We get it...dating can be hard. Especially when you've ended things with the person you thought was 'The One' or went on another bad date. But we're here to spread some hope and optimism as we chat with Meredith about how she's been able to enjoy dating in her 30's and thrive being single after a brutal breakup. We discuss how detrimental breakups can be the catalyst for growth, how to actually enjoy the process of dating (even on the apps), and why personal growth is the most important gift you can give yourself.
Trigger Warning: We discuss cheating
Follow Meredith at @meredithtx
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S15E2: The Secret to Enjoying Dating
00:00:01 - 00:05:16
The dateable podcast is an insider's look into modern dating that The Huffington Post calls one of the top ten podcasts about love and sex. On each episode, we'll talk to real daters about everything from sex parties to sex droughts, date fails to diaper fetishes and first moves to first loves. I'm your host UA Shu, former dating coach turned dating sociologist. You also hear from my co host and producer Julie Kraft chick as we explore this crazy dateable world. Hey Friends, welcome to another episode of the date of podcast. Season 15, episode two. We're going. We're rolling along. I know this isn't necessarily one of our number one okay, I don't want to say that. She is our number one fan, but my sister in law did reach out to me and said that we are content pumping Rashid that she is so oppressed by how much content we put out into the world. It can not wait to listen to season 50. I surely feel that way. I feel like there's not a day that goes by without us creating some sort of content. We're content creators as they would say in 2000 industry. In today's world, yes. It's a really fun place to be right now. I have to admit to actually have a space for content creation that never used to be a career path or even a respectable career path and now here we are amongst the YouTubers, the vloggers, the TikTokers, we're the podcasters, and it's a very happy that we can realize these creative dreams of ours. Yes, I was listening to a podcast. This is so meta. Let's use your podcast about podcasting. And you're not just a podcaster, but you are a voice. And I think that is one of the things that I love the most about podcasting is that it gives us a voice and UA, I feel like our mission has changed over time. When we first started, we were just freaking flat out confused about dating. That's clearly was our motivation. But I feel like now we're kind of like enough is enough. We need to help the movement to end. Yes. Why modern dating sucks so bad? Basically save modern dating. I feel like that is our mission is how do we start to save modern dating that doesn't become this dreadful thing that people don't partake in. And ultimately doesn't give them the love lives that they truly do want. And go back to the word deserve, but I do believe everyone deserves happiness. And it's so unfortunate that we hear all these stories of just how derailed it discourage people are. So I'm so happy this episode feels like such a breath of fresh air to help move towards that mission. We love our guests Meredith. We became friends on Instagram, so I guess in today's time you just call that a friend, you know, even if you've never met IRL, but we've interacted with her quite a bit on Instagram and saw the content that she was putting out and was like, yes girl, we are on board with this. She single, thriving, enjoying life, but reflecting on the topics we talk about here on dateable. And so we thought it would be cool to reach out to her and see if she can talk about her dating experience at a time when we were looking for a first line data reporter. So they could tell us on the front lines of what are they doing when they're dating? Yeah, we have this idea of having this data. But I feel like it wasn't a fully baked idea. It still isn't. Basically, that's what we do. Meredith reached out. It was like, I would love to be that data. And we decided to do a phone call, I did a screen or call with her, and I immediately texted you a that this girl is freaking amazing. And I'm still not really sure what we're doing with this data, but we should just get her all the podcast to the B time until we figured it out. The heart energy reminds me of Cheryl's episode just saying yes. Very similar vibe and I think I believe whoever listens to this episode you're going to walk away just inspired and optimistic, something I've been thinking about recently is there's so much bad dating behavior because we normalize it. We give terms to it, the media loves covering it, fucking like west elm Caleb was all over the news, but someone who's actually doing something good in dating never makes the news, right? So I was thinking about positive reinforcement. How can we encourage daters to have more positive dating behavior and with dogs, you give a treat, but with humans, we love recognition and acknowledgment. So this idea that I was playing around with is, can we give them some sort of dateable badge, or if you find someone doing something great in dating, we send them an email or texting, congrats, your data, or something like that. There's privacy issues because you can't be giving out people's phone numbers or emails, but help us brainstorm. What could this look like where we can help facilitate rewarding good dating behavior so we get that positive reinforcement? I love this and I really do believe that is part of the problem of why there's this perception that dating sucks in this perpetual misery that comes with it because all these dating terms are just so negative.
00:05:16 - 00:10:02
It's all the behavior you don't want to happen, ghosting, roaching, fried crumbing, zombie, the list goes on and on. I think broaching still sticks out to me as the worst. But the worst. All the stuff though, it's never the positives, or if there is a positive word, it doesn't stick. And I get it. Sometimes misery loves company, but I really do believe to save modern dating. We need to focus on the positive. I love in this episode, the way Meredith frames it, she definitely has not had the easiest dating life, nor has anyone, but instead of just getting discouraged, she looks at dating as growth. And it's so important because sometimes we think that other people just got a better hand than us. And that's the victim mentality, but she just takes ownership and she makes the path that works for her. And enjoys the process. And I think that's so essential. It doesn't mean that every day is going to be rainbows and butterflies. I'm sure there's going to be days that are going to be hard. But the more we dwell on the negative, the more that just perpetuates. It related to that, if he has a challenge for all of you who are dating right now, this is for you. So if you're driving just listen carefully, don't hit anybody. But this is for you. Listen up. So many of you talk about how on first dates or second dates, you just talk shit about dating with the other person. You share experiences of bad dating behavior, you trauma dump on each other, and then you come out and say, oh, we have so much in common. We've had the same bad experiences online dating. It's a very cathartic feeling to share that misery like we were talking about. But it's also super draining. Can you imagine just talking about all the shit that's happened to you with someone else who's also had the same shit happen to them? What is the point of that? So next time you're on a date, if you end up going down that topic, just stop it. Just stop it. Say, you know what? We've all experienced bad dating behavior, but I truly believe that there's good dating behavior out there and it starts right now. So we're going to end that conversation about bad dating. I love that. And we say that there are no rules of dating, but I do believe the one rule should be to never talk about how bad data is. Yes. Yes. And stop just talking about your dating experiences with other people on a first date. You're there with someone. You're there to connect with that person. Yes. I remember before I bet my partner, I had one of the worst dates I've ever had. I remember him asking me that if to go back to his house and I had to use the bathroom and I still was like, because I'd rather be my pants. Spend any more time with you. But he basically spent the whole time talking about just how bad dating was. And then went into his ex and how bad their relationship was and how there are sex life was bad and how their money situation bad. I'm like, I do not need to know any of this. And you have not asked me any questions about me in connecting with me. Why would that be a good date? The worst state you could possibly have. Yet so many people are having that date. It's just a default. It's easy to fall on. It's when you're fucking lazy. You can talk about the things that are top of mind. But if you're on a date, can you be more, can we be more mindful? And think about, is this conversation draining or energizing? And if it's any ounce of draining, just stop the conversation. It's not going to get any more energizing. When you get to that drained topic. So let's just regroup for a sec, all of our data is out there. If you are listening to dateable, we know you're part of the crew. And if you're part of the crew, you know you're not going to be part of this behavior. So no more trauma dumping on bad dating behavior on first dates. And no more these negative talks about other dating experiences. It doesn't serve your current date or interaction. No, and we talk about with Meredith. If something's not serving you, just move on. There's no need to get that energy of how miserable it is. And it's easy. I get it. I've definitely been there that you can just love to bitch with your Friends and you love to complain about things, especially if it's not going your way. But I remember being like, I actually shouldn't be talking about dating with this friend anymore. Yes. Because I leave feeling de energized. I feel leaving depressed about the situation. And that's not good energy to break into a date. Yes. When Julie and I are out in the wild and people find out that we do a dating podcast. The first thing they always want to do is tell us a dating story and it's always a bad dating story whether them or a friend. And we tend to just kind of not respond to that. Yeah, you can tell the story, but what is a purpose that you're serving here? We much rather for you to come up and say, oh, you do a dating podcast.
