Breaking Up With Your Deal Breakers

Breaking Up With Your Deal Breakers

Today I want to talk about breaking up with your deal breakers. The term deal breaker can refer to a lot of things, so for the purpose of this article, let’s define it as criteria you use to disqualify a potential match before ever even meeting them.

I’ve compiled a list of deal breakers (in no particular order) I’ve heard over the years, both understandable and ridiculous. 

  • Divorce
  • Religion
  • Political Affiliation
  • Dietary Restrictions
  • Body Shape
  • Height
  • Zodiac Sign
  • Education Level
  • Smokers
  • Cat Owners
  • Children
  • Distance
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Virginity
  • Age
  • Career Type

I once had a client refuse a first date after learning his match was lactose intolerant. I know a woman who has a strict no Geminis policy. The list could go on for days. 

The first step to breaking up with your deal breakers is to write out a list of all your perceived deal breakers. Take some time to really mull this over and create a comprehensive list. You’re the only person who will ever see this, so don’t be afraid to list even the deal breakers you’re ashamed to admit.

It doesn’t matter if your deal breakers are big or small. Just add them all to the list. Don’t worry, we will whittle it down later. 

Boundaries v. Barriers

Now, it’s time to categorize your deal breakers into Boundaries and Barriers. Boundaries are good; they keep us safe. Barriers on the other hand, get in our way and block us from achieving our goals. 

For instance, rejecting a long distance relationship is a Boundary—excluding anyone who doesn’t reside within a 5-mile radius of your front door is a Barrier.

There are people who have been in COVID lockdown for a year now. With facetime and Zoom, long-distance will soon be an extinct deal breaker anyway. 

Keep in mind, a lot of this depends on you and your situation as much as the other person. Let me give you a couple of examples.

I will not date anyone with a cat.

  • Boundary: if you have a severe allergy
  • Barrier: if you just prefer dogs

I will only date Catholics.

  • Boundary: if you’re a practicing Catholic
  • Barrier: if you haven’t been to mass since you were a child

I will not date someone who has children.

  • Boundary: if you don’t have or want kids
  • Barrier: if you have kids from a previous relationship

Now, I want you to reflect on your list. Organize each item on your deal breaker list into either the Boundary or Barrier column. After you decipher which your Boundaries v. Barriers, you can start breaking up with your deal breakers one by one.

Breaking Up with Your Deal Breakers

Next, I want you to rank your list of Boundaries in order of importance. Then, do the same with your Barriers.

Those Barriers are starting to seem a little trivial now, huh? Some of them may even feel ridiculous. That’s a good thing! That means breaking up with your deal breakers is going to be easier than you thought.

Starting with the lowest-ranked Barrier, think through each of your deal breakers. Go deep. Make another list of pros and cons for each if you need to. Ask yourself the following question:

If you met a beautiful woman tomorrow who possessed a myriad of positive characteristics, would this one single thing eliminate her in your mind as a possible mate?

If the answer is yes, then you’re not ready to let go of that deal breaker just yet.

But if the answer is no, or even maybe with a qualifier, then let’s work through it.

Is there an underlying reason for your deal breakers? Try to get to the core of your reason for wanting or needing that trait in a partner.

What if it’s less about you needing to date a Catholic, and more that you desire a partner with a faith and a good moral compass? Perhaps you don’t necessarily need someone with a graduate degree, as long as they’re intelligent and ambitious. Both of those things alone can broaden your pool of potential daters significantly. 

Your Matchmaker will be able to shed some light on your particular situation and teach you how to increase your scope of potential matches.


Handle Rejection Like a Boss

How to Handle Rejection Like a Boss

The first step in learning how to handle rejection like a boss is to reframe the way you talk about and think about rejection.

You did not get rejected. Your proposal was rejected.

If you proposed going on a date and they declined, that’s okay.

If you proposed taking your relationship to the next level and they ghosted, that’s okay.

Unless you shared way too much information and downloaded your life story, they barely even know you. They are more or less a stranger, so don’t let them define you. Allow their disinterest or disapproval to roll right off your back.

Even if you proposed marriage and they ran away crying, it’s still going to be okay. 

Rejection is not a reflection of you or your character.

Don’t Take it Personally

It wasn’t a good match, but that doesn’t mean either of you are bad people.

Even after a few dates, you don’t know someone well enough to make a full judgement; that’s why we always encourage our clients to give each match a minimum of three dates.

