Dating Disasters: A Success Story

Last Monday, I did a guest post with Stacy Green called Avoiding Dating Disasters. This is a topic especially dear to my heart, since the first fifteen years of my dating life seemed like one long disaster.

Still, great things usually come from great failures. As our Jedi Master pal Kristen Lamb says, Failure Is The Forge of Excellence. I met my hubby and things ended up fine in the end, but GOD it was a long haul!

Last week at Stacy’s blog we discussed the big question asked by Singles: Where Do You Find Your Soul Mate?

The best answer we’ve come up with is “stop looking.” Seriously, don’t hit me. All the newly-marrieds I’ve talked to agree: QUIT that frantic searching. Stay put and take time to celebrate you. (We gave tips on Stacy’s blog.)

To sum up:
Put your energy into being the best “you” there is and your soul mate will home in on you like a beacon. Love is not a fixer-upper. Soul mates love you and, best of all, they “get” you. The catch is that you’ve got to love yourself first in order for your one-and-only to find you.

A few of you asked for my story, so I’m sharing it below. Enjoy. I can’t wait to see the comments section.🙂

I had an amazing mother but she didn’t know a thing about dating. At about 27 years-old, I became friends with a gal who clued me in that I was “doing it all wrong.” Like this was a big surprise to anyone at that point.

I started mending my ways but it took time. Obviously, with a Romance Record like mine, my gal-pals are patient. On my 35th birthday, as I bemoaned the wasteland of my love life and the biological clock that was hurtling me with G-force toward menopausem my three best girlfriends all told me the same thing. I needed a better system.

The verdict after much haggling? I needed to date by committee.

The initial plan was Speed Dating. I’d meet maximum numbers of men (10-15 in an evening) with minimum effort (I just had to sit and talk to them each for 3-5 minutes). Those were my kind of numbers! In sales terms, I was taking the fast track to build the dating pipeline.

The Dating Committee encouraged me to date as many of these prospects as possible with one caveat: a person on the Committee had to meet them before (1) any significant physical contact, defined as anything past a good-night kiss outside the vehicle I was driving home or (2) by the third date…whichever came first.

The Speed Dating was fun but exhausting – I often had as many as four “first dates” in one week (I don’t recommend it). Though many of the men were nice enough, not a single one of them tempted me to present them to the three gals on The Committee.

My BFF’s began to suspect that Secret Dating was occurring but, really, when you’ve got the Dating Police Force managing your life, your standards about who’s a potential third date rise in a huge hurry.

One night in April, 2004 I was coerced out on the town with a Committee member (Mary), her husband and another couple. A few bars in, Mary and I hit the dance floor. A dark haired man with stunning blue eyes bopped up to us. “Can I join you ladies?” he asked, bobbing his head to the music.

What do you say to that? (Especially when the man can’t dance worth a damn.) I admired his nerve and smiled. When the song ended, Mary drifted off and I followed Mr. Blue Eyes, whose name was Steve, back to his seat at the bar where we began whole “getting to know you” Dance of Singles.

This was helped along by Mary who zoomed up a while later and elbowed me out of the way so she could exercise her Committee Rights.

She held out her hand in introduction. “Hi, I’m her girlfriend Mary. How are you?” And she proceeded to pepper poor Steve (my future husband) with questions:

“What do you do? Oh, a Computer Guy! Uh-huh. Great! Jen works in computers!
Where do you live? Oh, Newport Beach…close by…Great!
How old are you? Forty-four? (She gave him a suspicious stare.)
Have you ever been married?
Really…did you have any kids? No? Hmmm. Well do you WANT to have kids?

(I tried to slink off right about this time but Mary trains dogs for a living and she’s got a grip like a pit bull.)

How do you feel about pets? Oh, you’re afraid of dogs? Well, cause she has a dog, but Hoshi’s a really nice dog. She really likes men – Hoshi, not Jen…well, I mean Jen likes men too. Anyway, you guys will do great!

What kind of dog? An Akita.”

At the end of this conversation, she gave me thumbs up (right in front of him) and sashayed off. I’m sure she went back to her husband Mike, who loves good gossip, to share the news that “Jen-Pooh was talking to Dance-Floor Guy who stood up to the Inquisition.”

I gave Steve a pained smile and we continued talking until eventually, he asked if he could have my number.

When the bar closed, the six of us piled into a car to return everyone to their respective vehicles. I was squished in the back seat between Mike on my left and Steve on my right. Mary and another gal were sharing the front seat while the other gal’s dude drove.

