “You know, I really care about you and that’s it. I wish you the best.” And I drove off.
Jodi: Did you ever hear from him again?
Tabatha: Never. I never heard from him again. And so our mutual friend is also religious. He’s a deacon in the church. He kept asking me, “Has Richard checked on you since you guys broke up?” I said “no, not once.”
Jodi: Tell me, what did you learn from this saga, because it was a saga?
Tabatha: You really need to find out how the last situation ended for someone. The mutual friend, he said his wife had told him not to fix me up with Richard after the fact. She kept telling her husband, “Don’t connect those two. That’s a girl that you’ve been friends with for a long time, really nice girl. Don’t fix him up with her.”
Jodi: So maybe another lesson is, if a man is setting you up, ask him what the woman in his life thinks of it?
Tabatha: Oh, yes.
Jodi: What do you think? Is that something you’d suggest?
Tabatha: I definitely would. I have known the wife all the years that I’ve known him. I should have reached out to her just to get her opinion and then I probably could have avoided all of that craziness.
Jodi: That was a lot of craziness. It didn’t stop you from continuing in the dating world, did it?
Tabatha: No, it did not. It just made me a little bit more curious about men’s previous relationships. I don’t normally ask about previous ones because we’re working on what’s current. I think men handle breakups and situations a little different than we women do.
Jodi: Well, Tabatha, thank you for sharing that tale. I’m so glad that it ended up in such a way that you were fine and safe and able to just move on with your life. And you have!
Tabatha: Yes, I have.
Jodi: So bravo! Thank you for being on the podcast.
Tabatha: You’re very welcome.