It is likely there are a number of both external and internal factors that contributed to the rejection. And you probably have control over little to none of them. For instance, maybe they’re already in a relationship, or they just got dumped.

Neither of those things have anything to do with you. It’s not that they don’t want to date you. They don’t want to date anyone. If you learn to handle rejection like a boss, it won’t negatively affect you.

There’s a good chance it’s not even about you. Don’t spend your time worrying about things that are out of your control. On the other hand, you should be open to listening to their reason rejecting you as well as any respectful feedback. 

Feel the Feelings

A study at the University of Michigan using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) scans, found that rejection actually activates the same parts of the brain as physical pain.

According to Dr. Winch, this suggests an evolutionary advantage to experiencing the pain of rejection.

"This phenomenon is a legacy of our hunter-gatherer past, when we lived in nomadic tribes. Back when a person couldn't survive alone without their tribe, "rejection served as an early warning system that alerted us we were in danger of being ostracized—of being voted off the island."

If someone reacts to your proposal with abuse or threats, if they try to belittle or degrade you—just get out of the situation as quickly and safely as you can. All that should do is prove you don’t want to be with someone who behaves that way. Don’t spend a moment of your time worrying about them or their issues.

I truly hope that hasn’t been your experience. And if you’ve ever rejected someone’s proposal in that way, shame on you.

Just because your rejection wasn’t abusive, doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt. Take some time to sit with your feelings

Work on Yourself

Dr. Guy Winch is a psychologist and the author of Emotional First Aid: Healing Rejection, Guilt, Failure, and Other Everyday Hurts.

According to Dr. Winch, the best thing to do after a break up is: make a list of all the negative qualities or bad habits that you didn’t appreciate about your ex. Whenever you feel sad or lonely, every time you get the urge to call, read through the list.

This will also help you to manifest positive traits in your next relationship

It’s important to be strong in your self-esteem and confidence, otherwise every superficial interaction will have undue influence over your well-being.

On the other hand, you should be open to listening to their reason rejecting you as well as any respectful feedback. Reflect on the situation. Did you make a remark that made them uncomfortable? Did you listen to your best friend’s well-intended but bad advice?

You can own your part of the rejection, and accept responsibility without getting into a negative self-talk mindframe. 

Next time, you’ll be able to handle rejection like a boss. 

In the words of Ariana Grande—

Thank you, next.


Worst Dating Advice

World’s Worst Dating Advice

Rules are meant to be broken. It’s a new decade, so take the worst dating advice you’ve been told throughout the years erase it from your memory.

There is an entire genre of self-help books dedicated to dating advice, much of which is solid, data-based research, but an equal amount is opinion-based and anecdotal. As they say, don’t believe everything you read. 

Love is Magical

Soulmates, twin flames, love at first sight, happily ever after—these are the types of magical love we strive for from our very first bedtime story. 

Real life love is much more practical. Don’t get me wrong, it has its magical moments when you swear the earth stops spinning. But true love, the kind that lasts forever, is a choice that must be made every single day.

Love is a verb as much as it is a noun.

The worst dating advice I ever heard was: If there is no chemistry on the first date, it’s not worth pursuing.

Attraction is not limited to our primal instincts, even though it may feel that way sometimes. As feelings of love and admiration develop, so does that magical, unexplainable spark.

Don’t write someone off right away. Some of our strongest matches have come from couples that we initially had to talk into going on a second date.

Keep Conversations Light

We’ve talked about the opposite end of this spectrum: oversharing. You don’t want to share too much too soon, but you also don’t want to avoid meaningful conversations that occur naturally. As the relationship progresses, you should feel comfortable opening up about more sensitive topics. This includes things like family goals, career dreams, and wishes for the future.

Imagine investing months into someone only to find out your goals for the future couldn’t be more opposite. You want to get married and raise a family, but she doesn’t want marriage or children.

By not defining the relationship and communicating your needs, you run the risk of wasting a lot of time dating people who aren’t a viable match. Executive Matchmakers helps weed out deal breakers so this doesn’t happen. 

Be Your Best Self

We’re taught to be on our best behavior in all new relationships, and it’s true—to an extent. On a first date, at a new job, or even with a budding friendship, it’s always important to put your best foot forward. 

As Miranda Lambert put it, Hide your crazy and start acting like a lady.