00:10:02 - 00:15:03
Yeah, I dated someone who was so wonderful, and this is what they did. You know, tall is about the good stuff. We already know about the bad stuff. You don't need to tell us that anymore. No more reminders of that. Why is it that we're always drawn to the bad? It's so crazy. What do you think about? And when you're drawn to the bad, you start looking for the bad and the bad becomes part of your narrative. And then that becomes part of your story. And then you're like, oh, I'm doing it for the story. Then every day you go on, all you want is for it to go bad so you can go home and tell your Friends what happened. So what of our pet peeves for, now we're just like arrogant. I guess this is maybe that. Yeah, let's go. Let's go. I did get this off my chest. This would bother me for a while. Please. The word red flag really bad for me. And I get where it's coming from. I'm not saying that you should ignore any sign of someone being a bad partner for you. Absolutely not. But the way red flag is used is that everyone's like, oh, they ate for a second with their mouth open, red flag. They were a band shirt from ten years ago. Red flag. It gets not things that matter at all. It's just humans being humans. And I guarantee we all have red flags, and UA and I have been like, it's always like the game capture the flag that people are just constantly trying to go out there and capture that red flag. Yeah, think about this. Have you ever been at work and you work on a deck or something for your boss to review? All your boss's job is to give comments and feedback. And they're looking for flaws, right? Yeah. That's what this red flag search is all about. All you're doing is looking for places where you can give feedback and give criticism. That's not dating. You're not dating someone who's your boss, you're not handing over some work to them to review? Can we accept people for who they are and instead of looking for all the flaws? Because you wouldn't want someone to do that to you, sitting there and be like, what are her red flags? How about we just look for the human connection? There's just basic human connection and it has no value to it. It's not positive or negative. It's a connection. I also feel like we make so many assumptions on red flags based on people's relationship history. And there's so many reasons why someone made a decision or got to the place that they got to. That may or may not be just because it's not your experience, doesn't mean it's bad or it's wrong. So I feel like we're finding red flags and things that just don't match what we are, but that's basically the opposite of connecting with another human being. In learning to grow and see things in a different way, this red flag hunt has got to stop. Yes, yes, stop, stop capture the red flags. Stop playing that game. It's not fun. It's not serving you. It's not doing anybody any good. But listen to this episode because this episode with Meredith, well, absolutely uplift you and make you feel more optimistic, not just about dating, but also about life, just saying her name Meredith makes me happy. It makes me smile. So hopefully this episode will do the same for you after you're done. Yeah, I remember the whole time I was thinking who could we set her up with? I know. Which honestly, you know, when we have guests that talk about just how dismal dating is, or people that we've talked to in our community, that isn't what's going through your mind. So there is something really important of putting out that energy because your energy leaks through on every day. Absolutely. Oh, a 1000%. I hate it, I capture the flag in elementary school. And I hate it now. That came as such a bad cottage. And it continues to with red flags. Did you like dodgeball? I like dodgeball better than red flag. Oh, sorry, red flags. All better than capture the flag. Why? Capture the flag. Oh my God, I think there's so many things. I just felt like I was forced to play capture the flag. So many times. And then I was a camp counselor and the guy that was in charge like purposely put us all on activities. We didn't want to do. So I requested arts and crafts and water related stuff and he basically put me on capture the flag every time. Oh, fuck him. He's a red flag. I always thought dodgeball was too violent. Yeah. Scared me. It hurt me. Fun fact actually while we're all this topic is so off topic that I actually got fired for being a cab counselor. Did I ever tell you this? Obviously not this girl in my bunk. And I honestly don't even remember. I wouldn't say a two for privacy reasons, but I don't even remember what it was, but she came to me in secrecy about something that was going on with her body and I went to the nurse and the same guy that made me be on capture the flag demanded that I told him. And I refused to tell him because he is not it's a privacy thing and he was like a man and it wasn't who she would want to tell and then I got fired for not telling him.
00:15:03 - 00:20:01
Okay. And I stand by that. I stand by my decision 25 years later or whatever it was. Have you looked up the sky recently? Well, I do remember his name. I won't say much. You should look at the cap is probably what's happening. It's still firing teenagers. Yeah, I'm still proud of being fired for that job. And as someone that does what we do now and reserving secrecy, especially when it comes to matters of the body, the female body, the absolutely go fuck yourself. Yes, go integrity. I guess I feel like we've talked so much about what's to come. So we might as well just get into the episode. But before we do quick announcements at dateable podcast, that's our Instagram TikTok. You can find us on all the socials and love at the time of Corona is the data Facebook group. So join us there. Make sure to subscribe and to also listen on Sundays for brunch talk. We've gotten some really good feedback on the brunch talk episodes, so we will continue doing that if you have a question that you want answered, feel free to DM us on Instagram or hello at dateable podcast dot com. Yes. Okay, before we get into it, let's hear a message from our sponsors. This episode is brought to you by aurelia. We are excited to pamper ourselves with some high quality lingerie. Yay. Oh my God, I could not wait to open my box. I know. Well, aurelia is a premium curated lingerie and sleepwear subscription box with 100% 5 out of 5 client ratings. Yeah, and I love that you filled out a style quiz about your sizes and preferences. And then a dedicated stylus curated two to three pieces of lingerie or sleepwear per box. How fun is it having beautiful lingerie delivered to your doorstep? And I'm loving everything in my box, so it's hard for me to choose a favorite piece. I don't know about you. Same, but I am gravitating to this lace brawn underwear set that's black that's sexy, but also comfortable. Comfort is key the set I'm wearing at night now. It's this floral cami and short set. It's very light. It's perfect for the summer, and it is, oh my God, comfortable. It's shipping's free for the U.S., UK, and Canada, not to mention aurelia is owned by a beautiful and fabulous woman of color. For a limited time, dateable listeners get 10% off their first monthly or seasonal box. Yes, just enter the code dateable ten at checkout. Go to aurelia box dot com that's aurelia, AUR, IA box dot com and enter the code dateable ten for 10% off. This episode is made possible by the unmatch makers, a book by Jackie Lau, from the author of donut fall in love comes a perfect summer love story set in the forest at Paradise of Canadian cottage country. The ask the question can love beat the odds when the odds are two mothers dead set against it. Here's a quick synopsis as told by the protagonist. You think my mother will be trying to set me up with the architect Neil Choi, the unmarried son of her best friend. But you'd be wrong, my single mother has always been fiercely independent, since I was a small child, she always told me not to believe in fairytales and that I don't need a man, so she's failed to mention that Neil is a total haughty and glasses. When I see him for the first time in a decade on a multi-family cottage vacation, I'm in for quite a shock, even though my mind is spinning romantic fantasies, I'm not entirely sure how he feels and I'm afraid that if anything happens between us, he'll screw up the friendship between our staunchly anti relationship mothers, especially since they've been acting increasingly weird since we arrived. In fact, I think they're trying to sabotage my love life and I'm starting to worry that I won't make it through this bizarre summer vacation. You could read or listen to the unmatch makers by Jackie Lau at kobo dot com that spelled kop or wherever books are sold. Okay, let's hear it from Meredith. A few months ago, we asked for some resident daters who are in the thick of dating to do some reporting from the sidelines, if you will, because both Julie and I are no longer in the dating scene. And there it was basically the first two raise your hand and say, I'll do it. I'll be your resident dater. We're still figuring out what that looks like, but we figure let's just give Meredith on the show and talk about dating since this is a dating podcast anyway. And here we are, our Instagram friend Meredith. How are you? Thank you. Hi, thank you for having me. I'm so excited that you said yes, because I have so many people on Instagram that want to talk about dating specifically in your 30s. And so I think this is a great forum. Awesome. I know it's always so fun to meet people behind the Instagram handle. You know that we've been interacting with for quite some time, so encourage others to also DM us like Meredith has. Yeah. And you're real too. We're all real people, just living, figuring this out.
