Relationship Tip #16 – “Are You Married?”

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?”

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30. Austin Sports and Social Club

In the interest of expanding my social circle, I willingly signed up for summer kickball when my friend, Juliana, was putting a team together.  For 8 weeks, I’ve committed to playing the game with my co-ed team against a new team every week.  It’s fun, light-hearted competition that makes socializing with different people every week inevitable.  We chose to play kickball because basically everyone who went to an American elementary school knows how to play the game, meaning anyone can play.  It gives us all a reason to get out after work, enjoy the outdoors and laugh – get a bunch of your friends together over a playground game like kickball and you’ll laugh a lot!  What I discovered is that meeting men in this setting is so easy.  The games are fun and the atmosphere is playful.  Best of all introductions are expected so the pressure is off.

Austin Sports and Social Club offers a variety of sports at varying skill levels from which you may choose.  If meeting great guys is your objective, start a team with a handful of your girlfriends and have them recruit male friends for your team from their social circles.  Instantly, there’s a new group of guys for you to get to know in a place where it’s easy to do so.  Eight weeks means 8 games and 8 scheduled opportunities to meet someone new.  Go out and play!

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Who says no one’s watching?

As I’ve written in a previous blog post (see Relationship Tip #6), you never know who’s falling in love with you. While I don’t believe that looks are everything, they are at least a start.

Here it is from an observant man’s point-of-view. Granted, Taylor Phinney is young, but a man nonetheless. I found his post worthy of reblogging because it’s a playful, well-written reminder that sometimes details make a difference.

Scroll down and read some of the comments. There’s a bit of good perspective there too.

taylorphinney

Hey there folks.

I am en route back to freezing cold Colorado and a very funny little exchange just went on in the row in front of me.

First off, I got upgraded to United First which is always a treat and not something that happens all that often–so we are 4 people per row, 2 on each side of the plane.

The two people in front of me have been chatting the whole flight, from when we sat down, up until just now as I am writing this. They clearly are not a couple, as they both came in at different times and are also WAY too into their conversation to have known each other for very long. The man is in his late 40s, the woman in her late 30s. Neither of the two have rings on. The man has been delving deep into what he does and…

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29. 24 Diner – North Lamar & 6th Street (The Counter)

I don’t mean to write about so many restaurants, but when I find a great Hot Spot I’ll share it.  Think about it, though.  When you’re single and you’ve got a lot going on, you eat out a lot because you don’t have time to cook – at least that’s how it goes for me.  My haunch that single guys eat out more than they eat in.

24 Diner is yet another eatery.  The best part of this place is not the food, it’s the counter.  When I was waiting with friends for a table, we were standing near the counter waiting for a few minutes.  During that short period of time, my friend Kelley and I struck up a conversation with 3 different single men eating breakfast for dinner at the counter, two of which were complete strangers and totally handsome.  Had I not been with 4 other friends, I would have joined them.  Oh, well!  Next time I’m hungry, I’ll definitely belly up to the counter at 24 Diner and go it alone.  By the way, Kelley met one of those guys for a bicycle ride.  We’ll see. . .

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My eBook Is Available on Amazon!

Back on August 1, 2010, merely one day after I turned down a big job in radio, I started writing a book of relationship tips, which was a spin-off of this blog’s content.  By August 31st that year, I completed the first draft.  Several revisions, distractions and excuses later the book was still locked away on a thumb drive.

March 28, 2012 could have been any other rainy Wednesday except that I had a 5:45pm business meeting and I had no clue who I was about to meet.  What I did know was that I was going to like him.  Believe it or not, I could tell from the way he crafted his emails and his voice messages that he was fun.

In our meeting we covered what we needed to cover.   Somehow our conversation wandered to this blog and the book I had written back in the summer of 2010.

“I’m going to get another glass of wine.  When I get back, I’m going to give you a gift.”

I was on the edge of my seat.  When he returned to our table, he sat down with his wine glass in his hands, rested his elbows on his knees and just looked at me without saying a word.

Finally, he said, “Release your book.”

I was stunned.  That’s it?  He went on to encourage me by reminding me that all I needed was my book – nothing fancy, at least nothing as elaborate as I thought I needed.

“It doesn’t need to be ‘perfect.'”

Really?  I thought everything I did had to be perfect (smile and wink!).

Months of procrastination later here it is.  Raw in places and polished in others, it’s not perfect, it’s me and it’s very personal.  For those reasons, I’m totally freaked out that my book is available to the public.  However, bigger than that is my commitment to making a difference for people in relationship – the purpose for my book.  A gift, if you will.