Steve was cabbing it that evening so we offered to drive him home. As he directed us up to the gates of a glitzy Newport apartment complex, my heart sank. I’d been to several parties here and had seen nothing but pretentious men at every single gathering.

“Why do you live here?” I blurted it out, then moaned silently that I actually said that out loud.

Steve didn’t even hesitate. “My parents are getting older and I like to live close to them.”

“Ohhhhh!” the two ladies in the front seat sighed.

Steve got out of the car and shut the door. I turned back from watching him walk away and found Mike staring at me like something he’d stepped in at the dog park.

Why do you live HERE? You had it in the bag, and you say ‘why do you live here?’” He threw up his hands. “He is never going to call you!”

Well, it took him almost a week, but he did call and we did arrange our first date. Three years later we got married and we’re coming up on five years of marriage. The big secret to our success is (wait for it…): I DIDN’T PICK HIM.

My Picker has been proven flawed.

I just didn’t run away when he picked ME. And I trusted the opinions of my Committee, my family and my beloved dog (who fell for him like a ton of bricks). They kept me from bolting in the beginning until, gradually, I recognized him as the One.

The other half of my profile picture!

About a year later we were discussing with a single friend that she needed to raise her dating standards. She asked about mine and Steve laughed and said “Jen’s bar was set so low, all I had to do was just roll over it.”

So whenever we discuss dating disasters, you can feel comfortable that the Queen of Dating Don’ts (that would be ME) is giving you the straight scoop.

Out of curiosity, for those of you who are in a happy long-term relationship…how did you meet, and who picked who? If you’re single, are you dating? Do you love the dating process or hate it like poison? Enquiring minds always want to know these things here at More Cowbell!

Happy Monday, y’all!
Jenny

ANNOUNCEMENT: Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post – we’re doing something out of the ordinary for our Tuesday and it involves a give-away!

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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24 Responses to Dating Disasters: A Success Story

  1. I always hated dating, because I was always shy about asking a woman out. My wife and I met through an outfit called “Great Expectations” – a non-internet predecessor to Ask.com, etc.

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I’ve always thought that would be the roughest part of being a man. My honey was a shy guy back in the day so he was a late bloomer, but he sure was cheeky by the time he got to me!

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  2. K.B. Owen says:

    Jenny, I LOVED your dating story – so sweet and funny! He looks like a fab guy. Now I know why your head’s tilted in that profile pic, lol. I thought it was a California gal thing.🙂

    Can you believe that hubs and I met through his former wife?! I was friends with her, she and her ex had split on a cordial basis, and she arranged a beach party for a whole bunch of folks. We were all paired up, no one was trying to do any match-making, but the two of us gravitated toward each other immediately (good thing I wasn’t actually dating the guy who came along with me, poor fella, and neither was Paul with the gal he was paired up with, because we promptly ignored everyone else). It’s funny what you said about stop looking/trying: that’s when it happened for me. I had recently decided to just be myself, have fun, and let whatever happen as it would. When you relax and be open to things, the cosmos/God/Higher Power can shower you with blessings, don’t you think?

    Thanks for sharing!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      You are welcome, Kathy. I promise you, the head tilt had nothing to do with California and everything to do with my honey’s shoulder.🙂

      That is so cute about you and Paul! I hear all the time about exes introducing their spouses to new people. Plus, if you look at the comments here from all the married people, they all say the same thing: stop looking.

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  3. Nancy J Nicholson says:

    Jenny, I love your advice of stop looking. It really worked for me. I met dh by a mutual friend. I made all the mistakes and he got scared, dumped me, none too gracefully, then six months later we had our second first date. One call per week, one date per weekend for over 12 months. Almost three years to the date we were married and have been for sixteen years.

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  4. You are THE best storyteller. Those Dating Committee gals were awesome! There’s nothing better than good friends and it sounds like you have some fine ones. When you relax and stop searching, what should happen usually does. I met my husband through BFFs too.

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  5. Wow, you have great friends Jenny! I am so happy for you. You deserved someone like Steve.

    I am a believer in waiting for that right person to come into your life rather than forcing the issue. I’ve known too many people who’ve married the wrong person and tried desperately to make it work.

    I married my husband right out of high school. It’s scary to think back now on how young we were. Were we crazy? But somehow we just knew that we were the right people for one another and it’s worked. We grew up together and are soul mates.

