I have two updates for you and I'm diving right in.
Apparently all of you lovely people care about more than just beautiful homes and my journey in becoming a business owner. YOU CARE ABOUT THIS DRESS AND THIS MAN IN THE PIC! I don't blame you. Well, it's an apropos time to share an update not only on this insanely amazing dress but also, this insanely amazing man as this weekend marked our one-year anniversary. You ready to hear a bit more about dating after being divorced and how I fell in love?! Okay, let's do this.
But first, the dress.
A few weeks back I posted a story of this picture the crowd went wild over this dress. I bought this gem in Bogota last December at St. Dom (designed by Carlo Carrizosa)for no reason other than I knew one day I’d have an event to wear it. It was too good. I put it on and it fit me like a glove and it was so unique and different, it was worth every penny as well as me trying to figure out how it would fit in my carry on suitcase. Well of course you know the outcome as here I am wearing it so needless to say it traveled well. And thanks to my fashion manifestation, Roberto’s brother got married in London, I was invited and voila! I had the perfect dress for those most gorgeous wedding celebrating two beautiful humans. YES PLEASE.
Okay, now, on to Roberto, THE MAN IN THE PIC. The real reason you are reading this.
This past weekend he and I celebrated one year of dating and to tell you the joy and peace and grace that I have experienced…well…it would take a novel.
Instead of a novel, I wanted to share this personal update because I believe it may encourage someone. And because you all ask about this and I haven't shared our story yet so here goes!
First, some context. Most of you know my story but if you don’t, it goes something like this:
· Married in 2010
· Suffered 4 miscarriages between 2011 and 2014
· Miracle baby Zoey was born in November of 2014
· My husband at the time suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2016
· Said husband told me he didn’t love me in September of 2020
· Divorced in February of 2021
· I garnered the title of single mom, left to do this whole thing without a manual, completely heartbroken
· I went on to grieve, forgive, self-discover, rebuild and start over from that point on, becoming whole, at peace and ready for what God had for me.
When my life imploded, a close friend of mine whom I respect and love dearly told me to write a list of what I want in my next relationship. "Are you crazy? I just got divorced!"
But she insisted. She told me it would be both therapeutic and necessary as I move forward. I listened to her and I did just that. She pushed me more - keep writing. It's YOUR list. It's YOUR future. Write down everything. I ended with 47 things on this list and kept it safe and password protected on my iPhone because it felt a bit crazy and a bit, well, WOULD GOD GIVE ME A MAN AND A RELATIONSHIP THAT HITS ALL MY HEARTS DESIRES?!
I prayed over the list and over my future. (And I still do.)
And then I did what any normal 40-something divorcee does: I signed up for two dating apps. Hinge and Bumble to be precise. Here's the remarks from some interesting people in my life when I shared I was doing this:
“Ugh the apps are the worst but just try to make the best of it."
"There are no good Christian guys out there."
"Why don’t you just meet someone at church?"
"My friend is on Hinge and hates it."
"I'm not on them anymore - the guys I met were so weird."
Thanks everyone! Super encouraging ;)
That may have been their experience but thanks to loads of life coach sessions and prayer, I was expectant and excited and committed to having fun and not letting the app haters crush my spirit. I knew at this point that life starts in your mind. I had to anchor my thoughts first on Jesus and then on all the good and hope and joy. I WILL HAVE FUN ON THESE DATING APPS. Their experience isn't mine. As we get older, it's easier to decipher wise advice and haphazard words from people and then make a choice on what we do with it all. In this case, I let those words go in one ear and out the other and I began swiping my life away with joy!
Not too long after I joined this little thing called Hinge, I met Roberto Javier Lopez (spoiler alert - the handsome man in the pic above).
We had our first date over coffee at Mr. Mandolin and before it ended, he asked me on a second date. I like this guy.
I said yes and the next day he picked me up, opened the car door, and zipped me to Amara for a late lunch.
There was a third and fourth and fifth date. As I was getting to know this man, I had peace and clarity. He was…
Easy to talk to.