But there comes a time in every new relationship, where both parties have to be vulnerable, let their guard down, and show their flaws. If this doesn’t occur, the connection will remain in surface-level acquaintanceship territory rather than growing into something deeper.

Often in new relationships, people will behave how they think their partner wants them to behave. This leads to a myriad of problems.

If you’re not behaving as you normally would, your partner doesn’t truly get to know you. She may fall in love with a false version of you. This often leads her to a sense of feeling defrauded. And you’re left feeling as if your partner never truly knew you after all. 

In trying to be everything your partner wants, you may lose your sense of self.

Communicating one’s needs, expectations, and boundaries is key for building the foundation of any new relationship. 

You’re finishing up dessert on your third date, when your partner suggests a bar across town for a nightcap. You know you have an important meeting first thing in the morning, but you don’t want to upset her, so you say yes. Unfortunately, while you’re sharing a drink an hour later, the mood has shifted. You’re in your head, stressed out about the morning, and constantly checking your watch. Your date studies you closely for some sign of what caused the flip after dinner, but ultimately she’s left clueless.

If you had set boundaries and explained why you needed to go home after dessert, you could have both ended the night on a high note, excited for your next date. 

What is the absolute worst dating advice you’ve ever gotten? Just remember, not all advice is good advice! When in doubt, ask your Matchmaker


Relationship Resolutions

Relationship Resolutions for the New Year

I think it is safe to say we are all more than ready to say goodbye to 2020. But now is the time to really reflect on your year and start to develop a plan for 2021 and beyond. How do you want to work on yourself? What sort of relationship resolutions do you want to put out into the universe?

The only true control we have in this world is over ourselves and our actions. You can’t change other peoples’ behaviors—only your own. Therefore, any real change starts from within.

Whether you want to develop a healthier work/life balance, start a new exercise regimen, or meet the love of your life next year, you need to start putting in the work today.

Improve Upon Yourself & Good Things Will Follow

When was the last time you treated yourself to a #NewYearNewMe makeover? Updating your style and trying out a new look is a great way to instantaneously give your self-confidence and self-esteem a boost.

Everyone feels better after a fresh haircut or a day at the spa.

This is not all about physical beauty or conforming to society’s standards, it is about doing something for yourself that makes you feel good in your own body, even if that’s just a massage.

Self-care is a continuous cycle of positivity everyone should make time for in their life. When you look good, you feel good. And when you feel better about yourself, it can have positive impacts on every aspect of your life.

The Law of Attraction is a theory that says, 

We attract that which we give off.

It is sort of a reverse Golden Rule. If you put good things out into the universe, good things will come to you in return. And as I stated earlier, you can only control yourself, so it’s up to you whether you give off positivity or negativity.

If you’re done reading The Five Love Languages already, The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, is a great book for anyone interested in diving deeper into the Law of Attraction.

One of the key points of the Law of Attraction is manifesting the things you want out of life. This can be done in any way that works for you: meditation, prayer, vision boards, spreadsheets, you can even do it in the shower or during a run. 

Relationship Resolutions

Is it your heart’s desire to fall in love this year?

If so, it’s time to get busy. In addition to taking the practical steps, like hiring a matchmaker, and creating a dating profile, you should start manifesting love right now.

Put real time and effort into thinking about what you want out of a relationship. What type of partner do you want? And more importantly, what type of partner do you want to be?

Write it all down. Make a list. Develop a mantra or a mission statement. Put your goals on your bathroom mirror or map it out on your office whiteboard. Post it somewhere so you will see it multiple times a day even if it’s only for a few moments. 

During these manifestation exercises, think critically about the dating criteria you have followed in the past. Have any of those things changed? Are you open to dating someone with children now even if you weren’t when you were younger?

Examine all of your deal breakers. Can you overcome any of them?

Instead of shutting yourself off to anyone shorter than six feet, focus on things like intellectual and emotional compatibility.

Take a deep look at your dating history, especially in the areas that you feel have failed.

Perhaps 2021 is the perfect time to put your dating life in the hands of a professional once and for all. We want to help you fix whatever is broken in your love life. Sometimes that means we will push you to try something new, because what you’ve been doing is not working. Trust that we always have your best interests at heart. 

Studies show it takes at least three dates for the average person to feel comfortable enough to open up and show their true authentic self. This is why we always urge clients not to write someone off after the first date

What are your Relationship Resolutions going into 2021? We would love to be part of your journey and help you reach all of your goals. What are you waiting for? Take the first step toward forever.