As always, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Irresistible You!  20 Principles to Attract The Right Man

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Relationship Tip #15 — Don’t Blow It

A friend of mine recently got me hooked on the PBS series Downton Abbey, which takes place in the early 1900’s.  The parents of three daughters are often host to potential suitors for their oldest, Mary.  The heir to their vast estate is Matthew Crawley and seems a logical match for her.  Yet upon arrival to Downton his ungentlemanly, unrefined behavior is unattractive to her.  Over time, Matthew embraces the aristocratic culture in Downton, befriends Mary and she begins to genuinely fall in love with him.  One night at a dinner party, the family was entertaining another potential suitor for Mary, Sir Antony.  Only Mary wasn’t interested in him.  So, she turns her full attention to Matthew while her sister, Edith, engages in conversation with Sir Antony.  After dinner, in an arrogant act of impulse, Mary insists to Edith that she could get any man.  To prove it, Mary at once turns her back on Matthew and begins to flirt with Sir Antony.  After being snubbed by Mary, Matthew promptly leaves the party.  From the window, Mary watches Matthew walk away, clearly regretting her actions toward him.  Watching all of this unfold from the sidelines, Mary’s father says quietly to his wife, “She thinks if you put a toy down it’ll still be there when you want to play with it again.”

I’ve played the role of Mary countless times in my own life.  What Mary’s father said about her was true about me too.  I had been operating with the selfish notion that the men in my life were at my disposal and I had infinite chances to “blow it” with them.  My wake up call came when I actually had someone in my life with whom I could see having a future.  Instead of nurturing the relationship, I broke up with him with little explanation.  Six months later, he gave me another chance and I did it again.  Time went by and he gave me yet another chance.  At this point, I had destroyed any trust he had in me.  Our relationship, or even friendship, was never the same.  While Mary acted in her arrogance, I acted in my insecurity.  Call it “the grass is greener syndrome,” sabotage or whatever.  We both had our reasons, but the reasons don’t really matter.  The bottom line is that I took him for granted.  I didn’t appreciate having him as my boyfriend until I had lost him.  There was no recovering from that – the consequence being I killed the relationship.

What would I have done differently? I would have:

  1. Acted on the vision of my future with him, not my past with other men.  Stated differently, I would have dealt with my baggage.  By treating him as if he were every other guy who had hurt me, I was making him pay for their wrongs.  This was a new relationship with someone who loved me, therefore deserving of a clean slate.
  2. Shared with him the issues with which I was dealing at that time.  He was a very tender-hearted man and told me at one point that he could tell I was dealing with something.  I didn’t tell him because I didn’t want to be v-u-l-n-e-r-a-b-l-e.
  3. Appreciated everything that he was for me, rather than indulging in my insecurities.  I was admittedly obsessed with what could go wrong in our relationship.  How could I possibly enjoy being with him with that constantly running in my head?
  4. Given him credit for being an adult.  That means trusting him to be able to handle bumps in the road with me.  Of course, to do that requires communication.  He didn’t know because I was unwilling to share it with him.  In hindsight I can see that he’s dealt with plenty of issues in life, many were just as difficult as, if not more than, mine.  He could have managed it.  Also, being outside the situation, he probably would have done so more skillfully than I.
  5. Moved on after breaking up with him the first time.  To repeatedly go back and forth with him served only me – selfish.  It kept him in limbo, fueled his insecurities because he never knew where he stood with me and completely ruined his trust in me.  I wasn’t respecting him or his heart.

Having a love worth keeping really is like winning the lottery – it seldom happens and doesn’t happen for everyone.  Playing games like Mary or I did, regardless of your reasons for doing so, will always have its consequences.  I’m not saying that there are no second chances.  Plenty of people get married after a second chance.  What I am saying is appreciate your first chance in a relationship and treat it as if it’s your last because it could be exactly that:  your last chance.

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28. The Gym?

Forgive me for stating the obvious but, yes, the gym.  Ever since I was in high school, I had a membership to my local gym.  To be completely straight about it, I was so intentionally aloof that I wouldn’t make eye contact with anyone while I was there.  Any man who dared to strike a conversation with me was met with my own version of the Heisman.  In fact, to many of them I was outright rude.  Yep.  I was that girl.  Nice, huh?  My goal was to work out and then get out.

My goal now is still the same, but my attitude is much different.  When I went to Pure Austin with my friend, Jane, I was far more aware of my surroundings than I have ever been.  As I was looking around, I noticed a lot of guys there working out too (I know, I know.  Big surprise!).  It made me ask myself, why wouldn’t this be a great place to meet a nice guy?  Then, I remembered all of the men who had tried to talk with me and I didn’t give them the time of day.  The reality is the gym is a great place to meet a nice guy!

So, this ends up being a Hot Spot and Relationship Tip rolled into one.  The Hot Spot is:  ladies, join your local gym and go work out there.  Although I love the place and know a ton of great guys who work out there (hint, hint), it doesn’t have to be Pure Austin.  If you don’t already have a gym membership, pick one that’s convenient to either your home or office (except a place like Curves that’s for women only).  Then, go.

The Relationship Tip is:  be approachable.  Actually, I already wrote about this (see Relationship Tip #6).  I’m taking my own advice, by the way, but that’s a post for another day.

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