32 and Dating (!!!)
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Alright, I can’t take it any longer. I have some fun news that I’ve been dying to share with you these past four months.
I’M DATING THIS WONDERFUL GUY!!!!!
And I am so dang happy about it. :)
Like, wake-up-every-morning-with-the-cheesiest-grin-on-my-face, still-can’t-quite-believe-my-luck, slightly-freaking-out, yet-loving-every-second, feeling-oh-so-grateful, and-basically-just-wanting-to-shout-from-the-rooftops-that-I-REALLY-REALLY-LIKE-THIS-GUY happy about it.
And after trying to play it cool and keep things hush-hush on the blog while we got to know each other — because, really, what on earth is blogging protocol for introducing a new boyfriend to the world wide web?! — I couldn’t wait any longer to tell you all about it.
About this me who’s now dating him.
About this crazy but wonderful new thing called “us”.
It kind of feels crazy typing that out for the first time, and I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t really know how one goes about sharing this sort of thing. But I’ve been looking forward to introducing him to you for months and months now. So without further ado, friends, I’d love for you to meet this handsome new man in my life.
Meet Barclay. :)
And that’s us!
And yes, pretty sure I’ve had that cheesy grin on my face ever since I was introduced to him this past May. :D
Believe it or not, Barclay (pronounced “Bar-klee”) and I actually met the “old-fashioned way”, which was a total but very welcome surprise for someone so exhausted with the online dating scene. I had said for years that, if it were up to me how I’d choose to meet a guy, I would love to have a good friend set me up with one of their good friends. (Keyword: good. I’ve had a few too many set-ups with someone’s sister’s hair stylist’s dog-walker’s cousin who they knew little about, but who “happened to also be single”. And I’ll give you one guess how those turned out.) Basically, I just loved the idea of someone who knew me well making a connection instead of Tinder or Match. I had all but given up on the idea of that happening.
But then this spring, the most surprising coincidence happened. Not just one, but three good friends independently told me about this guy named Barclay whom they thought I should meet. My ears perked up because all three of them knew me well, and also apparently knew him well. So then, being the good friends that they are, they all immediately started plotting different schemes for us to meet. (Mwahaha.)
Really, though, Barclay and I both agreed that it was kind of shocking that we hadn’t met before we did. As it turned out, we already…
- had dozens and dozens of mutual friends in common
- lived just 5 minutes away from each other in Kansas City (plus I had apparently driven by his house literally hundreds of times on my way to church over the years)
- worked just 5 minutes away from each other (and I had actually traveled to El Salvador and sponsored a friend with the humanitarian non-profit where he works)
- had attended many of the same gigs and concerts together around town
- had an uncanny number of common hobbies and interests
Still, it wasn’t until our mutual friend, Sara, decided to throw a party on a warm spring night last May (with the specific sneaky intention of getting the two of us in the same room) that we were finally introduced to one another. I immediately was impressed by how articulate and thoughtful and kind he seemed, and thought that he was super-cute, but I left the party unconvinced and was worried that he was “too nice”. (<– Um, who says that, by the way?! Thank goodness for friends who talked me out of that one.)
Still, as I was leaving, I invited him to come to a concert that I was performing in a few weeks later, and he put it on his calendar and said that he would come. I gave it a 50/50 chance that he would follow through. But sure enough, the second the show ended, there he was up front waiting to greet me. We talked for an hour or so and were the last ones out of the space, and he eventually said something about “wanting to spend time getting to know me”. So two weeks later, once we both returned from business trips, we went on our first date for chips and salsa and margaritas (<– he did his research well!). And then seven hours later at 1am that Wednesday night, we were still sitting out on the patio talking and talking and talking.
And I could not believe my luck. :)
Well, when I say that we were out talking for 7 hours, I should probably note that Barclay carried the majority of the conversation because I was awkwardly, goofily, butterflies-in-my-stomach, could-not-form-a-complete-sentence-to-save-my-life, totally tongue-tied for the entire first date. Which I would like to point out NEVER HAPPENS. He assures that he didn’t notice my inability to cobble words together, but good grief, it was more than a little ridiculous. He totally threw me off my game! And I was totally surprised. At one point in the date, I think I even blurted out something smooth like, “I’ve just never been on a first date like this before!”