00:20:01 - 00:25:04
We're all humans. So who is Meredith, she's 34 years old and lived in the inland empire here in California originally from Dallas. She's pretty single. I've been taking a dating sabbatical and actively going on dates. So you're doing both taking a deities sabbatical and going on dates. I said both because it depends on the week. Honestly, if I'm really busy, if I'm really busy with work, life is crazy or I've got a ton of other if I'm traveling, you know, sometimes I'm into it sometimes I'm not, but I really go week by week, you know, how do I want to spend my time this week? Is it dating? Is it not? And I just try to really check in with myself as to be where I'm at. So where are you at? Where are you at? I feel badly because when I messaged you, I had so many dates and right now it's a little bit quieter. So I'm in a little bit of a low. And that's okay. That's kind of how it is, right? Yeah, it takes so much time and so much energy and so much effort. And I really try to use my time wisely and check in with myself. And if I'm not showing up as my best self in the moment, then I know I need to take a pause, lean way into self care, do what I want to do, get myself into a place where I'm really feeling good. And open and wanting to get to know somebody. So that is one thing I wanted to just talk about of self care and preservation through the dating process because it can feel so daunting. But I actually really like dating. I really like getting to know people. I like the dating process. So I have to keep myself grounded and take care of myself so that it's still fun. I was gonna ask you that. You know, we talk about relationships. But how would you describe your relationship with modern dating? Love hate, I guess a lot of people think a lot of people use that, yeah. So I mean, the idea of living in a village a long time ago before you had access to online dating and you only had the options in your town of people who set you up. That sounds a little bit limiting to me. So while I know a lot of people romanticize about those old days for me, I mean, I work in corporate HR, so I'm used to recruiting and volume and staffing. And so I see the benefit of the number, you just get exposed to more people that are outside of your normal circle. So I love that aspect of it. I hate the fact that it's starting to make people and I have done it to other people sometimes feel disposable. And that is something that I think about a lot. You know, I have ghosted people. I try not to and I've gotten a lot better about giving feedback. I give feedback at the end of a date right away. I don't want to have that pit in my stomach and I don't want anyone else to have that pit in their stomach. So if I'm not feeling it, I just say it. Right away. Yes, I say this was really fun. I enjoyed getting to meet you, but I don't think I'm going to want to take this any further. And if they ask why I tell them why, I don't want this second guessing in this wondering or the awkwardness of me, how do I respond to their text the next day? I just say it. How do you make it sound so simple? You truly are a recruiter. You're like, we won't be moving forward to the next round. And so that's probably my problem. Like if you guys were gonna diagnose me today like a recruiter. You would say, hey, you know, Meredith, you got to get out of your HR recruiter mode and you've got to just let some things happen and not control everything so quickly. So that's something that I'm personally working on. I have a therapist that I work with and I just think, you know, I have a lot of amazing skill set for work that does translate into dating a lot but sometimes it's too much and I need to turn it off the fact that you're even aware in the first place is the first step, right? Exactly. And maybe sometimes that there's nothing wrong with that because closing the loop is a good thing instead of leaving people hanging, but maybe taking some of the corporateness out of dating would be good. I would love to know when was your last relationship? My last relationship was in 20 19 in Dallas. Okay. And how long was that relationship for? It was one of those on and off, but it was for about a year and a half. We've all had one of those, haven't we? I wouldn't do it again. Don't recommend, but for me, it was a great part when I think about relationships and dating history as far as growth and what I learned from it. I was dating somebody who was very recently divorced and dealing with that and there was a child involved and I'm single, never divorced, no kids, you know, I have a cat and I have a lot of hair products and a lot of shoes, but other than that, I bring a different amount of things to the table. And I wasn't used to navigating and I wasn't comfortable navigating the every other weekend girlfriend. And that was really, really hard. I think there were some other complications after therapy related to that one that I've figured out, you know, related to just love languages and what are my needs and they just weren't being met. Something that you guys talked about recently, I don't remember which episode, but I remember hearing it and I was like, oh shoot, I think that's me. You talked about wanting to win and competitiveness. And I realized that I think in some relationships, I just wanted to win versus thinking, is this really the right person for me? Or do I just want them to want me? You and everyone else.
00:25:06 - 00:30:03
Have been we all been there. But so three years ago, in 2019, you were just starting your 30s, dating in your 30s. Yes. And at the top of this episode, you talked about, oh, I speak to a lot of people who are dating in their 30s. How has dating in your 30s been different than your 20s? Oh my gosh. Well, so I was in a relationship for a very long time in my 20s. So I was with one person from 21 to 27. So experienced a lot of firsts with that person was living in Boston. It was just a very different life. So I was sort of establishing who I was going to be as an adult. And as a 20 something young professional in a city, I was establishing myself with somebody, with somebody always in the back of my mind, always someone that I was thinking about. And I made a lot of choices, career wise, lifestyle wise, things that I don't think I would have done if I had known myself before I got so enmeshed in this relationship. So when that ended and it was painful and it was hard and it was brutal and required a lot of work to get through after. But once that was done, I realized, I don't ever want to feel this way again. I felt like I kind of lost myself. And a lot of people do that. And in any age, any relationship. But being single at 27 and saying, hey, I don't know anyone, anything, like this is my life and it's going to be, it's going to be up to me, how I spend my time and where I live and what I do and how much money I make and how much education I get. And this is all on me. It made me have a level of personal accountability that I don't think I ever took before. And I couldn't blame somebody else. So being in my 30s now in dating, I know who I am. I've tried on some different styles of dating. I've tried on some different things. I like to say I tasted the menu, you know? After being with one person for that long, I went out and was like, what could this be like? What would this be like? I'm just going to be really, really open and try different things. And that was really fun, and I recommend everybody go through that experience and doing it a little bit later in life. I kind of knew what was for me and what wasn't for me. Pretty quickly versus waiting 5 years. I definitely want to get into the tasting the menu. I'm going to side by that for now, because I want to go back there. We're not letting that slip away. Deal. I think it's interesting because I feel like you, you had a very similar experience too. And I'm the opposite. I definitely was a late Bluebird, did not put data before front in my 20s. It's all about finding myself. So very opposite. It's an interesting parallel that you two have. The fact that it's almost like you are doing what society tells you to do. You're going through the more traditional path, right? I guess like Meredith, from your perspective, if you could go back in time, would you do it the same way you did it, or do you feel like you would actually benefit more from being single earlier? If I could go back in time and I don't really believe in a regret, so I don't regret going through the experience and learning what I learned. But if I were talking to, let's say one of my nieces now who is kind of in this situation at a younger at a different point in life, I would just say that you don't have to do what your parents did and you don't have to do whatever you want around you and your church group did or your school did. You really can forge your own path and you're probably going to end up a lot happier than some of the people who maybe haven't or it just may not be for you. So you're going to end up a lot happier by trusting your gut. And if you know something's not right or something's not feeling right and you're not with a partner that can communicate and talk through it, then it's probably better to be single and explore. But growing up in Texas, people get married really young, people partner off very young. And so I was often Boston and I took a lot of my Texas values and the way I was raised to Boston and I really, and you talk about, I'm kind of a weird mix of the two of you, I think, because I was a late bloomer in that I went to an all girls high school, and then I went to a mostly gay college. I went to Emerson college where the phrase was gay by May or your money back. I mean, it was really, it was really liberal. And it was shocking. It was the place that my water that freeze is not, it's not on the website, but everybody knew it. Everybody was on the website. It's not the official tack line of you. That would be incredible. Every person who hears this, who went to Emerson would know that. That was just, you know, I went to be you and I am nodding my head. So you know I've heard it. You know. Exactly. Okay. So I was a late bloomer and I didn't really date a lot in high school. I was always in theater and I was always doing choir and I was just very busy with my friends and the only guys I knew were in theater and this weren't really an option. So I went to Boston and I was like, I want to kiss a boy and then I'm like, I want to date a boy. I want to be in a relationship and I made all of those things happen. And so working through what I talked about a little bit earlier about the competition and all of that, did I make this did I force this relationship into more of something than it really was? And was the person just willing to go along with it until he wasn't? You know, I've had a lot of time to reflect and think back to what were my pieces of that.
