I haven’t written about shenanigans in a long time. So here we go…
About 6 months ago, I was sitting in church with my 14-yr-old son. It was a new church a friend of mine said to check out . It’d been awhile since I attended a service. I was really enjoying it. The pastor was speaking about how we often tend to take control of everything in our lives and forget to just pray about things and ask God for help.
This hit me right in the heart. I totally wasn’t doing that.
For those of you who know me IRL, I work for a dating company. I’m constantly surrounded by the top experts and their advice in dating, love and relationships. I must have read and shared a thousand blogs articles so far and had umpteen hundreds of hours of conversations about what to do, who to look for, how to act, who to be, etc.
I’m good. I got this dating stuff down.
Or do I?
I was so consumed with the external resources and support around me that I had completely forgotten about a fundamental part of who I am – someone who believes in God and who knows He is looking down at me as I go on this journey of looking for my soulmate. (Side note – God’s definitely shaking his head during moments of shenanigans, of which there are many. Good thing He still loves me as I try to make the best decisions possible!)
The pastor’s words were so simple but so painful. Why was I trying to figure this out on my own? I’ve met so many people over the last few years of my dating life, but hadn’t found “The One.” I clearly could use some help!
So right there in church I said a prayer. I asked Him to help me. Make it clear. Make it obvious who was out there for me.
I kid you not, the next day I received a message on OkCupid from Mr. Vegas.
Yes, he lived in Vegas and HOW he ended up finding me (I live in Los Angeles) is one of the signs I knew this guy was something to pay attention to. We had both changed our settings so that we only saw matches within 25 miles from where we lived. Clearly outside of our areas. We couldn’t explain how it happened. Go figure.
It kinda worked, though, because later he said he’d been looking at moving to Los Angeles regardless. Cool!
As I read his profile and looked at his pics, I began to get excited. He was so cute! And older (48…I prefer someone in their 40s), fun, athletic, an entrepreneur, a God-fearing man, a single dad, and a FANTASTIC dresser. The bow tie really did me in. His messages to me were sweet and polite and bashful yet confident.
“I feel like a kid in the candy store every time I see a message from you,” he said. It was adorbs.
After more back and forth, we moved to the phone. After tons of hours on the phone until 3am each night, and a few weeks later, we made plans to meet. There was too much in common, we got along so well and this was looking good.
He came to Los Angeles. My friend, Katie, took my son to a movie while he and I met for our first date at a cafe for lunch.
When he walked in wearing my favorite colored shirt (blue, he remembered) and trendy white denim jeans I was smitten.
He had booked a hotel room and planned to stay for 2 days.
Well guess what?
He ended up leaving 4 days later! We spent almost every waking moment together – he didn’t want to leave, and neither did I.
He met my son and to this day, he’s never hit it off with anyone I’ve introduced him to (which is just a small handful of guys) as well as with Mr. Vegas. They were too peas in a pod and at times I felt like the 3rd wheel while they left me out and talked about sports, shoes, and other boy stuff. It was awesome.
He even went to church with us and as I stood there afterwards taking a selfie of the three of us on the sidewalk outside the church, I felt so unbelievably connected and happy. This guy was amazing. It felt right.
Over the course of the next few months, I pretty much stopped talking to other guys and didn’t spend much time on my dating profiles. Mr. Vegas and I kept talking until 3am most nights and also saw each other several more times.
My son and I drove out to Vegas for a long weekend and had the time of our lives with him. We went go-karting, played basketball, walked through the stores the Wynn and picked out our own Rolex watches we’d someday buy. We went out to eat and did other touristy things and took a million pictures while we created beautiful and fun memories.
My son flew home to his dad’s at the end of the summer and Mr. Vegas came back out to LA a few weeks later.
And then something bad happened.
I started judging him.
I thought to myself:
“He doesn’t make as much money as me. Shouldn’t he?
He doesn’t have a plan together to move to LA yet. Shouldn’t he? Maybe he’s not serious about this…
Maybe he’s not as good-looking as I first thought. I should be super-attracted to my guy, right?
Maybe he’s too preachy for my taste. How can I be with someone who wants to be an evangelist?? I don’t know the first thing about that kind of work…”
And on, and on.
I eventually decided that this wasn’t going to work. I put walls up and I started to shut him out.
This wasn’t the ideal guy I had pictured in my mind of who I should be with. I wanted someone I could relate to more. Someone who was more stable and could offer me security. Someone who understood more about my line of work and who was able to talk to me about things in my area of expertise.
I had to do it.
I finally made the phonecall where I explained awkwardly that I didn’t see us working out due to the distance between us (my best excuse that also partly resembled some truth).
He was hurt. And shocked. But took it like a champ and hoped we could still be friends and communicate.
Of course this was fine with me. He was an amazing guy, after all. There was no ill-will.
I jumped right back into online dating. I deleted my OkCupid account and re-downloaded Plenty of Fish. I needed a fresh start and a fresh pond to fish from. I was more clear than ever who I was looking for and refused to “settle.”
About 3 months passed by and then something even more terrible happened.
I realized just how amazing Mr. Vegas was.