Date a Doctor

So You Want to Date a Doctor?

Well, you’ve come to the right place.

First, on behalf of all of us here at Executive Matchmakers, I would like to say a sincere thank you to all of the health care workers and front line staff for their continued selfless work during the COVID-19 pandemic. We urge you all to please continue to follow all CDC Guidelines to keep everyone safe, especially if you want to date a doctor!

  • Stay home except for necessary outings.
  • When you have to go out, practice social distancing.
  • Wear a mask when you interact with anyone outside of your household.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Do not gather in large groups.

How to Meet Single Doctors

Right now, it’s more difficult than ever to meet new people in a safe way. It can be virtually impossible for a medical professional to carve time out of his busy schedule to sort through pages of dating profiles. That’s why we’re here; we have matched thousands of happy couples.

For our male clients, we do all the hard work of narrowing the overwhelming dating pool down to potential matches that fit into his lifestyle.

Eligible women are encouraged to join our matchmaking database at no cost; it’s safe, confidential, and discreet. Don’t worry, we will never spam you or sell any of your information. Apply online with recent photos and you could be on a date with one of our bachelors in no time.

Our professional staff will review your application, and if we think you may be a fit for one of our clients, we will contact you to set up an interview with one of our Matchmakers.

What to Expect When You Date a Doctor

Even before the first date you can make some pretty fair assumptions. For instance, the guy finished Med School, so you know he’s smart, driven, and committed. All highly-coveted characteristics in the dating pool. 

When dating a doctor, you can expect additional quarantine and/or sanitation policies and procedures. I wouldn’t advise an anti-masker or anti-vaxxer to date a doctor. Remember the Pandemic is not forever, but there may be times throughout his career that will require additional medical precautions.

His patients come first. There will be many times that you will have to take a bit of a backseat to his work. Put your ego aside and try to put yourself in the patient’s shoes. Are your dinner reservations really that important in the grand scheme of life and death?

Dating a doctor requires you to exercise patience and flexibility. There will be late nights, long hours, and weekends on-call. So, learn to love your alone time. He will have to cancel plans sometimes. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s ghosting you.

Avoid making concrete plans that cannot be altered like tickets to an event or travel arrangements without consulting him first. If something on his schedule prevents him from going, you’re left holding the tickets.

Doctors have often experienced emotional trauma at work. Studies show many health care workers experience similar Post-Traumatic Stress symptoms as combat veterans. It’s important that you can be a safe place for your partner to land after a taxing shift. If he needs to unload, just listen.

Give him a shoulder rub, open his favorite bottle of wine, find a light-hearted show you both love that will help him unwind. Doctors spend all their time giving of themselves to their patients. It’s good for them to have a partner who fills their love tank at the end of a long day

Once again, we would like to express our gratitude and condolences to all of the men and women fighting the Coronavirus, and we urge everyone who reads this to do your part to slow the spread of the virus.

Stay home, stay safe, and date a doctor.


First Date Fears

How to Fight the First Date Fears: 4 Expert Tips

I can promise you this: every client I have ever consulted has concerns and anxieties surrounding the First Date. The most important thing to remember early on, is to remain present. Stay in the moment and just enjoy one another’s company. This is the easiest way to combat any first date fears. 

First things first. Take a deep breath and relax. When people get nervous, they talk too much. Just remember, your specially-trained matchmaker is here to help coach you through every step of the process. 

Goodbye first date fears!

Don’t Put Too Much Pressure on the Situation

I often hesitate to even use the word date for a first meeting between matches. Meeting is really the better word. Date has a romantic connotation, and while matchmaking is obviously a service for people seeking romance, it would be unrealistic to expect every single first date to end in a love connection.

We can eliminate some of those first date fears simply by omitting the word date. First date fears often occur because people put an enormous amount of pressure on themselves, their date, and the situation. Some go into every encounter with the opposite sex hoping it turns into marriage and a white picket fence. Others are so picky they will write their date off in the first five minutes for something trivial.

Both of these approaches are incorrect.

Let’s think about it from a business perspective. When you were a novice in your career, you didn’t go into every single job interview expecting to not only get the job, but to retire from that company. Alternatively, would you turn down your dream job because you didn’t like the break room? 