00:30:04 - 00:35:01
And I wasn't perfect. He really wasn't perfect, but when I first got out of that relationship, I had that blame and that victim mentality. I know that I went on some dates that I've probably blacked out, but you talk about sampling the menu. I went on some dates where I tried definitely trauma dumped. I definitely went what was me and here's my story and I got cheated on and this is what happened. And nobody wants to hear that when they want to date you. No man wants to hear that ever. Really? It's not a therapist. And so even back to the 2019 relationship, you know, I kind of high lined the top key points as we got more serious that he needed to know and kind of what I learned from that, but I never I haven't trauma dumped since and it just took me time and figuring out of, oh, this didn't land well. This didn't. You know, kind of like a stand up comedian. Like a Santa Cruz. Yeah, like, oh, this didn't land well. That didn't get the reaction. I wanted. I wonder why. So I want to talk about cheating. So I feel like cheating is a big one. How do you think, I mean, obviously cheating is never a fun experience. I don't think anyone will say that regardless of your stance on cheating. How do you think this impacted you moving out of this relationship in dating in the future? I it made it so hard. It made it really hard for me to trust anyone. It made me just doubt people's intentions. It also definitely hit my self esteem. So, you know, part of my whole Instagram journey, my Instagram is just my personal Instagram that I was posting on. I never had the intent of trying to make it something or become an influencer that wasn't even a word that was used when I was posting. So we're talking January of 2015 is when I move back to Dallas and I just wanted to figure myself out and kind of reclaim my life. But my confidence was at an all time low and I didn't I thought I was unworthy of love and unworthy of commitment and I mean things thoughts like that still creep in, but I've managed to find worth completely apart from anybody else's perspective of me or anyone else's time commitment and mirror investment in me. So that I've been able to work through, but it's still I mean, it's a deal breaker for me. It's not something that I can get over. It's because it comes down to trust. It's not even the act of the cheating. It's the trust and the relationship. When did the cheating happen? I don't really know when it started, but I found out about it in December of 2014. Okay, so this is the long-term boyfriend. Yes. Yes. So as far as I know, this is the only person who's ever cheated on me. I mean, that I'm confirmed of for sure. We'll say that. We'll put it that way, but yes, this is the long term. And was that what ended up that was it? Yeah, that was it for me. But you know, after a lot of therapy and time and spent journaling and traveling and working on myself, the end was in sight, the end had already been coming. There were a lot of indicators that I just either didn't want to pick up on or wasn't experienced in relationships to know that like this is more than somebody kind of acting out or being distant or there's something more here and I can't quite grasp it and I didn't know what it was. I had a friend who had recently experienced something like this and I was talking to her and I kind of thought we were maybe getting engaged. My parents were coming for Christmas. My brother and his wife had just gotten married, they're younger. Like I really thought maybe he's being weird 'cause he's getting engaged or we're getting engaged and he's just having all that emotion and maybe he's being distant because he got a part time job and he's saving up money for a ring. You know, my mom, my mom has had to tell me since I was a child, life is not a show. Life is not a play Meredith because I love theater and I grew up in the theater and I think, you know, we see these rom coms and we read these books and we have these unrealistic expectations and we make excuses for people and if I had cut it off way sooner and just said, hey, now I would just say, hey, you're acting really weird and consistency is really important to me and you're really inconsistent right now. You're coming home really late. You're not telling me who you're hanging out with. You're flaking on plans, and this is not okay with me. And then that would be it. But instead, it lasted for weeks and months and things that went on. And so the friend that had recently been cheated on, she said, hey, you may want to check your phone bill. And I never wanted to check and I never I really didn't doubt him. And I hadn't been looking at his stuff, like I really trusted him after that much time and investment, but I paid for the phone bill, and so I had the account. And so I logged on and I saw a ton of calls and text messages from a number that was out of state and I confronted him about it. Well, actually, my best friend at the time in Boston, she called the number for me on our lunch break. Oh my God. It was like a movie, right? We went downstairs where the John Hancock tower working. We went downstairs. She called the number and said, who's this? And the girl said, who's this? And I mean, she did it for me, 'cause I was shaking. I couldn't speak. I felt like I was going to puke. And he and I worked close by.
00:35:01 - 00:40:02
We worked a couple blocks away from each other. And so she said, you know, I'm dating this person and my friend said, well, he lives with somebody. He's in a relationship. And that was really it. I don't really remember. I kind of blacked out, but it was a short conversation. So she didn't know. I don't think so. I don't think so. From that conversation, I don't think so. They're married now. You know, maybe something amazing came out of it for them, but I told him to meet me in Copley square Plaza and we sat down. I said, you need to meet me right now. And we sat down and I said, what is this? This is what I know. What is happening? And he said, I haven't decided yet. I'll never forget that. And he said, I haven't decided what I want to do. Not apologize. It's not really he looked at his choice. And I said, I'll make it really easy for you. And this is a girl who is who is broken and upset and trying to figure out we live together. Like, what am I going to do? We had a dog and a cat and we had travel plans and, you know, I thought we were going to get married. But when he said that, I didn't even think about it. The first thing I said was I'll make it really easy for you. I'm not an option. So go be with her. And he did. I mean, I think that this is living proof. I mean, we're obviously seeing you in your seem so happy and vibrant. You can come back to really hard situations. Totally. You totally can. And that's probably what a lot of women message me about. And I'm careful I don't want to make that my narrative forever going forward. That was so long ago at this point. I've really moved on, but I have people that are just now getting divorced and maybe they're in their 30s or 40s or going through a significant breakup. And it kind of felt like a divorce, our lives were very much intertwined. So I can really relate to that woman that's like, hey, I'm starting over. And I'm really upset and really sad and I don't know if I'm going to make it through this. I can't see what it looks like on the other side. So thank you for sharing what you're going through or what you've been through. Thank you for showing that life does get better. But if I had a mission, it would be that for sure. There's something very nuanced going on here where I feel like a lot of women that I've spoken to have done this where you feel like I'm not going to say anything, even though something's off because I feel like there's going to be a big payoff like a proposal vacation or it's my birthday coming up. We intuitively know something is off and this relationship as is today is not sustainable. But for some reason we can forgo that because we think that this is working towards something big, quote unquote, that doesn't really matter, like a proposal. Proposal from someone who's not right for you is not a good thing at all. To somebody who lies to you and keeps things from you. It's not going to end well either way. So what are you waiting for? No. I can feel your pain though of like when it feels like you've lost yourself in someone. Because I definitely have been there before. And I think that made it a lot harder to bounce back. And when you look at a relationship that you are like, I did not state my needs. I did what they wanted. That makes it very hard. And I know for myself, I love to hear about you. Therapy changed my life. And I did that because of that situation. In retrospect, I probably should have done it a lot earlier than that, but sometimes it takes that type of thing to push you to do the work that you need to do. How do you think your life has changed since you've grown from what happened? I feel like there are infinite possibilities in my life. I feel like any life that I want for myself, I can make happen. And I felt like with him a lot of things weren't going to be in the cards for me or weren't going to be possible because of what he wanted or his preferences or his lifestyle. I feel like I can really lean in to who I am and what I want. You know, you mentioned going to therapy right after, I didn't. I wasn't prepared. I couldn't tap into how upset and sad I was. And so I started from the outward in. And I don't think it matters. I think as long as you do something for yourself, so I started with fitness and finding out nutrition, things that I actually like to eat after living a life of diet culture where I felt like guilty for eating a salad with breaded chicken, right? I had a lot of internal stuff that I had to work on. But I couldn't tap into it until I started somewhere. And so for me, that was I went to senior citizens yoga classes because I was unemployed and it was really cheap. I did chair yoga with a bunch of ladies in their 70s. It was almost free. I walked, I started walking, you know, I remembered that I love nature. And I love hiking, and I love the outdoors, and the person that I was with, you know, liked drinking in the outdoors, but didn't really like the outdoors that I like. And so I just started leaning into those things and those activities. And then honestly, I didn't end up starting to go to therapy until after the relationship in 2019. I was like, I need to talk to somebody because I don't want to keep repeating the same patterns. And I'm too old. I've gone through too many things to keep living the same thing with different people.
