I signed up for a three-month subscription, and I was about a month in when Andrew noticed me on the site. We started chatting. He wasn’t smiling in his picture, and his profile wasn’t all that flashy or appealing, but it did feel honest to me. He was local, from Nashville, and I live in Franklin – about a half-hour drive away. During our chats, I never felt like we made this incredible connection, but I did feel comfortable with him. I never thought he was strange, weird, too intrusive, chatty, or needy.

Sometimes you can tell a lot about a guy just from chatting with him a few times. The chats were never long or deep. One of us always had to go quickly, and many times we weren’t on at the same time. Andrew has two children and I have one. One evening he was determined to at least get my name. It takes a while for a guy to win my trust, so I wasn’t going to give it to him. I told him he had to guess.

He said, “Ummmmmmmmmmmmm… gimme a hint.”

I said, “It begins with D.”

He said, “DANA.”

I was like WOW! That was pretty cool. I said, “That is my name.”

He replied, “Really? I want your number.”

I thought wait, hold up, this is too fast.

He said, “I don’t want to wait another month to get your number. I like you. It took me a month to get your name. I hate this chat thing… I don’t have the patience.”

I thought about it for a minute. He wasn’t pushing, but he was being bold, which I liked. So I agreed, but asked him not to call me until I said it was ok.  We could just text. We texted quite a bit, but again, it didn’t get very deep. I got the feeling he was either shy, or private, or both, which also intrigued me.

Fairly quickly he said he wanted to meet me.

My response was, “Andrew! We haven’t even spoken yet!”

He said, “I know I like you. I want to meet you. So whenever you are ready, you let me know, and we will meet somewhere, wherever you like.”

I asked him to call me in the morning so we could talk. Right on time, he called me. I liked his voice. Again, I sensed a cautiousness. I could tell he was a gentleman and a confident man of few words.

Once it seemed like we knew each other this way, he said, “Would you like to go on date with me, just to meet me?”

I thought it was very cool that he asked like this. I liked that. I told him that I would and asked when we should meet.

He said, “Right now.”

Again, I was just floored at how bold he was, but not in a crazy, scary way. He just knew what he wanted. It happened to be a holiday.  I was off work, but he was working. He delivers bread for Sara Lee. He was finishing up his route and said he could meet me for coffee or lunch. He knew I had been cleaning house all day and said, “I’ll bet you haven’t eaten lunch.” It was 2:00. I hadn’t eaten, so I said let’s meet at Schlotzsky’s Deli (this is sort of halfway between his house and mine). I thought this was good. I didn’t want to meet him somewhere very formal or quiet; I wanted something more casual since we hadn’t even met yet.

So I got ready a bit, cleaned up, just put on a t-shirt, jean shorts and flip flops, and jumped in my car to head there. He called me after I had been waiting on him for 15 minutes or so and said that a store had called and told him they were out of bread. 

He asked me, “Please, please, please wait on me. Don’t be mad. I really want to meet you. Since you have to wait on me, go wherever you want. I know you are hungry, so go pick something really good, not just a sandwich… :)”

So I said, “Ok, I am going to Longhorns.”

I was trying to be patient and give him the benefit of the doubt, but I was annoyed to say the least and seriously considered going home and blocking his number. But for some reason, I went to Longhorn Steakhouse and waited. Every time a man walked through the door, I wondered if it was him. I had him send me a better picture and I couldn’t believe how cute he was. Then he finally walked in wearing his Colonial bread shirt and a baseball cap and shorts. He had the sweetest smile. I don’t think I even stood up. I just smiled at him, and we started talking. He was really good looking, and I could tell he was thoughtful, considerate, and kind. He asked a lot about my son.

He insisted we get an appetizer and whatever else I wanted. We both had wild-west shrimp and salads, and he kept putting chicken onto my plate.

Then he said, “I know you want dessert. Let’s get dessert.”

So we shared a big brownie, and he hardly ate any ice cream saying I needed that. Now when we share dessert he always spoon feeds me which is so sweet. We walked out, and he showed me his bread truck and wanted to know what kind of bread my son and I like.  Then he carried all kinds of bread to my car. He opened my car door for me, gave me a little hug and that smile, and I went home.
For our second date, we went to a healthy grocery and made salads from their bar. We went to a park and walked. There was an incredible attraction between us. I usually am not attracted at all to the guys I wind up meeting for a first date. I hadn’t had a second date in probably 10 months. He really kept his distance from me physically and always opened the door. I felt comfortable around him. I felt like he liked me. He always responded to my texts fairly quickly.

When we got to downtown we were wearing shorts, and it was getting cooler. I had brought a pair of jeans. He asked me if I wanted to change in the car, and he drove around until he found a somewhat hidden spot. He got out and stood on the sidewalk while I changed.

Neither of us wanted that date to end. When he took me back to my car I remember us standing in that parking lot just looking at each other. No words, just a smile. He gave me this long sweet hug, not too tight but close enough that it felt more intimate than just a friend hug. He never tried to hold my hand, put his arm around me, or even sit close to me. He was extremely careful and wanted me to trust him and feel very comfortable with him. I told him a few times, I am just not at ease yet sitting here with you. He told me to just give myself time, and that eventually it would all feel and be ok. It was. It just took time. I think we kissed on the sixth date, I sort of let him know that I wanted him to kiss me by getting close to him.

We talked early on, probably before date three, about what we wanted: our goals, premarital sex, our kids, custody; we needed to establish where we both stood. We both wanted to wait on sex and wanted to get married again someday. We waited to meet one another’s kids until about four months into the relationship. It’s kind of funny, I had told him we had to wait for six months, and then my son locked us out of the house. I had already given Andrew a key so he left work and drove over and let us in the house. He only stayed a minute, and met my son who was 11 at the time. I met his kids the next week.

We were chosen by an event planning company to be featured and the proposal filmed. They planned it for about a month without me knowing, and Andrew took me back to the park we visited on our second date. There was a blanket spread for us with candles, flowers, food, and music along with a laptop to watch my favorite movie, The Notebook. As the sun went down, he got down on one knee, and I was totally surprised when he proposed! I just started crying. He hugged me, and when I looked up there were cameras everywhere. We have it all on film. You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0e_KLx6Uc8

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