Around this time last year, I was asked out on date by a dude on Tinder, who’s caption read, “It’s getting cold outside. Looking for a girlfriend for the winter.” True story.
A girl with my dating track record really had nothing to lose.
I had JUST relocated to Michigan for a few months to work on a music project. I had no social life outside of my family. I’d just ended an 8 month turbulent relationship. Detroit was frozen over and there weren’t enough bulky sweaters or Ugg boots to keep me warm. I was the perfect candidate for Tinder.
I arrived 40 minutes late to my first date with Jon.
He was just relieved I showed up and that I wasn’t a dude.
It was a pleasant night, especially considering I had low expectations. Tinder does that to you. Well, no, dating does that to you, ha. We had dinner and drinks and walked to a local vodka distillery in the freezing cold. When the night was over, there was a hug goodnight and we drove to our separate homes.
When he followed up the next day to make plans for a 2nd date, I won’t lie, I hesitated. The whole “seeing someone” thing did not appeal to me. Been there, done that, caught on fire one too many times. I’m good…I’m only looking for attention.
I know I’m too much. I’m loud and unfiltered, exceptionally weird as shit AND I work in music. I like to bare my midriff and bar hop any day of the week. I casually “date” and own (laugh at) every single dramatic/scandalous/entertaining story that comes with that. I’m independent, I don’t know how to communicate through any vessel other than sarcasm and I’m too tired to give a shit about guys anymore. The few guys I ever actually called a boyfriend ultimately ended up royally mind-@#*!ing me and inspiring my entire songwriting catalog.
And yet, there I was in November of 2015…600 miles away from those disasters. Those stories. Those bars, that scene, those exes. I’m older now, it’s starting to feel less cute. I’m also in a completely different part of the country now. So what was going to be my excuse? Did I want the path of destruction to run north and south…Or did I want to do it differently…Am I really not going to go out with this guy a few more times because of who I’ve been 600 miles south? I was off the hamster wheel. I was in Michigan. No hamsters live through Michigan winters.
I’m not going to say I gave Jon a chance. Because in all honesty, it wasn’t HIM that I was doubting at all. It was me. So I will say that from our 2nd date on…I gave MYSELF a chance. I gave myself a chance to prove false whatever self-defeating thoughts I’d be carrying around in my head and in my heart that I couldn’t be/didn’t want to be “the relationship type”.
And it truly was a process.
It’s a process to unlearn all the self-sabotaging thoughts/feelings/behaviors. You can’t silence that inner voice as quickly as you’d like to. We’d be out to dinner and he’d compliment me, only for me to roll my eyes or make a stupid face and say, “Yeah, ok.” I’d say that happened for the first 3-4 months, easily. And every time he’d say, “I’m just going to keep saying it until you start to believe it.” Seriously, what is wrong with this guy? He’d do thoughtful gestures like put gas in my car or surprise me with flowers or buy/ship me a Tempur Pedic pillow when I was out of town, and at least half the time I’d say, “Why’d you do that? You don’t have to do that.” Like, he was trying too hard or something. Or even worse, he just doesn’t reeeeallllly know me yet. Because once he does, this shit will stop. We’ll both be swiping again soon enough. Luckily, none of that was true.
Aside from the nice dinners or the thoughtful gifts or the sweet compliments, I was in awe of his patience more than anything. And I still am. I know I’m not easy. I’m still learning.
Jon set the stage for me to look at myself in a way I never had before. Kind of like “Pretty Woman” only minus the getting paid for sex part. He gave me an opportunity to be a woman truly worth pursuing…the way my mom, my dad, my grandma always hoped a man would win me over. And let’s be honest here, they’d all just about given up hope, ha. I don’t blame them though. They knew what I’d put myself through in the past. He showed me that it’s okay to want these things. It’s okay to think of myself as worthy and deserving of a mountain-moving love.
All the things I used to deem cheesy or unrealistic about being in a relationship were deemed so because I’d never felt it before. I thought I didn’t want it because I didn’t know it. So I never hoped for it, I never held out for it, I never asked for it. I talked myself out of it long before any guy would end up disappointing me.
And Jon just gave his all. Without question. And continues to do so.
Not only did he expose me to new way to love…but he exposed me to his larger-than-life (borderline creepy) obsession with his bulldog, Stella, his ridiculous ‘if Danny Tanner were trying to seduce you’ dance moves, his grumpy old man opinions on everything from music to politics, he closet full of nothing more than plaid shirts and blue hoodies, his sappy and sensitive feelings when he’s had more than 3 IPAs, his super intense foot rubs, his awkward story/joke delivery, and a million other things that I whole-heartedly love.
Who would have thought that after a decade of dating in Music City, I’d wind up with a car dealer in Michigan… Not I, that’s for sure. But somehow, somewhere our stories blended perfectly. And shit, we just stood side by side for last 365 days creating a new one.
I’ll drink to that.