00:40:03 - 00:45:00
And so even though the relationships were different, there were still some things attachment style wise you talk about attachment styles and love languages and just communication and clarity and I just needed help. So finally, because I did all of that external stuff like I went and I got my MBA. I got a certificate. I did all the kind of the stuff and the things and then I was still staring at myself at the end of the day and realized I needed to go deal with some of that internal stuff. That stuff's valid though too because you built a life, right? And I think I did. I mean, that's so big, especially if you're unraveling out of a shared life that was not your own. So I totally get in your circumstance why you went that route first. And I think that actually is something beautiful that can come from a breakup also. Totally, and even the whole Instagram thing, I was just trying to figure out my style. I had gotten into a rut of Boston and leggings and dark tunics and jackets and I didn't even know I was always commuting on a train and I showed up looking disheveled and sweaty anyway, no matter what I wore. So I felt, you know, I'm in Texas. I can show up in air condition and I can wear heels. I want to figure out what I like to wear and what colors I like and what styles I want to play and that was before any weight loss, any physical transformation, like I wanted to celebrate my body as it was and figure out my style. I love hearing that because I think in the similar relationship I was in my 20s from 22 to 27. I latched my identity to this relationship to the point where I couldn't sometimes you need to step out of the situation to see it for what it is and I never was able to step out of it, not until when I was 27 and it was getting out of this relationship. I had this moment of who the fuck am I? Who am I? If I were to describe myself and what my personality is and my passions, my hobbies, I don't know because these were all shared, hobbies, interests, shared Friends, shared restaurants, and it was so exciting to reacquaint with myself and to meet myself again. It's a very scary thing too, and it sounds like you also went through that is like, totally. Let's see. Let's see where this ends up. But it's so exciting. Yes, I physically packed my bags and I moved back to Texas and my parents took me in. I moved in with my parents and I just had some time to sort of reframe reset refocus my whole life. And I started with working out and my career and eventually led to the internal work and what kind of Mark I want to leave on this world. You know, it's been truly amazing. And so I went from, you know, I was crying a lot. And not really getting out of bed and I had to talk through things with my parents and bless my parents, they're my best Friends. They listened and they listened and they listened and they just took such great care of me, but they also pushed me and encouraged me to take this time for myself and to do the things that I'd always dreamt that I could do or wanted to do. So not everybody has that. And I know what kind of privilege that is to be able to go home and reset. And I'm so grateful for that, but my life is so much more full now and I don't have resentment inside me anymore. I really don't. And I really, I wish my ex well with this person, I don't talk to him and wouldn't and have no need to, but I don't, I don't hate him. I don't wish that he got hit by a bus, you know. I've worked, I've worked through that. And I think that's really that forgiveness is so precious and helps me approach people differently than I would have right after. Let's hold that thought for a few messages. 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00:45:01 - 00:50:16
Have you ever thought about how much better dating would be if you had a whole army of people supporting you along the way? We know that dating can be frustrating and lonely, but it can also feel fulfilling and fun. Have you recently decided you want to make some changes to your love life? Maybe you've recently reentered the dating scene. Maybe you've gone on one too many dates that went nowhere, or maybe you're just ready to take your current relationship to the next level. That is exactly why we created the sounding board, a true extension of our podcast that delivers a personalized experience, which includes monthly office hours where you can drop in and chat with us about anything. Weekly sound offs with guided discussions and regular virtual happy hours, allow Julie and I to become your dating sherpas to provide real-time guidance and wisdom in a more intimate way so we can all navigate dating and relationships together. Join the sounding board today by going to dateable podcast dot com slash sounding board. Again, that's dateable podcasts dot com slash sounding board. So I told you I wasn't going to forget about this, but I want to talk about the sampling the menu because that's the other part of a merging into your new self to start dating. Oh my gosh. Well, okay, so I think I probably come off as a little bit goody goody, right? I work in corporate HR. I grew up in the south, right? But I never quite figured out who was my type. You know, you talk about types. I didn't really have one. Like I just like people that made me laugh. And I still like people that make me laugh. That's still something that I find attractive. You know, you talk about the types and I'm probably still doing it a little bit now that I moved close to LA because there are types that maybe I never would have had exposure to. So it's a season of life. It comes in it goes, but yeah, I got on all the dating apps and I tasted the menu. I thought, you know, I'm gonna try to date someone who's divorced with kids. Someone without kids, I'm gonna date an accountant. I'm gonna date a lawyer. I'm gonna date a bro a frat bro who hasn't grown up yet. I'm in a data musician. I'm gonna plenty of there's so many. Yeah, I mean, it's been a while since I've gone back to that. That sample of tasting the menu. So I have to really, oh, I actually, I dated a guy from high school that I'd always had a crush on. We actually dated on and off for a little bit. I went back and checked that out and experienced that for what that was and he was darling and sweet and very attentive and a very good I won't say rebound, but like a safe place, a safe place to date after going through what I went through, but not someone to carry on into the future. And he would say that as well. We just had very, I was just super driven and he was at a more relaxed pace. But that was really great. Just to try different experiences out. And I mean, even now, being an hour and a half from LA, I have dated a drummer. I've gone out with an actor. There's an entertainment lawyer. There's a comedian lurking. It's less, I used to be so specific about what I thought I was looking for. And I've realized that as I've met my own needs, I've become much more open to the types of people that I will date because I'm not looking for them to fulfill something that I haven't done for myself. What I love about you and we talk about this a lot is like being intentional but also open and what does that mean? Because they're all vague buzzwords and it's hard to quantify what that really means. But what you just said, you're dating with such an open mind, but you also know what's important to you. And I think that is, you know, that is the equation, essentially. Right. Well, I had a friend and my best friend is my complete opposite. So she were the yin to each other's Yang. We are so different from each other. And I remember one time I told her I wouldn't date a male nurse. And she said, well, that's really rude. Meredith, why would you say that? That's very derogatory. And I said, oh, I wouldn't date a male doctor either. I don't like talk about blood and guts. My mom is a nurse and I grew up. She ruined spaghetti for me for many years because of dinner conversation. It just wasn't for me. And I mean, I could date someone in the medical field who didn't talk graphically. But she thought, you know, she was thinking she was kind of saying, hey, Meredith, you're putting someone out of a category for not a really good reason. But then when I told her my reason, she said, oh, okay, that kind of makes sense. And then what do you think about, I can hear some of our listeners saying, well, I want to be open minded, but at what point do you say I need to narrow down my preferences? Because if you're so open all the time, sometimes you could get lost in that sea of samples and just say, whatever, whatever goes. Right. I mean, I used to say I'll go out on a first date with pretty much anyone because it's very low stakes. You're having, you know, having a coffee, having a beer. You know, something very quick, casual. It doesn't have to take that long. And for me, I try to think of it as like, I'm going to experience something new. I'm going to go to a place I've never been, or I'm going to get a cup of coffee at a place I've heard about. So try to make it a combo, so at least something was a win, even if the date was a bust, at least tried something I wanted to try. But for me, I have to reel it in. I only have so much time and so much energy. And so I have listened to some of the things you guys have recommended. And during the pandemic, especially, it was a great way to weed people out from the volume to do a video chat or do a voice call before a first date just to see, is there conversational chemistry? Because if there's not over the phone or in a video chat for me, it's not going to happen in person.