It was true, though. I could tell within the first 5 minutes that there was something special about this cute guy in sitting across the table from me in his sharp white button-down shirt, looking me with the kindest eyes, asking thoughtful and meaningful questions, telling the most fascinating stories about the life he leads, leaning in over the chips and salsa and wanting to get to know everything about me. It’s no exaggeration to say that I couldn’t quite believe what was happening. But I knew that I didn’t want the night to end, and that I just wanted keep talking and get to know everything about him. :)
Apparently the owner of the restaurant had his eye on us and thought that things were going well too. Because within a few minutes of our arrival, he came over to tell us that we “looked SO in love!” and we were “the cutest couple!” and we “totally needed to get married!” — ha, not just once, but again and again and again throughout the night. He gave us marriage advice. He brought us drinks on the house. He even made us pose for a picture together before leaving, because he insisted that we had to remember that first date at his restaurant.
I was more than happy to oblige and when he told Barclay to get close and put his arm around me. ;)
Four months later, I still get butterflies in my stomach when he puts his arms around me. And I can hardly believe that such an amazing man is part of my life.
Because as those of you who followed my 30 and Single series know, I spent pretty much most of my adult life being single. Or at least, I was that serial-first-dater-with-very-few-relationships-lasting-beyond-a-month-or-two kind of single. And while those years were deeply good and full of adventure and taught me so much, they were also profoundly hard at times when I yearned to have someone to share them with. I fiercely held onto hope that things might someday change. But with each passing year, the possibility of finding a match seemed more and more unlikely, and I started to slowly make my peace with the fact that there was a very real possibility I might be single for the rest of my life.
Who knows, that’s still a possibility. I’m clearly only 4 months into this new relationship, and I’m very aware — especially as I’ve weighed the risks of (ahem) publicly sharing this new development with the millions of you who read this blog — that there’s no telling where things will go. I’ll be honest — the impatient, curious, always-gotta-get-to-the-bottom-of-things-stat in me would totally love to know. ;) But that’s not how relationships work. All I know is how things are going right now.
And right now, I am simply so thankful to have him by my side.
And as cheesy as it sounds, I still can’t quite believe I met someone like him. Someone who I can talk to for hours and hours and hours and hours. Someone who lives a life chocked full of wild and brave and meaningful adventures. Someone who rivals my obsession with Mexican food and margaritas. Someone who makes my heart beat fast every time he wraps me in his arms. Someone who works selflessly and gives generously and loves thinking creatively about how to serve people well around the world. Someone who knows how to strum an F#m, and how to conjugate verbs in Spanish, and how to tile a bathroom floor, and how to mix a damn good cocktail. Someone who makes me laugh until I can hardly breathe daily, and who always knows how to make me smile. Someone who plays fetch with my crazy dog. Someone who is unfailingly kind to everyone he meets. Someone who listens to me, challenges me, encourages me, respects me, cares for me, and inspires me to be the best person I can be.
Someone who I’m crazy about.
Oh, and also very importantly, someone who will have entire Bitmoji conversations with me. Because good communication is essential in any relationship, right? ;)
Anyway, within a few short months, this guy has clearly become a dear and important part of my life. And since you all have stuck with me through the ups and downs and in-betweens of said life these past years — and have been so cool and encouraging and important to me every step of the way — I really wanted you to meet him.
I promise to keep you posted! :)
Cheers to fun surprises in life, eh?
So so happy for you! I’d say none of this is luck or coincidence. Sometimes we don’t understand God’s timing or his ways but all this sounds like His handiwork. I don’t know you at all but am just so freaking happy for you. I’m 53 and have been married 30 years (23 seems SO YOUNG now) and remember those over the moon feelings. So glad you shared with your readers. Will be praying for this relationship to flourish and grow. Unbelievably awesome. He can do more than we ever ask or imagine.
And that is all I have to say about that. :-)
So excited for you guys! Have been following your blog for quite a while now and love that you have met someone who makes you laugh and talk for hours! Keep having fun getting to know each other and all the best! Katy – Sydney Australia
Awwww – You two look great together and scream your happiness to the world! My husband and I had mutual friends but have not met for years (we were both in relationships at the time so I’m glad we never met before we were both single) but once we did it just felt good. These things happen sometimes when you least expect them. So be happy, have fun and if he is THE ONE then so be it. (fingers crossed)
Aww I am so happy for you and your wonderful heart sharing! You know, I can imagine how lonely it may have been at times to wish for a companion but not have one. I met my husband at 18 so never experienced that. But, on the other hand, it is a gift to meet someone so special further into adulthood and really, really appreciate all the wonderfulness of falling in love (!) when you can soak in alllll the fun that it is! So enjoy this time!
