The Story of Us… How We Met!
I will never forget that October night Abigail walked into my kitchen with a bottle of red wine and a rather devilish grin. We’d chatted about it quite a bit that week. The reality of actually doing it however seemed so foreign to me that I couldn’t quite imagine myself there. Couldn’t see myself actually taking that leap. Couldn’t possibly see myself… DATING ONLINE.
She walked over with a bottle of wine, a devilish grin and a fierce determination that this was the night. The night she was signing me up for Match.com. I was there(ish) mentally. Equal parts actually wanting to take the plunge and the other half so terrifyingly numb to what my life had become that the giddiness of the unknown took center stage and I just said YES.
As you may know, I filed for divorce in April/May of 2019 with a finalization of documents by late June. A swift move that took me one too many discoveries to pull the trigger on but once set into motion, I had this sudden and dire NEED for it be done as quickly as humanely possible. This girl was ready to move on. Or was I? In my mind, moving on as a single, worthy working momma and moving on as a single and “ready to mingle” woman was two totally different worlds for me. Better stated… not quite sure how much of me simply felt alive and free enough to crave a little change and how much of me actually wanted a “relationship”. I found myself riding this line of wanting to let loose and have fun but being “held back” by the girl that could only ever date for marriage. The girl who could only ever hang out with someone with the genuine intention of forever. Yet marriage and forever couldn’t be farther from my mind.
In between that May and that June, I hopped aboard a plane and left every single fear at the gate of the Atlanta airport as my girlies and I set out on yet another Summer adventure abroad. Six weeks to see the world and spend quality time with my two little loves. The best and most liberating Summer of my life. Peppered with stress and fear and craziness yet overwhelmed with hope and peace and optimism. I had chosen me and there wasn’t a single doubt in my mind that I’d made the right decision. In my mind, the very first mental step to truly moving on. Knowing deep down in your soul that hesitation and regret would never again be able to reserve a seat at your table.
I was there but was I THERE? Ready to put myself out there with inadvertent intentions of forever? Yeah NO. I had dated without a clue in the absolute heck what I was doing. That Summer of liberation had begun in Europe and had somewhere along the way thrown several dating-ish opportunities my way. I’d had fun I won’t lie. A lot of fun. Nothing even remotely to make up for years lost as a college student more focused on building a business than having a little fun but I had fun. I’d chatted with a guy that a friend of mine wanted to hook me up with and had gone out to Atlanta quite a few times with Ab and other friends. Once again, nothing crazy. Nothing I wouldn’t tell my girlies about one day. I had also briefly dated a wonderful man who I had so much fun with going out on random nights without my girlies. Yet never had I EVER in my whole life put myself out there all on my own to say I am single. That seemed a little too intentional over a happenstance encounter. That serendipitous moment of running into the love of your life at the deli counter that seems rare these days.
So I did it. A glass or two, or quite possibly a couple of bottles of wine later, I let her sign me up. And then together we created my profile. Because Lord knows this girl was a literal lifetime from, as in never had I ever entered into, any bit of proper dating knowledge. Who am I and what do I write and what do I say… I still get nervous energy thinking back. Oh my gosh we had the best time ever that night I must say. Setting my profile live and then swiping through the “discovery section”. A bit of advice… if you decide to try a little online dating, sign up with a friend by your side. The giggles and the lighthearted talk way outweighs the scary, what in the heck am I actually doing, kind of thoughts. Here’s a snippet of pictures I posted…
It had only been a few weeks but it kind of felt like a lifetime. I know I know. Some of y’all have gone on and off of online dating for years and years. I know this because I’m about to marry one. He’d been happily and securely single for years when my message appeared on his page. Yep, I messaged him first. So incredibly not me but my gosh he was so dang cute I couldn’t help it!!! 😉 His friends and family had always given him a hard time about how picky he was. How he’d sign up and then sign off and then sign back up again. He’d give Match a go and seemingly not even come close to finding “the one” so he’d log off for a month or a year or so. Single and patiently waiting for the one. I have so much respect for that happily and securely single mindset yet also so grateful that wasn’t me.
Yet thankfully he was back on when I was about to log off. I was only a few weeks in when I was already not feeling it and was about to move on. I’d decided online dating wasn’t for me. Already soooo over the random, way too creepy or flirty for a first message kind of messages and one too many questionable profiles. I was ready to call it quits, yep just a few weeks in, and just focus my life fully on work and my girls, hoping for that happen-chance serendipitous encounter I’d been dreaming of, when the most handsome man appeared on my “discovery feed”…
He quite honestly stopped me in my tracks. I read his profile, saw all of his cute pictures with his boys and friends and then saw “architecture and building” in his career/interests. Not quite sure what got into me that night. That girl who had absolutely zero experience in online dating. Almost zero experience dating at all. That girl who was raised by a mother who taught us to NEVER call a boy and to never approach first… sent that very first message. I so so wish I could go back into my now cancelled account and read our very first messages. I can’t remember it word for word but it went something like this… “looks like we have a career in common (wink face)…” Yep, SMOOOOTH. Lolol.
Not sure it was much of any time at all when he messaged me back. We messaged for maybe an hour or so when he asked for my number. I was so drawn to his genuine eyes and his sweet smile right alongside the fact that he had zero selfies and zero sports cars in his pictures. Two crazy little personal boxes of mine that I needed… checked and checked! Not to mention his shoulders and his arms… side note of course 😉 Okay, okay I’ll stop now.