00:50:16 - 00:55:02
That conversational chemistry. I can talk to a brick wall, so if I can't talk to you. Right. There's just no point in wasting the gas money in today's economy. So I narrow it down that way a lot. I mean, I am very open, and I think being 34, you're in that weird range where there's all the memes about you could date the person where you could date their dad. It's really true. So I try to keep my age, I try to keep my age settings really open because age age doesn't necessarily account for experience and somebody's core and who's somebody is. Now, have I been on a date with a 24 year old recently and a 52 year old? Yes. Yes. Yes and yes. Were there a lot of differences? No. Men are kind of the same. Expectations. I think the 24 year old was probably a little more mature. So you just don't know. So I think with the apps and the settings, like you've just got to keep them pretty wide open, but then do the weeding out as you have the conversations. And that's where a lot of people get burned or get tired or exhausted. I have a pretty standard opening combo, and it doesn't matter what app it is. I'll reach out first. If I'm interested, I'll start the conversation. It doesn't cost me anything. It's free. It takes two seconds. If they don't respond well, or they don't respond, then okay, we swipe them off and we keep going down the queue. There's really no harm. So I would hate to miss somebody because they're shy because I probably should be with someone a little bit more introverted to balance. Those grass people, the dog flashy people are the best people. Right, right. And so in our Instagram worthy life that we're leading, I think you've got to be so careful. I actually look for the profiles that are not as sparkly or perfect. I love a guy with some bad photos. Yeah, where they're all like a little bit blurry or he's got a bunch of you can tell that he has friends. You can tell it has been curated, not linked to his Instagram. Go follow me on SnapChat or Instagram or any of those things. Yeah, I think that's really important because we talk about this a lot. There's no way you can learn anything from a 2D absolutely not. You know someone based on a couple pictures and a couple lines and you really don't. There's still a stranger and you know, I think because of my age or just generation timeline, I've done a lot of app dating. It has been a pretty easy way for me to meet people. However, coming out of the pandemic, my personal goal for myself is to meet more people in person, especially moving to California, I don't know anybody. The app thing may not knowing anyone and not knowing who they know. I just feel like it would be better to meet someone with a little bit of common ground. So I've been joining the meetups, which haven't been anyone that I'd want to date from a meetup, but I still have joined them. I went to there's one in Los Angeles for people who love free concerts. And so there was a symphony concert and just kind of meeting people. You never know who knows somebody, that's the HR networker in me is like, there may be absolutely no one at the event that I'm interested, but I could make a friendship and they could have a group of friends that they could introduce me to. So I do try to stay open in that way. And the whole picking up people at bars thing have I done it, sure. Is it usually a great foundation for a lasting relationship probably not? I'm still single. But for me, even having that confidence to approach someone or have them approach me and engage in a conversation, that's a win for me because growing up in after my relationship in my 20s, I would have been so terrified. And so insecure that I wouldn't have been able to even engage in that way. And now I'm like, yeah, let's have a conversation. Who knows who you are? I went to a brewery by myself. A couple weeks ago, I had lunch with a friend, and I was in a new area, and I said, hey, I've got some work that I want to do. I'm doing some writing. I want to go sit at brewery and just be in a different space than my apartment. Get out of the house. And so she recommended a brewery and I went and there were these two guys next to me and so they followed me on Instagram they follow me on Instagram now. But you gotta be careful to say. But they were sitting next to me and I overheard their conversation because I'm an observer of people. Like my background is theater. I'm always observing people. I love to listen. I love to see people's mannerisms and just kind of figure out what the story is, right? So I'm sipping my beer, have my journal. I sort of am in and out of their conversation. It seems like they're both partnered. It seems like they're both partnered in serious relationships and they were talking about missing the chase and the fun of the chase. And it was such a elevated conversation for two seemingly Bros at a brewery that I was like, huh, that's really interesting. And then I tone them out. I tuned them out and I started working on what I was working on. And I was drinking my beer and I was writing, and I finished my beer, and they were looking right at me. And one of them said, we need to know what you're writing about. I said, no, I'm actually working on some song lyrics.
00:55:02 - 01:00:02
I've never written a song before, but I just feel like I have them in me. So I thought I'd try. And so we started having this amazing conversation and they weren't hitting on me and they offered to buy me another beer. And we sat down and we had a really nice conversation and we talked about where they were at in life and it was such a nice moment of like, hey, I'm connecting with two people. It doesn't feel creepy. It's not gross, you know, maybe they had a little crush on me. I mean, you can't blame them. I think they were attractive, yes. But were they both partnered? Yes, and they made that clear. So it wasn't like that. It was just like a really normal, healthy, cool conversation about life and where we're at. They were both in their late 20s, both with people. They'd been with for a long time. One wasn't quite sure, but he has a baby with a person and you know, I mean, yeah, it was on the edge of therapy, right? So I had to kind of stop him at some point and be like, thank you for the beer and going back to reading. Or hundred more beers, please. I wonder what they talked about on the way home together. And it was just a nice normal like, hey, this is a random check in with two strangers, I'll probably never see again, but you know, never, you never know, maybe they have friends and maybe it could have become something, but that wasn't the vibe. But just that comfort. It's so crazy that this is like a unique situation, you know? The fact that this isn't what happens, people are so results oriented. It's always like, is this person hitting on me or could they be something? We just don't connect and have these types of conversations anymore. Well, and we haven't talked about it, but that's one of the reasons I love solo travel because I feel like in other places I've traveled in other countries. It's more like the experience that I just experienced, where people want to get to, they're like, oh, you're by yourself. What are you doing here? Let's talk about your trips. Let's talk about travel. Let me tell you where you should go to dinner. Hey, come with us. We're going to dinner. It's just a very different experience in the countries that I visited and America hasn't felt like that. America is very protective, very closed off. Everyone's in their own bubble doing their own thing or if they're alone, they're on their phones. And so I really do try to make it a point when I travel and I go out to dinner. I have my phone with me, but I don't pick it up, or I'll maybe pick it up once or twice, but I'm not going to sit on my phone. It's even better to read or write or just look around and talk to people. It's amazing the connection that you can make with people, but it's not common here. I think the other piece too is like even if it doesn't lead to a date, it changes how you converse with people and connect to people. So you can bring that later on. We hear all the time, you know, people that really struggle with forming any sort of emotional connection on a date. I guess for people like that, since you clearly do not seem to have that problem. What advice or thoughts would you have for them? I would just say that every person that you meet, remember that they have value, whether it's value that you can see or that you will ever see, maybe not, but everybody has value and has a piece to play or a part to play in this life that we're living, and I think not looking at people as transactional, you know, to bring it back to the whole swiping and the dating thing. You know, you think, oh, this didn't go well. There's ten more people that want to go out with me. Well, when you're in person and you're connecting with people in person, I think it's a lot easier to recognize the humanity and the story and want to know the story, get curious about who they are and what makes them what makes them who they are. That is such an amazing moment to pause and just be grateful for where we're at when the world seems like it's on fire and there are a lot of terrible things that are happening. Humanity is still really real. And when you recognize the value and the connection that people can have, it doesn't have to be transactional. You don't have to get anything out of it, a free drink, a date, you don't have to be there for anything else, but to connect. For someone who's done so much self work and you're on this journey to feeling strong in your own life and in your own skin, how do you find someone who's on the same wavelength? Because we've gotten this kind of question from some of our listeners, I've done all this work, and I feel really good about myself, but I also need a partner who's on a similar journey as me. Have you found ways that you can vet for that? I mean, I haven't found a lot of volume in that area, so I don't claim to be the person that has all the answers, but I think not feeling guilty for setting your standards high and holding yourself to a high standard. There's the song that I've been listening to and it's just popped into my head. Have you guys heard it? I think it's called anybody and it's like, I set my standard tie, but I could maybe drop them down for the night if the vibe is right. That just literally came through my brainwave. Totally, not exactly what I was thinking. But so my therapist, something that I've worked with is my therapist and this was my therapist back in Texas, and I just I adored her. But she talked about society and where we are as society as a pyramid. And I always felt a little bit uncomfortable because she would say you're near the top of the pyramid. Like you've really worked on yourself and you hold yourself accountable.