Man your writing is amazing. I loved this post and congratulations all around!!! It’s a wonderful feeling to be in love isn’t it.
You two are adorable! :) So happy for you!
Your post has seriously brightened my day. I’m so happy for you, and for Barclay! As a woman in her 30s with next to no dating experience, your story gives me hope. I especially liked that you two met the ‘old-fashioned way’. May God bless you in your new relationship and give you both wisdom as you move forward together.
Barclay is a lucky guy ;-)
Hugs from MD.
EEEEEE YAY! I’m so excited for you! He sounds amazing and my fingers are crossed for the future <3
It’s always funny how things work out like that- so happy for you! :):)
So excited for you girl!! I’ve been following your 30 and Single posts for the longest time because I am in the same boat. Hopefully I can find something to become excited about too this year!
Yay! So happy for you!
Ive been reading your blog for a while and though I originally came for a recipe, your 30 and single series caught my eye. I remember thinking how brave you were for sharing so openly about the dark side of being single. In those days I was a single 32yo (to be specific) who hated online dating as well and at times felt like a life of being single awaited me.
So when I was scrolling through my bloglovin feed this morning and saw a pic of you and your very handsome guy I was so happy for you! I’ve been dating my bf for just under 2 years now and once again can identify with the feelings you speak of in this post. I’m so very happy to hear you have found such an awesome match and I wish the both of you years of happiness ahead. It’s scary to trust someone with your heart and to reveal it to the Internet too but I think the fact that you felt comfortable to reveal the news says something great about the solidity of your relationship. So happy for you both! (Ok my essay is over!)
Congratulations! I am so happy for you….(does he have an older brother, lol)
So darn excited for you! You can feel the butterflies and how much you like him in your writing. You give hope to those of us still looking for that kind of feeling! Congrats to you and what the future holds :)
I have been WAITING for this post!! I’ve seen the glimpses of the two of you on social media and I have been dying to hear you tell the story…
You two are absolutely adorable and I am beyond happy for you. Reading this made MY heart flutter.
Thank you for posting this. I’ve been in the same boat most of my life and am about to turn 31 – and this gives me hope for the future. So happy for you! Thank you for sharing!
Y’all make me smile, sweet friend! Happy hugs to you and a big “Hey!” to Barclay!
<3 <3 This post makes me ridiculously happy for you. I'm so happy to see you SO happy. I have a good feeling about this one! :)
As a fellow almost 30 and single lady myself, I love your 30 and single series and I LOVED this post! Good things come to those who wait. :) All the best!! xx
Ooo ALI!! I’m so happy for you! I loved reading about you and your main squeeze <3 Also I'm totally loving it that y'all met the "old fashioned!" I'm so excited for y'all! <3
I’m so happy for you! You two are one hot couple =)
And most importantly: How was your TN road trip???
Congrats! Barclay is my brother from another mother and father! He hosted me in the month of May during my trip to Kansas and what an awesome man he is! So kind, creative, generous…he made his home my home away from home…we sang together, we engaged in life-changing and insightful talks about life, work, world, music…..and everytime, he asked questions that made me to think outside the box…he is a genius! I met you through him and how I wish I attended your concert that night! You are the cutest couple I know and both of you are the best compliments for each other! What you have explained is LOVE!! Your writing is awesome! Its the best way to write a story about the deepest feelings about love…. I am delighted! I am so happy for both of you! Wishing you God’s blessings! Congrats my sister and my brother!
Congratulations I hope you two last forever, you really seem to fit each other perfectly! Such a great story, especially the way you met, it’s something special in these times.
Alguien que hable español es claramente una persona maravillosa, fabulosa y simplemente espectacular! ;)
This was very cute and I wish you the best.
Espero mi invitación para la boda! :)
Hey, congratulations!!! So I didn’t realize you’re in Kansas City!! I grew up in Blue Springs. :) Small world, lol!
I don’t know you, but you sound so supremely, genuinely happy! Glad you’ve found each other. :)
Ali! I have followed and appreciated your honesty as you have blogged about being single in your thirties and it’s probably exactly because I have felt right in-step with you! I’m so, so happy for you and actually cried at this post!
What a great story and a reminder that God sees and cares :)
Hugs from a stranger many miles away!!