So we started texting. Lengthy enough but also not over the top. I initiated conversations and questions at first but then he quickly took over. Looking back I think that was another check off of my list. He wanted to know about me just as much as I wanted to learn more about him. Much different than some of the other Match conversations I’d had thus far. He just seemed so incredibly genuine that I couldn’t get enough. I awaited that ding each day like it was suddenly a connection to the fluttering of my seemingly sixteen year old heart.
Then about a week and a half in, he asked me out. Asked if I wanted to meet in person for dinner. Halle-FREAKING-llujah. Maybe, just maybe, he was going to be REAL. Not the catfish visons that had filled my thoughts ever since that Summer of binge watching MTV’s Catfish and signing up for online dating collided. We chose a halfway-ish meeting spot since he lived an hour and a half from me and I wasn’t really keen on the idea of bringing him into my super small town just yet. So on a Wednesday night in October 2019, we met for dinner. Or as Addie, my little Swiftie, squealed when she discovered… “on a Wednesday in a café, I watched it begin again”. Quite literally.
We met for dinner at one of my favorite little dinner spots… Local Republic in Lawrenceville, GA. Seemed busy and easy yet also quaint and romantic-ish enough for a blind date. I will never forget getting out of my car and him walking toward me. I’d called Abigail that night on my way home and the first thing I blurted out was “he’s so freaking handsome” and that’s exactly how I felt in that moment as he walked toward me. This ridiculously sweet and kind and seemingly genuine man was also… so dang cute. Took my breath away. That Summer in Italy when I had told Abigail I was convinced I would meet and marry an Italian man after having the French phrase “n’ouble pas de vivre” (don’t forget to live) etched into my forearm… in Italy for some odd reason. That Summer thought was now standing right there in front of me.
We sat at a high top table for gosh knows how long, talking and laughing and eating absolutely nothing. We’d ordered like ten appetizers yet both admit now we were way too nervous to even eat. I tear up writing this because I can look back at myself sitting in that barstool and remember feeling like there was just something about him. His reserved, sweet, quiet yet also fun and talkative demeanor had me mesmerized. As cheesy as all of this may sound, there was just something about the way he talked to me, the way he treated me and the way he spoke about life that was every single thing I needed at that very moment in my life.
I get asked quite often how I’ve been able to trust moving forward and I never quite know what to say. I think it’s this equal parts combination of everything I chatted about in THIS POST… “The moment in my life where I was finally so determined to be fearless in the pursuit of what I wanted and what I deserved even if that meant being terrified at the steps that lie ahead.” Just wanting amazingness and genuine love so dang much. All of that alongside simply a feeling. This internal emotional understanding of what I’d been through partnered with this Godsend of trust sent to me that night. That same feeling I hear back from every friend and family member that have met him. He’s just so dang genuine and kind. I just think that there’s just this feeling of immediate openness and trust that came with his quiet and calm, selfless, viceless, family man aura that hit me like something crazy.
Not quite sure if it was during the dinner conversations or as we sat on the park bench directly afterwards that those feelings hit me the hardest. I still kid him so dang much about this but let’s just say that he was so over the top respectful and shy that we pretty much sat on opposite sides of a park bench after dinner that night. Not even putting his arm around me. I genuinely worried he wasn’t interested except that our date lasted for hours and hours. He always says now when we laugh about it that he just didn’t want to screw anything up and wanted to show me that he was there with genuine intentions. For me, those little moments that night and everyday thereafter have been absolutely EVERYTHING for me.
We chatted for hours and then we called it a night. Not even sure where this courage or this “forwardness” even came from but as we walked back to our cars, I semi-invited (okay, INVITED) him on a “second date” to a beer tasting that Ab and I were hosting at my event space that Friday night. And he said he couldn’t make it. I was bummed and simultaneously mortified for having asked. He ended the night with a brief hug as we made it to the car and I quite honestly wondered if I would hear back. I was a giddy, nervous wreck on that drive home. Soooooo interested but also soooooo terrified I had screwed something up.
But I did hear back. That same night. He checked to make sure I had made it back home and asked when I was free again. Whew! My favorite thing ever is hearing him re-tell his side of the story of our first date. He swears he was more nervous than me, that he didn’t eat for like two months and that he was so caught off guard when I asked him about that beer tasting that his stomach went into his throat. He said he was literally about to blurt out, ughhhhh… I think I need to feed my (non-existent) chickens that night. Ha! He said he was just so nervous that the thought of doing it all over again in two days was just too much.
Oh and the craziest part of our story is that had I not messaged him, we would have never even met! Once again, I swear it was a God thing that I randomly felt all brave and secure and messaged him that October night. Truly something I’d never done and probably wouldn’t even do today. Yet come to find out, I was outside of the “distance range” he had set on his account, so had I not messaged him, my page would’ve never shown up on his. I guess the moral of the story is… just go for it… it’s okay to put yourself out there AND to be a little “forward”. I think when you know, YOU KNOW. The more you go through in life, the better your radar gets and the more confident you can become in who you are and what you want.
We did in fact meet up again. It wasn’t over that now mortifying beer tasting invite but we did and it was one of the best days EVER. He invited me up toward his neck of the woods for a day of Georgia vineyard hopping that following weekend (a week and a half later). We met at his home and hit the road for a full day and night of wine sipping and chatting. We ended the day at his house watching a movie and snuggling a bit. Once again, another date where respect and genuine intentions spoke louder than any words. Remember those thoughts I’d had of just wanting to have fun and not looking for anything serious? Out the door big time by our second date. I was absolutely falling into something and falling into something fast. Sharing more about us soon…