01:00:03 - 01:05:01
There's a whole bunch of society who take no accountability for their actions or how they treat people or what they say. You care about society as a whole, you volunteer, you want to make the world a better place, like your job is aligned to making it the employee experience really strong and making sure people feel safe and secure. So like your level of standard of human interaction and connection and engagement is really high. And so you're looking for the top of the pyramid and it's smaller at the top. It's just the way a pyramid works. So there's not as much volume. So you have to be okay with either taking a moment and saying, hey, I'm going to be on a pause until I find somebody else who's near this level, or you know, I'm going to dip down and be like, hey, my expectations aren't that somebody meets exactly what I've done or is on the same level. I'm okay with that. And that's not settling necessarily. It's just deciding that you're okay with a difference in connection there. So I don't have the answer yet. As far as finding men, I mean, go to Home Depot, go to O'Reilly auto parts. And I could have had ten numbers yesterday and I was straight from work sweaty. I did not look cute, but every man was like, hello. Hello, how can I help you? So that was a really good ego boost, but if you're looking for volume. But if you're looking for quality, you know, love the tactical advice. O'Reilly's got it. Check, get your get a blow out and just go have fun. That's what I would do. Get your car fixed. Yes, exactly. I think those windshield wipers replaced. But no, as far as like that level of what I'm looking for. So I mean, this is so silly, but I got on the riot app when I got here, which everyone's like, oh my gosh, you got on, how'd you get on? I just applied and then I got on. It's not as selective as I mean, I applied and then like four or 5 months later, they said, you're in. And I said, great. And then I got on and it's a lot of male models and celebrities. And so whereas I thought maybe, oh, this is the cream of the crop. This is also men who are like very solid in their careers and go getters. It's not what I expected. So I will not be getting a riot sponsorship. And I actually will not be renewing my membership because it's just kind of like, I could just go on Instagram if I wanted to look at Instagram mail models. Well, thank you for bringing up a good point though. What is the cream of the crop? I think so often we think we've heard this before. It's like, well, I have an MBA. I need someone that has an MBA. But someone can show up in a different way that's adding value that puts them at the top of that pyramid also, right? I have an MBA, and I specifically don't really want to date somebody with an MBA. I actually, it's not about for me, it's not about career, it's not about levels. Do they have a place that they go that they get paid, like a job, and do they like it? Do they enjoy it? I don't want to be with someone who's complaining about their job 24/7. I hear people complain all day at work. When I get home, I want someone who's genuinely pretty happy with what they do. And if that means they're a mechanic, then great. They can fix my car, and I think that's a really sexy skill to have. I make plenty enough money to take care of myself, and I can also, I feel like I have high income potential and will be fine, but I want someone that likes what they do that feels like they add value to the world. Someone who's a teacher. So integrity, integrity and consistency or the two things that I'm looking for the most in the partner. And so that I have been able to narrow down. Now, is that on an app? Or is that really easy to find right away surface level? No. So I have to talk about it. I'm talking about it here right now with you guys, maybe someone knows somebody. And that's part of the reason I thought I pitched myself because your listeners are so engaged. They are the tip. Yeah. That's a really, I love what you said though, Meredith, because that is the perfect example of being intentional and open. At the same time, that you have these two things that you are unwilling to compromise on because heck, that's super freaking important in a long-term relationship. But you don't, you're not prescribed her certain package of how it shows up. Not at all, not at all. I'm very open. And I mean, yeah, if someone that I find attractive and that's not necessarily what everyone would think, right? It's attraction for me is a good smile, twinkling eyes. You know, someone who has a great laugh, someone who has confidence in who he is. Those are things that I find very attractive. But when I first started dating and I was kind of going off the rails a little bit and I thought tasting the menu. My mom made me make a list and she was like, Meredith, this is getting ridiculous. I can't keep track of who's who. This is too much. You should make a list of ten things. And just like core values, things you're looking for. And if they don't meet, let's say passing grades, 7 of those things, you don't need to keep dating them. Once you find out that they're not meeting those things. And we're talking core values here. Nothing like physical. Then don't keep dating them because I don't want to keep trying to remember who's who. And it was really about her. Yeah, I'm just kidding. She was like, she was looking out for me, and that was really great.
01:05:01 - 01:10:02
And then my therapist has made me make a list of 50 questions. 50 questions to know about somebody before moving into a serious relationship with them. And it's not like, oh, I have 50 questions to ask you, but it's like, hey, maybe on a third date, I'm gonna go in. I'm gonna look at my questions, and I'm gonna try to ask two, or get to two of the topics, and just slowly chip away so that I don't end up in a relationship with somebody who I don't really know. And I don't end up losing myself. That happens all the time. You're a therapist and your mom are very smart. They're amazing. We have this on an episode we had something very similar. The only 7 things that matter. And they're not superficial qualities too. And you know, I think that it's important to take that gut check. We are not all about lists, but if you have no north star and no gut check that you're just going to get lost or overwhelmed. Yeah. And so here's the other dilemma that I can see our listeners asking too is like, what if you get too comfortable being alone because you're so happy you're meeting your own needs and it's harder to allow someone else into your life. Have you thought I have? And I do worry sometimes that I'm getting so good at being alone that I don't have a need for a man, but I still have a want and I do feel like I'm still going to have that want. That's not going to go away. But have I opened myself up to thinking about it looking differently than it could have looked, what partnership could look like? Yes, now I'm not as crazy as some of your people that you've had on, like, as far as openness. I'm not sharing, I don't share. I will not share. I can't even find one person, but I like, I'm not going to find multiple. I'm a one man gal. Not for me. I respect it and others and that's amazingly, but I'm just not there. But you know, sometimes I wonder, could I meet someone who's a little bit older and more established and he has his own place and I have my own place, and we never cohabitate, or we never get married, but we're long-term partners and what could that look like? I mean, I love my space. Ideally, I'd have a townhouse and he'd have half and I'd have the other half. That would be my dream to always sleep together unless we want to, or we can spend time together, but then sleep separately. And if he snores, it won't matter if I snore it won't matter. You know, if his kitchen hygiene is not my level of kitchen hygiene, we don't have to fight about it. We'll just have dinner at my place, right? So I mean, I thought about that, you know, but then also I think about I kind of do want to share a place with somebody. I kind of do want to go to the farmer's market and come back and cook together in our place that's our place. And with the bright person it'll all work out and the future will work out the way it's supposed to work out. But I think for me, it's the need versus the want. I don't need somebody anymore. I felt like I needed somebody at that time in my life. And I needed someone to help guide me because the world was scary and I was living in a city where I didn't have a lot of people and now I'm in a state where I don't know anybody. I just came out for work completely alone and people messaged me all the time. I was at dinner, so every backtrack, I'm working a ton while I'm here, Monday, through Friday. On the weekends, I try to take a road trip and go explore some part of California. Because it's amazing. And it's stupid expensive, and while I'm here and paying the taxes, I might as well go enjoy it. And I love to explore, so I went to Santa Barbara and ohai this weekend for a day trip by myself. I did an amazing hike to a waterfall in the morning. And then I went down to Santa Barbara, and I was eating my favorite dish, which is a poke, some sort of poke deal. And this woman came by, this woman who was probably in her 60s, 70s, and she came up to me and she just said, you were so confident. You seem so comfortable. And so confident and calm and relaxed, eating by yourself. And she was kind of like a question. And I said, I am. And she's like, I love that. And I said, I actually moved here by myself. I moved across the country by myself. I do a lot of things. I travel the world by myself. So eating dinner is, this is nothing. And I mean, this is just like, wow. But she was like good for good for you. So I think, you know, it's not that I can't accommodate somebody else or wouldn't. But they're going to have to be amazing because my standard of living solo is so great. I'm not going to put up with someone who's inconsistent or flaky or lies. But I actually think that's the best place to be becoming from. And you know, I definitely was there myself too. And as example, you can get past it, right? When the right person comes in, but like you said, you're more discerning of who that person is because you don't need it anymore. I feel like Julie, you haven't talked enough about this, and I don't know if you can add this to the podcast. But as a listener, I really want to know what was it about your current partner that made you go like, this is it. This is really, I'm going to go deep in on this one. Yeah, let's get there. I think it was a lot of these qualities. I mean, we've obviously talked to all these daters. UA and I've been doing this research essentially and taking it in for so long that I realized I was focused on the wrong things for so long. And, you know, certain things like consistency. So when you say that, it definitely rings for me. And I would describe myself as an anxious dater before.