This is how it all happens, my dear. I feel like you just wrote the story of the first few months of meeting my husband (who I’m still madly in love with, by the way!) SO HAPPY FOR YOU!
You know I love this and am so happy for you, my friend. Oops! I think I’ve been saying his name wrong. LOL. XOX
Congrats to you Ali! I can count a number of times that many people mentioned how they wished you were at ChoppedCon last weekend…..but I think this “new project” is even better! LOL.
I LOVE THIS SO MUCH!!! I saw a pic of him on FB the other day with you and I called mom immediately wanting all the details!!! So happy for you!!
Awww, you guys are so cute together :)!
Oh my gosh. First of all, I want to congratulate you and say that I am SO, SO happy for you (and your new bf of course!)!! Second of all, I want to say THANK YOU for writing this post. I just stumbled upon your 30 and single series and love it (no pun intended haha). I am only 23, but have only had 1 boyfriend so far in my lifetime. Furthermore, we only dated for 2.5 months before he unexpectedly broke it off with me a couple weeks ago. For the past year or so, I’ve had that hopeless feeling that I will be perpetually single for life. Then I got into a great relationship, thinking I finally found “the one”, to only find myself single yet again a couple months later.
This post gives me hope as I continue to move on from my first relationship. Like you mention, being single has it’s positives, and I am trying to look forward to what lies ahead for me. Even though it may take longer than others (I swear, every time I get on FB someone is getting married or engaged), most of us do eventually find that special person that totally rocks out world! Thank you again and happy dating : )!
Aw, so happy for you, Ali! I love the story of your first date. I’m sure that restaurant (and the owners) will always be a special place for you both!
Awwww congratulations!!!! You look so happy! :) :)
Hi Ali, I’ve been lurking on your blog for aaaages but I am not sure I’ve ever commented! I don’t know you personally, but I’m really happy for you!! This post almost made me tear up a little haha. You seem like such a nice and genuine person and I am glad you found each other. You’re also really brave to share all this, and I am sure your readers appreciate it. I love the way you worded the post, you just radiate happiness. Love the photos too. As you say, it’s still early days yet, but it sounds like you’ve both found a really good thing. I look forward to future updates and I hope that you guys continue having lots on fun with each other!
SO happy for you! And you also give me hope, sounds like we’ve had similar experiences in dating, that I’ll meet someone the good ole fashioned way one of these days as well. 100% tired of the online dating scene.
Side note: I’ve also thought several times about how/when/if I should introduce someone on the blog. It’s funny, but it’s a real concern!
Josh | The Kentucky Gent
AH!! I’m so happy for you, Ali! You guys are too cute together! I can tell how happy you are by your smile :)
Hooraaaaaay, congratulations! LOVE this post, too. So fantastically written, and I completely love hearing just how excited and happy you are! Seriously, what is the blogging protocol for announcing a new man? But it seems like so many of us (myself included) try to just sneak it into a post eventually… this is a million times better.
Awww!! I remember that feeling with my husband! I think my friends hated me because I was so grin-ny and glow-y! ha ha Enjoy it, it so awesome!!
Hip Hip Hooray!! I’ve been following along on your 30 and single series and I, too, am 32 and am single. Everything you’ve written has always resonated profoundly with me. Even though you don’t know me from Adam, I felt such thrill for you when I first saw your pics with Barclay. So happy and excited for you. Thanks for sharing!
I’m so thrilled for you and have been waiting for this announcement for a while. You two seem so compatible and happy, and it sounds like you are lucky to have each other. Your smiles are contagious. xo
Oh, my gosh. I’ve never commented on your blog before, but I had to for this one. You two are SO CUTE!
I love this post! Cooking and reading food blogs are one of my favorite things to do. Another favorite, sort of guilty pleasure, is reading “chick lit” (I despise that name, but not sure how else to describe them) books…you know the ones where 20 or 30-something woman are in their career and them stumble upon their love interest. Anyway, a long way of saying, your post just combined two of my favorite things…love and cooking. I obviously don’t know you, but was so excited and happy to read your post. I love love :) Please keep us posted on how things go. You two are quite adorable.
Wow!!! So, so, so happy that you and Barclay found each other. I look forward to getting to know you better too. Let’s all go out for chips and margaritas! ?
Congrats Ali! This is THE sweetest post and I’m happy that you’re so happy :)
Congratulations! How exciting and fun! Enjoy!
Congrats! I really enjoy reading your blog/life stories and I knew it would happen for you :)