And as it turned out, he was aligning with my list. Wow. This is crazy good.
And then a wave of confusion came over me. There was an emotionally available man in front of me and I didn't know how to navigate that. I was waiting for the chaos. In fact, I was craving it.
So I did the logical thing I felt was appropriate – I ran from Roberto.
Here I was, on calm water that is beautiful and peaceful and I subconsciously craved a high-speed power boat that was dangerous and unstable and only momentarily exhilarating.
I stepped away and he was gracious and kind. WHAT IS HAPPENING?! WHO IS THIS GUY?! He’s respectful and kind and gracious and nice even when I told him I had to stop seeing him?!
Ugh this is very confusing. Where’s the chaos?! Where’s the selfishness? Where’s the ego? I CAN’T FIND IT AND I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO!! So I'm going to run away.
I took time and prayed and had a breakthrough that had nothing to do with Roberto and everything to do with my past. I instantly texted Roberto and told him I had a breakthrough and that I wanted to share it with him (knowing he very well may tell me to take a hike). He said of course he's willing to hear about it.
WHY IS HE BEING SO NICE TO ME? And why did I think it was normal and okay to want to share this with the guy I just ran from? I don't know apart from the holy spirit nudging me back to him.
I shared with him (over text because apparently I am 12) what I realized - that I knew my worth, I knew what I wanted (thanks to my list), and I desired emotional intimacy over physical intimacy. That it was hard and scary for me to embark in this season of dating, something I had never done as an adult.
His response? I think this warrants an in person conversation. Can I take you to dinner?
BE STILL MY HEART.
The following week he picked me up and opened the car door and took me to Cecconi's, not knowing it's one of my favorite restaurants in Miami. And he leaned in to it all. He asked me questions and he listened. He created a safe space where I felt seen. He honored me and allowed me to be me. He understood me and in the end his response was, "We can take this at any pace you want. I just know I feel something for you and I'm so happy you reached back out. Let's see where this goes."
I looked at him sitting across from me in one of the most beautiful ambiances in all of Miami and asked him to sit by me. He came over and we were that weird/annoying/super cute couple that was sitting next to each other at a restaurant and I loved every second of it. We had dessert and I kissed him and it was one of the best moments ever...while we didn't know each other that well, I felt like I was experiencing love in this intimate, authentic way - to just be understood and seen.
As it turned out, Roberto was what I was craving all along – emotionally available, respectful of my thoughts and feelings, open-minded and willing to embark on this dating thing slowly, with love, together. It's scary walking into dating after a divorce and Roberto made it the opposite - safe, secure, fun, special and consistent.
That, my friends, has been my last year with this amazing man. Of course we have had some tough conversations and hard moments and disagreements and tears. But above all we are praying together, we are inviting God in, we are enjoying this honeymoon season and we are in love. A genuine love. Patient and paced. Adventurous and adoring. Beautiful and bold. Reliable, respectful and real. Kind and caring. Fun and fruitful.
All of it is in God's hands and we are thanking him daily - we both have such peace for what is to come no matter what. But I believe what is ahead is going to be even better than this last year. I know it.
I will end with this: make your list and pray over it. I know so many pastors and speakers and authors that tell you to not do this but, I'm here to tell you to do it. If you don't know what you want out of your future partner and future relationship, how will you attract it? What will be your true north? What will be your reference point as you begin dating? Write down what you want and I promise it will make the dating process that much easier and more enjoyable. After all, does a house get built without a blueprint? Nope. Your future needs a blueprint and it starts with the desires of your heart. God already knows them so why not just put them to paper?
100% of women I've asked if they have a list say no. And my next question is well, what do you want out of your future partner? And it's random thoughts from their head in the moment. Your future deserves intention, not randomness. It deserves time to think and process what you really want and deserve. And it deserves to be claimed! DO IT!
Oh and guess what? After months of being on Bumble I never got one match. NOT ONE MATCH. Clearly my match to Roberto on Hinge was meant to be. So, for all you singles out there, my preference is Hinge over Bumble ;)