01:10:02 - 01:15:05
And we did this exercise with doctor Abigail Lev that changed my life. And it basically, I don't know if you remember this game as episode. But we basically, she said, whatever you're like biggest schemas are are your core deeds in a relationship. You know, fear of abandonment was a big one for me. So finding someone consistent was so essential. And you know, I think too when dating so often we get wrapped up in like a fun date and a good experience. But that is not life. So just having someone that you can talk to and my current partner, we just never stop talking. We always say that. We never stop talking. And I just genuinely enjoyed myself with him. And you know, I think I saw a lot of these qualities that were much deeper than maybe in the past I was looking for someone. I was more life at the party or in the social scene, like things that ultimately do not matter in the long haul. So I mean, I think a big part of it though was getting clear on that stuff until you're clear I don't know. Maybe it's a good segue to takeaways. I feel like until you're clear and unapologetically yourself, that's when things fall into place and you won, realize what you need, not just take things kind of more reactively. I think I was so reactive and so much of my life, too, of just dating people that wanted to date me, opposed to being like, oh, this is what I'm looking for in Meredith. I think in your story, it's a really good what the takeaway I have is it doesn't matter what your past relationship experience is. If you came from a world where you had no identity because you were intertwined with someone else or you're coming from a position where you've had no relationship experience and you've only been on your own, either way, as long as you bring what makes you you to a partnership and not hold back, that's when you're gonna have a healthy long-term partner. So I love from this conversation, like so often people get stuck in what's going wrong and dating. And this doesn't mean that you never have a moment merit if I'm sure that you're designed too. It's just like, oh my God, this is so frustrating, right? We all have those moments, but overall your energy and mentality is so positive and so energetic and I've been thinking like I wish I had someone in the area that could set merit at that point. Because you bring vibrancy and I think when you bring that, that is like the most important thing you can do in dating. You can update your profile all day long, but it doesn't matter. And so often we try to focus on this stuff that simply doesn't matter in opposed to looking at ourselves and what we can how we can grow from day to day. Yeah, your energy is just contagious. I am inspired. I am. I am energized. I feel so good about this conversation because I think this conversation gives hope to everyone out there, including myself, who is in a relationship, but I have to constantly remind myself that I don't need to be in a relationship. I choose and want to be in a relationship. And I think you differentiating between need and want is so key here. And I hope people are listening to this is that when you can fulfill all of your needs, all that's left is for your wants. I want to be with someone. I want a partner. I want this in my life, or maybe I just don't need a partner. I don't want a relationship, whatever that want is, is just the extra. It's the bonus because you've already filled everything for yourself. And when you don't need a partner, when you don't need a relationship, it makes you less thirsty and dating, it makes you less burnt out in dating because it's just an extra bonus for you at this point. It's not a livelihood of being relationship. And I really feel like you bring Meredith. I feel like I'm on America's Got Talent or something. Like we're judging panel. Like Meredith, that was a great performance. Yes, you're very dateable. You're a ten out of ten. But what it is, what I admire about you is what I aspire to be is that you bring this very distinct flavor to the table. What I mean by this is like, if somewhere were to bring out the Meredith dish, I can taste it and be like, I know exactly what that is, and I can describe it to other people. There are some dishes that are like, this is a fusion. I'm not sure if I'm getting all the flavor profiles. You are just so distinct in who you are, that it actually makes it easier for me and Julie to kind of talk about you with some of our single guy Friends because we know exactly how to talk about you, but you just you know yourself so well that it makes me confident knowing who you are and how I talk about you. Well, thank you. That's amazing. That's such a huge compliment. And I was just thinking, I'm thinking back to the pandemic because that relationship that I was in ended in 2019 and then the pandemic started and I was getting my MBA and I had told myself, hey, when you're done with your MBA because I was working full time in school and I thought, you know, 2020s the year, I'm really going to date.
01:15:06 - 01:18:33
And then 2020 happened. And so finding your podcast and finding the community and just knowing that there were other people out there who were experiencing it and the pandemic dating wasn't great, had some weird video chats like the really not a lot to say there. You know, as like another takeaway and I definitely feel like this round of dating you asked me earlier like what was different. I didn't hold back anything and I feel like I hadn't done that as much in the past. I was similar to you Barrett that I was like I'm happy as I am. So I'm just gonna put it out there if it sticks great and if it doesn't, I'm still good. And I think in that situation you may quote unquote get rejected more because you're really putting yourself out there like you said you're not this fusion that people kind of adapt everyone likes, but I do believe when you do meet that person that can see the value, then it will become a no brainer for them. And I think that's the benefit of being yourself is that who really wants all these people that like lukewarm stick, you want someone that's all about it. I think so. So Meredith, if people want to check out your Instagram content, where can they find you? I'm Meredith TX. I'll always be Meredith TX. So they can find me very easily no matter where I live in Texas. So easy to find. Definitely mostly on Instagram. I'm trying the TikTok thing, but I still feel ancient. So still figuring that out. Same. But we feel the same way. We definitely look forward to keeping in touch with you on your dating journey. Oh, thank you. We will figure out one day what the dating expert resident dating expert means, but for now we will continue to stay in touch with you of your journey. So thanks again for sharing. Hopefully this was inspirational and uplifting for people to just keep going. Thank you for having me it was so nice to meet y'all and just see you in person and you know I have really enjoyed the podcast as a listener and I really like the brunch talk that's my favorite thing on Sundays while I meal prep or I clean I turn on brunch talk and it's like I'm having brunch with you guys. Well we will get brunch on these days. This is going to happen. What really uplifts this podcast is your ratings and reviews and Apple podcasts because that's what helps validate our podcast so we can get great guests like Meredith here, so the more ratings and reviews we can get in Apple podcasts the more content we can bring to everyone. So we thank you for doing that and thank you Meredith again for being on our show. We're going to wrap this up today. The dateable podcast is part of the frolic podcast network find more podcasts you'll love at frolic media slash podcasts. Want to continue the conversation? First, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter with the handle at dateable podcast. Tag us in any post with a hashtag stay dateable and trust us. We look at all those pose. Then head over to our website dateable podcast dot com. There you'll find all the episodes as well as articles, videos, and our coaching service with vetted industry experts. You can also find our premium Y series where we dissect, analyze, and offer solutions to some of the most common dating conundrums. We're also downloadable for free on Spotify, Apple podcasts, Google Play, overcast, stitcher radio, and other podcast platforms. Your feedback is valuable to us, so don't forget to leave us a review. And most importantly, remember to stay dateable.