The following is the transcript of this podcast episode.:
Jodi: Zoe, welcome to this episode of the podcast. It’s fantastic that you’re here with me today to share a story about a first date you were on.
Zoe: Thank you. It’s my pleasure.
Jodi: I’d love to hear, and have the listeners hear, a bit about you before we delve into the details of this first date.
Zoe: I’ve had a career in human resources for over 20 years. I decided to take time off. It’s been really amazing and full of growth. I’ve never been married. I’m in my late 40s. Let’s see. I just sort of went down the path of being really independent. And then during my time off, it sort of came to me that I no longer want to live my life alone and I really wanted a life partner to share my life with. That was a real revelation for me and that’s sort of how I put myself out there.
Jodi: Are you going to tell us a first date story that happened since when you went on sabbatical?
Jodi: Who did you go out on this date with?
Zoe: I went out with Mitch. I put myself out there online for three months, something that I wasn’t comfortable with doing. But I decided that I was just going to do it. He is one of the dates I went on. We met online on Match.com.
Jodi: Were you new to Match? Had you done it before?
Zoe: I was new to Match.
Jodi: Okay! You waited until your 40s to give Match a try.
Jodi: Was this the first time you ever been on in an online dating platform?
Zoe: Yeah. It was the first time that I really put myself out there like that and my first time on Match. I just found the whole thing of going online very frightening. I didn’t feel comfortable sharing a lot of personal things about myself with strangers. And so it was a really big step for me to put myself out there, but I somehow got the courage to do it.
Jodi: How did you ultimately get yourself to take that big step, because it sounds like it was a significant step for you?
Zoe: Yeah. It was a very big step for me because I’m not on social media. So doing something like that is not who I am.
Jodi: But it is who you are now.
Zoe: Well, yeah. I did it. I did do it. I worked with a coach and she was a big source of support for me.
Jodi: That’s a really healthy thing to do.
Jodi: You were very self-aware. It was important that you needed assistance – a partner – somebody to help guide you to take that step.
Zoe: Yeah. Basically what happened is I really wanted someone in my life to sort of help me along and challenge me and help me grow further. When I worked with her, she’s the one that sort of pushed me to do that. She’s the one who helped me understand how important it is for me to put myself out there. And so I’m grateful to her for pushing me.
Jodi: I think that’s tremendous that you decided to do that. You were, it sounds like, stepping into new territory and you decided you needed a guide.
Zoe: Yes. I wouldn’t have been able to do it on my own. I mean, as independent and self-sufficient as I am, I’ve always been that way in my career and in my life decisions and in my big financial decisions. But in terms of putting myself out there to find a male partner, it was very much out of my comfort zone and I needed my hand held.
Jodi: Bravo for doing that! How did you and Mitch connect? How did things start?
Zoe: He emailed me. He initially “Liked” me. I never responded to Likes because I just didn’t know how to respond. And so, when he liked me, I looked at his profile. But I just knew I wasn’t going to respond because I never did. Then he wrote me a note. Initially when I got his note, I thought, “Oh, there’s no way I’m going to ever respond to him.”
Jodi: Why not? What did he write that made you think that?
Zoe: It was because I had all these parameters that the guy needed to be – plus or minus four years in age difference. He needed to be a certain height. He needed to not have kids. All these crazy things! I had all these parameters. And this guy was outside of my age parameters. He has two kids and they both live at home and his height is 5’8” and I’m 5’7”.
What’s so crazy is that I had actually had these sort of crazy parameters and then, I don’t know what happened. When I got his email, I sat with it and then many, many hours later, I was reflecting on it and I thought, “Oh, you know, I should just write him back.” I had heard that when you have a moment of inspiration, just do it right then, at that moment, before you change your mind. I thought “I’m just going to do it right now.” Then when I did it, I felt immediate regret, like, “Oh my gosh!”
Jodi: You did?
Zoe: Yeah. “What have I done?” I just felt all this fear. It was so weird. I felt that I had sort of totally gone out of my comfort zone with this man. It’s almost like I had set all these parameters to keep myself safe, or to not put myself out there, and I didn’t realize that. I had limited myself so much. When I responded, I felt really anxious and I actually couldn’t sleep that night. I was like, “Oh my God! What have I done? I responded to a man who has kids!”
Jodi: What happened next?
Zoe: The next morning I heard from him. He seemed like a really nice man the way he responded. I immediately felt relieved when I got his response. I was like, “Ah!” And then he asked for my number and I gave him my number. He texted me and said, “Hello, this is Mitch from Match. May I know your name?” I thought that was really nice. I got a feel for who he is. I was starting to feel comfortable with this person.
Jodi: What happened after you got the text?
Zoe: So then we exchanged a few texts and then he said, “Do you have some time to talk today?” I was going to celebrate a friend’s birthday over a brunch, so I told him I could talk to him later that day at 3pm. He said, “Great! Just call me when you’re free.”
Jodi: He put it in your hands.
Zoe: Yes. I called him at 3pm and we had a nice conversation. We were on the phone for maybe 20 minutes, or 25 minutes. He asked me what my plans were that evening. I told him that I was going to go to the library after he and I hung up and I didn’t have any plans that evening. He said, “Oh, would you like to go to dinner?”
Jodi: That night?
Zoe: Yes, that night.
Jodi: How terrific! This man was not messing around here.
Jodi: He liked what he heard on the phone!