Do Focus on the Positives

One thing I tell all of my clients going into a first date is to find three things you like, appreciate, or enjoy about the person. That’s it. Just three. But by focusing your efforts on finding positive traits in the person sitting across from you, you can overcome the silly things that put you in a negative headspace.

So you hated his shoes? If you’re really looking for lasting love, overlook the shoes. Does his lifestyle align with yours? Do you have similar goals in life? Did he make you feel safe and special? Did he match your sense of humor? Was he charming? Kind? Handsome? Punctual? Try to focus on the things about him you would like in a partner, even if you know he’s not a fit. 

Do Take Note of the Negatives

In addition to making a concerted effort to find value in your match, it’s equally important to gather information about the things you don’t like. Especially if those things enter into deal breaker territory.

If you learn she has a pet you’re highly allergic to, that’s probably not going to be a long-lasting relationship. But now, your matchmaker will know to screen for that before making any future connections. 

Take mental notes to reflect on later. Everything that happens between the two of you is data and information that will be helpful to your matchmaker in facilitating your next match. Sharing three positives in addition to all the reasons you know he or she is not The One with your matchmaker will help us in our search to find you love. 

Even bad dates are good dates, because you learn what you don’t want, and so does your Matchmaker. We use each and every interaction to fine-tune your profile, so that we can find someone who ticks off your most important boxes.

Don’t Mentally Move In

We’re all human. After a few great dates with a high-quality woman, it’s nearly impossible to keep the day dreams at bay. The thoughts silently slip in, “Could this be what I’ve been searching for? Maybe she’s The One.” This is where I urge you to pause and set realistic expectations. 

There is nothing wrong with these thoughts. Dating can be and should be fun. It’s natural to have hope that this develops into a relationship filled with love and trust and acceptance, and all the things that Maslow told us humans need.

I want my clients to get butterflies and feel excited about this process, but I wouldn’t be doing my job well if I didn’t tell you to remove your foot from the gas pedal, and just take it one date at a time. 

Allow love the opportunity to grow and develop naturally without any unnecessary pressure or stress. Stay present throughout each date, give it your undivided attention, gather data, and don’t get in your own way. If you are able to do all of this, you can overcome any and all first date fears. 


frustrated man

Professional Matchmaking: How to Never Get Ghosted Again

If you have spent any amount of time in the dating scene over the past few years, chances are you have heard of the ghosting phenomenon. Hopefully, you aren’t guilty of ghosting anyone, and likewise have not been the victim of a ghost. At Executive Matchmakers, our priority is helping you find genuine, lasting love, so you never get ghosted again.

Did you know that over half of today’s daters have first-hand experience with ghosting?

What exactly does it mean to get ghosted?

Ghosting is the sudden, unexpected cease of all communication from one party within a relationship. Although the term is new, it wasn’t born through dating apps, and it isn’t a new concept.

I assume you have heard the cliché of a father who went out for cigarettes and never came back—that guy ghosted his whole family. It’s not specific to romantic relationships either, we all know a guy who ditches his friends whenever he gets a girlfriend.

The most common form of ghosting can be explained by the following scenario:

You matched with a woman online and shared a number of pleasant chats. You ask for her number and eventually to meet in person. After a few dates and weeks of FaceTiming, she suddenly stops responding to your texts. She dodges your calls, and bails on your weekend plans. You assume she’s caught up in work and give it a week or so before you start to worry. Eventually, you ask her what went wrong, but you get no answer. You’re then left wondering if you did something wrong, she met someone else, or even if she died. 

This is an emotionally painful situation to find yourself in. You may have been the perfect gentleman and said all the right things, but she just didn’t see a future with you for one reason or another. Unfortunately, she was unable to communicate that to you—so she ghosted.

It’s really important to remember if someone ghosts you, that behavior says more about them than you. It’s about their discomfort.” -Dr. Jennice Vilhauer

Why do I keep getting ghosted?

I’m a firm believer that most negative behavior stems from a basis of fear. When humans are afraid, they respond with either fight, flight, or freeze. Ghosting is a combination of the latter two. The ghost freezes communication because she’s afraid of the outcome if the relationship continues, and she flees from the situation in order to avoid difficult conversations or unwanted outcomes.

Fear isn’t the only reason women ghost though. Maybe she’s busy with her career or her family. She could be going through a rough time, either mentally or physically. I think we can all agree, COVID-19 has thrown everyone into a bit of a crisis. Maybe she met someone unexpectedly or an ex came back into her life. And there’s the hardest pill of all to swallow: she’s just not that into you.