And not just amazing, but I realized how he was almost perfect for me.
I realized that although he wasn’t making the same amount of money I was, but that he was successful in the past as a business owner and was transitioning into building another business on the side while working his full-time job. He was a hustler and I’m attracted to ambition. I had overlooked this.
I realized that he made me feel like a complete Queen when he pumped my gas each and every time he was with me, regardless of if I was driving. I also realized that the teaching opportunity he gave my son who was riding in the back seat the first time this happened will probably have a lifelong impact. He told my son that he should always pump his mom’s gas and for any lady that he’s with, for that matter. Gentlemen are hard to come by, but this behavior should be standard to show respect and love for women, especially his mama. For that I’m grateful.
I realized that all he did was make me laugh, smile and feel loved and adored.
I realized that we had the same aspirations in life and how great of a parent he was to his daughter.
I realized I messed up.
And it shocked me when I realized the self-sabotage I had let run this off the track.
After thinking and re-thinking and hashing this out in my head and outloud with my closest friends, I told him I needed to talk to him. It was like feelings for him came back overnight, and even stronger for this guy!
On the phone, I was nervous. My palms were sweaty, my heart was racing.
I rarely find myself in such an emotional and vulnerable place but I KNEW I had to share with him what my true feelings were or I’d regret it for the rest of my life.
Maybe this was my guy?!
I spilled my guts.
I told him I was sorry and that he was amazing and how much fun we always had and how special our time was together.
I went on and on about the good things I liked about him and how he made me feel.
And then, I asked him…what were his plans to maybe move to LA and pursue something serious with me and with his career change? We had talked about this a lot in the past.
His answer almost crushed me.
“Babe,” he said. “Wow…”
I could detect a certain note of sadness in his voice.
“I really thought you and I were done.” (long pause) “I’ve decided to move to New Orleans where my daughter is in college. It’s her last year and I really want to be there for her before she heads off into the real world. You know? Like, to be there for her until she’s gone. She’s 18 – it’s her last year I’ll be able to really do that.”
I was shocked.
Wow. I did not expect to hear that not only was he no longer thinking about moving to Los Angeles, but that he was instead, moving further away from me.
The rest of the conversation was a blur, but I managed to share that I was willing to give us a shot if he moved here and really wanted to see what would happen, how great we could be.
There wasn’t too much pursuading after that as I’m not that type of person. I tend to want people to make up their own minds about whether or not they want to be with me, so I told him I totally understand about his daughter and I didn’t ever want to be the reason he could regret not moving to New Orleans to be near her.
He told me he was torn.
This news obviously came as a shock to him, too, and we ended the 2-hr phonecall with him saying he’d need to really think about things now. He made it clear he cared very much about both of us ladies.
The next two week were pure agony as I tried to be patient and wait to hear his (life-changing) decision about his next chapter in life.
I couldn’t take it and as each day went by I wanted this fairy tale romance to happen. Selfishly, I wanted him to choose me! I wanted him to choose him!
And soon enough, the verdict came.
He decided he would move to New Orleans at the start of the year.
I was crushed. And then angry. And then more mad. And that kept me from saying, “No!!!! But we’re supposed to be together!” and instead gave me, “Well, FINE! You’re not who I’m looking for ANYWAYS!” and stomp off in disgust to be done with it.
I told my close friends what Mr. Vegas had decided and they consoled me and agreed that we weren’t compatible enough, or that he just wasn’t “my guy.”
Fast forward about 2 months later and that brings us to recent weeks…
After Mr. Vegas had told me his decision I had completely backed away.
But as time went on, the anger subsided and I started feeling something else much stronger.
I was feeling sad, and that I perhaps had messed this up along time ago.
I still had feelings for Mr. Vegas.
We started talking again. A little bit here and there. Just text messages at first.
And then a phone call on Christmas Eve when my son and I were hanging out at a cabin we had rented out of town in the mountains.
I put him on speakerphone and my son and him shared laughs about an inside joke they had always teased me with. We laughed and laughed and all caught up.
My son went to bed and Mr. Vegas called me back.
As I laid on my bed talking to him, it hit me.
“You should be here with us…” I said.
“I wish I was…” he admitted.
And then, tears started falling down my cheeks.
I hadn’t cried in forever! What the heck was going on?!
I cried in silence as he kept talking about something. I told him I had to go.
A week passed by and we talked more and more.
I was still aware he was moving to New Orleans. I wanted the best for him and totally supported his decision to move near his daughter, regardless of the twinge of pain it caused me every time he’d mention updates about his move, finding a place, interviews with a potential job there, etc.
My son went to his dad’s after Christmas and Mr. Vegas and I kept in communication.
In the meantime, I’d been going on dates and meeting other guys from eHarmony and Plenty of Fish. My dance card was full but Mr. Vegas was always close to my heart.
And then, this last Saturday he’s texting me in the morning and says, “Let’s meet in the middle. I want to see you.”
Shocked, I said, “Now?!”
“Yes!” he said.
He called me. I didn’t know what to do but I also wanted to see him. Especially before he moved away. One last time at least, right?
So we booked a hotel in the middle and drove to meet…
(To be continued….in Part II).