Zoe: Exactly! I liked how he was deep into pursuing this. I would say I was intrigued.
Jodi: Did you say yes?
Zoe: I said yes.
Jodi: Did you give him your address, or did you meet him at the restaurant?
Zoe: We met at the restaurant.
Jodi: When you got to the restaurant, was he already there?
Zoe: The restaurant that he had chosen for us to meet at had burned down!
Jodi: You’re kidding! He didn’t know that?
Zoe: He didn’t know that.
Jodi: Did you realize that before the date?
Zoe: No. No. He said that he tried calling them and then he kept on getting their answering machine, but he didn’t really think anything of it.
Jodi: Oh my goodness!
Zoe: What happened is, as I pulled around the corner to the restaurant, I saw this man approaching me. He looked really happy to see me. He recognized me from my photos. He came over and he introduced himself. Then he said, “Oh, you know, the restaurant burned down.” What struck me, is that he said “poor things” – with the restaurant burning down, he really felt bad for the owners. And I thought, “Oh, wow! What a compassionate man to have made a comment like that.”
Jodi: Right away you were learning about him.
Zoe: Yes, right away. When he greeted me, we hugged. He had really good eye contact. I had recently bought these flats and I had worn them because I knew that he was 5’8”. When he came to hug me and stuff, he was my height, or maybe a little taller. I was sort of relieved. I know it’s sort of silly, but I don’t know why. But anyway, I just remember feeling a little relieved about that.
Jodi: Good. It was important to you and he passed that one. You checked that box.
Jodi: The restaurant has burned down. What did you two do? Where did you go?
Zoe: Yeah. He lives in a town close by, but he came to my town. So he said, “Well, you know, where should we go? You pick.” Mind you, we met in a different neighborhood than where I live in, so I wasn’t familiar with that neighborhood at all. I just went on Google Maps to see what restaurant was nearby. It was pretty awkward. I just wanted to sit in front of him. I didn’t want to be walking around looking for a restaurant. So, I looked and I saw that there was a restaurant nearby. He said, “Great! Let’s go there.”
Jodi: You two walked over there, walked in and there was a free table?
Zoe: Yes. It was the last table in the restaurant, actually.
Jodi: How did the evening go from there?
Zoe: We had a nice conversation. It flowed. I remember thinking that I was really appreciative that he was letting the conversation flow and he was asking questions. I was happy about that. He seemed very respectful. So that was nice.
Jodi: Were you attracted to him?
Zoe: Good question. I really liked his eyes. Oh, and interestingly, because of what happened when I first met him. When he came down the street and greeted me, I had this sort of relief, like, “Oh! I could be attracted to this man.” When I was with him, I really liked his eyes and his eye contact and I was really focused on being present and being in the moment.
Jodi: That’s terrific and that’s important.
Jodi: Take me through what happened during the last part of the date.
Zoe: We finished our dinner. He was quick to get the check. I offered and he said “No.” I really liked that. Then we left and he said, “Would you like to get some dessert?” So, we went to a nearby place and we had dessert. We shared a piece of pie and we each had some tea.
Jodi: Already sharing!
Jodi: Sharing food with the man you had just been with for a few hours – that’s very promising! It must have felt good to you, or was it a little nerve-racking for you? How did you feel about that?
Zoe: I felt very comfortable with him. I could totally be myself and he was a good listener. I could sort of sense that he had a rough divorce. We didn’t talk about it, but I could just see it in his eyes. But I could tell that he enjoyed being with me.
Jodi: You could tell that and you were enjoying being with him!
Zoe: I was.
Jodi: How did the date end?
Zoe: The date ended with our hugging goodbye. It was a little awkward because we each went to our cars. He didn’t offer to take me back to my car, which I was okay with. I decided that I was going to like allow him to be himself and I wasn’t going to judge him. We hugged goodbye and then that was it.
Jodi: Now for the rest of the story!
Zoe: Yeah. So the rest of the story is…I’ve been seeing him for the past six months!
Jodi: Hooray! Hooray!
Zoe: Yea! And I have to say, I didn’t really know if he had potential until about the fifth date. I knew that he had something in him that I wanted to keep it going. But, I didn’t really know until the fifth date. In the fifth date, it was sort of solidified how I felt about him.
Jodi: How did you feel?
Zoe: I really trusted him. I felt really safe with him. He is a really good man. What I recognized is that I excluded men who had children and, what I realized is that I love my own father very much and I recognize that I love fathers. I love who men become as a result of being fathers. I wouldn’t have recognized that if I didn’t give him a chance. The beautiful thing too, is that because he’s a father, he knows how to cook. He’s a better cook than me! He does things around the house. Well, he has to. So, it’s actually had a lot of advantages.
Jodi: You had no idea that it would come with advantages, did you?
Zoe: I had no idea.
Jodi: That night that you stayed awake wrestling with this fear that you had responded to an email from a man with children….it’s all turned out so differently than you had expected!
Zoe: Exactly! It’s been one of the best things that’s happened to me in my life.
Jodi: I love hearing that!
Jodi: That’s amazing! That is just amazing. Are there lessons that you would like to share with the women listening to us talk today?
Zoe: Yes. I truly believe that if you really want love, and you’re really prepared for it, and you’re really ready for it, it’ll come to you. I really believe that.
Jodi: That is beautiful. That is beautiful and clearly spoken from the heart. Thank you, Zoe. Thank you.
Zoe: Thank you so much, Jodi.