After my divorce and before I met Tom, I dated a couple of guys seriously and both times I got super heart broken.
I went into a period of just kind of giving up and not being selective. It was a really cruddy time. I was herding myself through a series of bad choices – dating people I knew it wouldn’t work with.
I got glimpses of what it would be like to have different qualities in a relationship. I dated men who wanted to commit to me or bond with my son Ben or move in together, but they were all like 25.
My friends called me out and said why are you dating 25 year olds who want to be serious with you, but aren’t really ready for it? They’re all too young for you.
I guess it was like getting the illusion of a committed relationship, but not what it would be like with an adult person.
Online Dating Rules
I had one friend who’d been online dating and she talked me into trying it out. At the same time I was doing Soulmate School and another program about being in my power.
So I signed up for a dating site and set new rules for myself.
I had been picking people out based solely on physical attraction and that wasn’t working out for me. The guys I was dating looked amazing on ‘minute one’ but then as I got to know them better they weren’t so great after all.
So with my new rules, I decided I was going to get to know people first and leave the physical stuff out of the game for awhile.
My First Rule was that anyone who asks me out that seems kind and respectful, I go out with him, regardless of looks.
For me it was about meeting and interacting with different people more than anything else.
I went on 20-25 dates in one month. In one day, I had a lunch date, met a guy for a drink after work, and then another guy for a dinner date.
Everyone I met was really nice. And I got to see all of them side by side. How they treated me. One would call when he said he would and then another wouldn’t.
It made it easy to let the not so good situations go without wasting too much time on them. Why would I put up with not being treated well, when there’s plenty of people out there who have their act together and are kind and respectful?
My Second Rule was if the first date wasn’t horrible I’d go on a second date, regardless of whether I was attracted to him or not.
Meeting Tom – No Spark at First
In the end there were 3 people that I was dating.
Tom was one of them.
The day before I met him for the first time, I called my friend and said ‘I want a man who is all of it – adventurous and exciting and sexy and strong and masculine and nice and kind, thoughtful and caring.’ I said to her, ‘maybe I’m being unrealistic. Maybe I should let that go and just accept that the kind of man who is one side is probably not the other’.
The next day was my first date with Tom.
I thought he was really nice and we had a lot in common and I liked talking to him, but there wasn’t a spark for me. Still I followed my second rule and went out with him again.
On our second date there was more of connection. He was nice, but quiet and all the things we talked about were fine, but again there wasn’t really that spark.
Third Date Fireworks
Then on the third date, it all changed.
He took me canoeing.
He’s a rock climbing and canoeing instructor, and he was totally in his comfort zone. It was like he lit up.
He started showing this adventurous, funny and witty side of himself. And I thought to myself ‘Oh my God, he might possibly be all of it. All of the things I thought I couldn’t have in one guy’.
It felt like everything we talked about that day was right on. There was this spark and connection there and it completely caught me off guard. I had thought if I didn’t feel that connection in the first moment of meeting then it wouldn’t happen.
All of a sudden, it felt really comfortable and exciting all at the same time. I had this knowing feeling of ‘this is it’.
If I had only judged Tom by his online profile, I wouldn’t have gone out with him. I would have dismissed him as a nice guy but not lively enough for me.
Even after the first date I could have said he’s nice but ‘eh not really doing it for me’.
Tom felt the connection from the first time he saw me – when he saw me walk up on our first date. He thought to himself ‘oh whoa this is different’. Thank God I set those rules!
He’s the perfect combination of both sides of the spectrum – adventurous and masculine and kind and caring.
It’s only gotten better and better over time. We have so much fun all the time, even when we’re just hanging out and talking and being with each other.
Almost Sabotaged It
While we were dating I did a good job of keeping myself in check as far as the things you teach. I kept myself energized and stayed true to myself.
But all along the way I was on the lookout for it to fail.
As we kept getting closer and closer, I got really scared. I started making up issues that didn’t exist to try and protect myself. I thought that I must be missing something really bad, because it couldn’t be this good.
Without your help and my brother’s help, I would have sabotaged it.
You both talked me out of a few situations where I might have shut it down. I remember thinking that I knew that I was ready because I was turning to people like you and my brother who kept me in it – where in the past I would have gone to other single friends who would say ‘oh just leave that’.
I knew somewhere inside me that this relationship was going good places, so I was careful who I went to for advice.
It was scary for both of us, but we were both willing to keep taking steps forward.
After nearly a year, we started talking about living together. I was clear that I didn’t want to move in without being married, because we both have kids. His son is 4 and mine is 8. They’ve always gotten along super well and really love each other, which is so wonderful.
So we found this really cute house and on the day they went to get the paperwork, I felt sick to my stomach. I loved Tom and I loved the house. I knew we were going to get married at some point, but the house was moving faster than the wedding situation was.
Tom is so wonderful at knowing when I’m off or something is up. So he asked me what was going on, and we had a conversation about why it was so important for me to be married before we moved in. We had talked about it before, but it had kind of gotten lost in the house looking.
Two days later he bought a ring and proposed to me under a giant tree (we both love trees and nature and being outside).
We got married 4 weeks later and moved into the new cute house the same day.
It’s funny in telling the story, it sounds like it all went really fast. We met in July and got married the following July. But it never felt fast. I knew that we’d be together after date 3. It was just about giving ourselves enough time to get to know each other.
I feel so grateful all the time, and I’ll often tear up out of love and gratitude when we’re talking. We support each other and are more in love than I even know what to do with sometimes. It’s just wonderful.
I couldn’t imagine a more perfect fit for me.
Gail Adams Event Coordinator
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