But what is she afraid of?

Perhaps it’s a fear of rejection. A sort of get them before they get me first approach. People with this method of dating are not in the right mindset for a long-lasting, committed relationship anyway. Someone who has a pattern of leaving before they get left, will never stay long enough to work through the hard stuff that life tends to throw at us.

One of the most common fears that cause women to ghost is the fear of retaliation. We have been socialized and trained to play nice and never offend a man’s ego. Because of that, some women were simply never taught a polite but effective way to turn down a man’s advances.

How many comedies play off of a woman’s inability to kindly reject a man who buys her a drink at a bar, when she’s clearly not interested in him? There is more truth in that than most of us would like to admit.

Unfortunately, there is a darker side to this fear of retaliation. And that is the very real threat of violence and abuse women have historically experienced at the hands of men with bruised pride.

If the woman who ghosted you has been a victim of or a witness to abuse in her lifetime, try not to take it personally. She probably has a level of fear that revolves around her interactions with men, and ghosting feels like a safer alternative.

Is she too busy or just lazy?

Honestly, does it matter? Whether she’s hustling in her career working 80-hour weeks, or has been on her couch in the same pair of sweatpants all weekend—the fact is she hasn’t made time for you in her life. She may be actively ignoring you, AKA ghosting, or she may just have a mile-long priority list that doesn’t include you.

Will one scenario sting less than the other? I doubt it. It hurts when someone you were developing feelings for doesn’t reciprocate, no matter what the circumstances are.

That being said, I’m a proponent of second chances. If she reaches out with an apology and a valid explanation for being absent, why not give it one more date? That is if you still see potential in the relationship, of course.

How do I never get ghosted again?

Well, there are no guarantees in life, but matchmaking is a smarter, safer way to meet people.

The use of dating apps has created a lot of lazy daters. We pick up our phones and sometimes getting a date is as easy as ordering a pizza. If we don’t catch the other person’s attention within a few messages, they get bored and move on to the next app. We have thousands of possible matches in our pocket. We may give it a few dates, and if that person doesn’t blow our mind, we start swiping again.

It’s all pretty indicative of where we are as a society in terms of instant gratification.

But there is good news! There are alternatives to the monotony of endless swiping, texting, and eventual ghosting. There are better, safer, more efficient ways to date in 2020. At Executive Matchmakers, we have years of experience matching like-minded singles who go on to happy, healthy, long-lasting relationships.

The main reason that ghosting is so prevalent in recent years, is because we’re meeting complete strangers at an unprecedented rate. Previous generations met their mates through mutual friends, family members, church, work, and school. They typically had at least one other person in common with their date. 

Take the following situation for example:

Let’s say your Aunt set you up with a young woman from her church. If you were rude on your first date, or you completely disappeared on the woman, it’s likely that she will complain to your Aunt about your behavior. Your Aunt would then hold you accountable and you would face consequences. 

When you date strangers from the internet with no mutual connections, there is little to no accountability, and people feel free to behave in ways they probably wouldn’t if their Aunt was privy to the situation.

People are less likely to ghost if there is an additional person they have to answer to...like a matchmaker.

Your personal matchmaker will not only work to match you with your ideal partner, but she will also follow up with you and your matches to provide her expert coaching and advice. Our priority is helping you find genuine, lasting love so you never get ghosted again.


Oversharing

Oversharing - Too Much, Too Fast

Beware! The fine line between being authentic and oversharing

Andrew and Melissa's second date seemed to be going great. They were dining on the patio at one of Andrew's favorite local wineries. The sunset was spectacular and Andrew's anxiety about bringing a date to one of his favorite places was almost gone. Melissa seemed to get his dry humor and he appreciated her quick wit and warmth. She had even leaned into him when they were waiting to be seated and then held his hand when they walked to their table overlooking the vineyards below.

While they were sipping a spectacular Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, Melissa casually asked Andrew about his previous dating experience. Without thinking, Andrew launched into the FULL story of his last long-term relationship. Including all the details about their custody dispute over the puppy he had gotten his girlfriend for her birthday, and their disastrous last vacation. Andrew told her how they met, about their moving in together, all the things that went wrong afterward, and their messy breakup. When Andrew finally stopped talking, he noticed that Melissa was no longer smiling. After finishing dinner, Melissa got a Lyft home.

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