    Honestly, it scares me to death to think about what others have gone through to find Mr. or Mrs. Right. I don’t think that I could do it. Thank you for sharing this Jenny. I hope you’re feeling better too.🙂

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  6. timlobrien says:

    Several years ago I found myself back in the “dating game” and man, it sucked. It was a very awkward thing to be doing again at an older age, it was if you forget how to date. It seemed the rules had changed and there was no new manual to read. I tried getting back out there but a nagging feeling inside didn’t feel comfortable with it. I just stayed home, focused my attention on my children and made them the sole focus. Once I stopped looking I found what I was looking for. We dated for three years and have now been married for close to two year!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Well, we commiserated over this with the sexting post – the rules absolutely change! It’s unbelievable how often. And congrats to you…you’re still a newlywed, you know…

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  7. Aww….

    I didn’t pick That Man either. He definitely picked me🙂 We met on a blind date. Talk about putting your faith in your family, LOL. Both my BIL and my “brother” worked with My Guy, one thought he be perfect for me, the other not so much. Not sure how they came to an agreement, but BIL ended up setting the date up. I was just going to humor them. To say BIL and I are on opposite ends of the taste spectrum is an understatement.

    He was so shy at first it was kinda cute. The date ended well enough I invited him to a business dinner later that day (so I guess we had two dates in one). He surprised me the next day by sending me flowers at work. Had to see him at least one more time after that, right?

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  8. Stacy Green says:

    What a great story, Jenny! I didn’t pick my husband, either. He came looking for me…twice;) We’ve been through a lot together, and most of my friends and family didn’t expect us to last, but we’re going on 13 years.

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  9. What a fantabulous story Jenny and I totally dig the dating committee – you’ve got some uberlicious friends there!! And it’s so true that when you think you are going to have to run guys past your friends, all of a sudden your standards seem to rise (something many of my single gal pals could stand to do!)
    My experience was similar to yours. I had a wreckage of bad relationships behind me when I married my first husband. Two years later, I left knowing I had made yet again, another fatal effort in my desperate quest to find the one. After my separation and divorce, more inept disasters until I finally had an epiphany. Until I was truly happy with myself and in love with myself, I would never stand a chance at having the relationship I was looking for. And the only way I was going to get there was to invest in myself so I took a year and purposely choose to not date. I learned to date myself. And it was glorious!
    When hubby found me (yes…he found me) at a mutual friend’s wedding, I had set some pretty high standards. He came with rave reviews from everyone who knew him and he jumped through every single hoop I put in front of him. He won me over, earned my love, showed me what it was to finally let go and trust someone. Now I can’t imagine my world without him.
    I think the key to finding love and your true mate in life is to A) love yourself and be happy alone and on your own and B) to not be willing to settle for anything less that your dream come true!
    Can’t wait for tomorrow…eeeeekkkkeee…I love give-aways!🙂

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  10. Julie Glover says:

    Definitely stop looking. I met my husband at a time when I definitely was not looking. My story is that I graduated from college and wanted to live elsewhere. Having no job and no obligations, I threw everything into my Toyota Corolla and moved to Albuquerque, NM with only a hotel reservation. I knew NO ONE in the city; I had chosen the location because of its scenery, population, job prospects, and cost of living. Three weeks later, I had an apartment and a job and went to a church singles devotional. At the event, I saw a guy who looked familiar. After chatting for a few minutes, we realized that we lived in the same apartment complex…next door to each other. He started inviting me over to watch television with him (I had no TV set at that time), and a romance was born. Eight months later, we said “I do” and we indeed have for almost 19 years.

    I have put it as “If you want to find Mr. Right, work on becoming Mrs. Right.” Great advice, Jenny!

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  11. Love, love, love, love, LOVE ‘How We Met’ stories! Great post – had me giggling and saying “awwww….” a lot. 🙂

    The hubster and I have been married for over 12 years. He definitely picked me. And I made him work for it (insert sheepish grin here). So glad he’s a patient man! ❤

    Thanks for such a fun, sweet post.

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  12. “Jen’s bar was set so low, all I had to do was just roll over it.” Awesome, awesome line!! I love stories like this! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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  13. I met Hubs 2 months after separating from my first husband! I was a girl looking for fun…nothing serious, yet here comes the man of my dreams, ruining everything for me! 9+ years later this Sagittarius/Scorpio duo is still going strong!

    (For those not familiar ~ Sags & Scorpios are known for being a VERY hot combo…but their fire typically burns out fairly quickly. Lucky for me, we’re both pretty stubborn lol)

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  15. Jane Sadek says:

    The whole “quit looking” thing is so true. I think when you give up on dating and just focus on what you are interested in, it makes you more interesting to others. I found my husband at a museum where I devotedly volunteered – it was a cheap way to have something to do instead of sit at home and read. He was actually fascinated by someone who divided themselves between work, family, church and the museum. So quit looking, he’ll find you.

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