It was definitely a gorgeous car, impossible to miss even though my primary focus was making it home before afternoon rush hour. Yet, it was going too slow as it was held up by an 18-wheeler in the center lane. So, I passed them both to the left and made my way around the truck. I spotted him in my rear-view mirror following suit.
Barreling down I-35 in the center lane, I got that uncomfortable feeling I was being watched. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw that beautiful, black car passing me on my left so I slowed to allow it to pass, yet it then slowed to match my speed. Then my mind started racing. I know only 2 people who have ever owned a 6-series BMW convertible and they live in other parts of the country. So I did what anyone else would do and I looked to see who was checking me out.
“You’re beautiful,” his lips said as he motioned at me.
Is this really happening? Wait. This guy is really handsome.
“Are you married?” he asked me ask he pointed at his ring finger.
“No,” I shook my head. Are you kidding? Who does this?
Just like that, my focus shifted from beating rush hour to how do I exit I-35 into a public place so I can meet this guy. Within minutes, while standing in a strip mall parking lot, a very attractive, smart, engaging man asked if he could call me so he could take me on a date.
Hours later when I was recounting the scene with my mom on our way to dinner, she very promptly responded by asking, “Is he married?”
<CUE RECORD SCRATCH SOUND EFFECT>
“I don’t know. I didn’t think to ask. I’ve never had to ask that question.”
“Well, you better find out before you go out with him. There’s a reason he asked,” she responded.
I love telling this story because, let’s face it, how often does this happen? Every girl loves the notion of being swept off her feet and this was, by far, the most dramatic pick-up I’ve ever experienced in my life. However, the wise words from my mom quickly killed my buzz. Suddenly, I was really uneasy about the whole encounter with this handsome stranger. Since college, I can count on one hand the number of men I’ve gone out with who didn’t know at least one of my friends. When my friends know the men that I date there’s a built-in background check, accountability of sorts, that I didn’t have with this man who just arrived on the scene. At that point, it was up to me to find out if this man was married or not, among other facts about him that are important for me to know.
Thank goodness he was honest with me because this man, it turns out, was still married. From his point of view, he wasn’t because he had been separated for 3 years and had a divorce “in progress,” yet not final. He called it a “technicality.” I don’t know about you, but to me – a girl who wants to be married to the man of my dreams one day – that’s a pretty big technicality (as a side note, his justification was a red flag for me anyway and brought to light a whole bucket-full of other issues. Maybe I’ll address those in a different post). I explained that I only date single men; by law, he was still married. Therefore, I was not going to date him.
It had me consider how vulnerable (I hate that word, by the way) we can be when we’re getting to know someone completely outside our social circle. I also realized how important it is not to take anything for granted by making assumptions. Rather than assume, the best thing to do is have a conversation to understand the facts; ask important questions. Unless you want to find out later, it’s perfectly fine to ask a new potential suitor at the start, “Are you married?”