Gimme Some Oven

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.


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 him.

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. :)

32 and Dating |

His first time attending one of our #NeighborNights. (My phone lit up with texts from everyone afterwards that night — he definitely won their approval.) :)

That’s him.

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

32 and Dating |

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. :)

32 and Dating |

Saying good-bye before I left for a week in Costa Rica, which proved to be a picnic compared to how much I missed him while he was in Colombia last month for 3 weeks. Ay, ay, ay…

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. ;)

32 and Dating |

The end of our first date at 1am on a Wednesday night out on the patio at El Pueblito. (Trying to play it cool, but of course, I was mildly freaking out having this cute guy so close!)

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.

32 and Dating |

We just went back to the Mexican restaurant for our little 4-monthiversary. And of course, the owner here informed us that he’s already decided we need to have 3 kids. Um… :)

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? ;)

32 and Dating |

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! :)

32 and Dating |

Cheers to fun surprises in life, eh?

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135 comments on “32 and Dating (!!!)”

  1. So incredibly happy for you Ali!! Your smile speaks volumes! Cheers to the two of you! :) 

  2. I’m so happy for you too! He is so cute! xoxo

  3. I love your site for the recipes, but of course had to read this when I came across it. You are incredibly adorable. From what I can tell Barclay is the lucky one!

  4. Your first date sounds like my first date. (we stayed up until 5:00 a.m. talking)  Our marriage lasted 30 years before he passed away.  Yours will last just as long or longer, I have no doubt.  God Bless. 

  5. You two look cute together ??? 

  6. Hey there…just followed you through pinterest. I’m loving your recipes (my coworkers inhaled your crockpot buffalo chicken dip at our report card pickup potluck) and also loving this peek into your new life. I met my husband at 30 and had a butterfly first date and just knew it was it. You and Barclay are adorable….enjoy the butterflies. People discredit that saying it doesn’t last, but I can tell you it does. We’ve known each other 25 years and still love to stay up late and connect. Enjoy every minute!!

  7. You are cute as can be!  Best of luck to you, with everything you do.

  8. I am smiling just looking at your photos!! Love is a wonderful thing.  Wishing you both the best :-)

  9. I stumbled up on your blog, and fell in love with it!- I continued reading all of your single posts because, well.. I am single at 25 and also that  your posts were helping me! ha.. so thank you for those- BUT  I now see that you are dating, I actually got excited thinking- that will happen to me as well. You are giving me hope, and kinda feel like I know you somehow haha- we live similar lives, I wish you the best, and thank you for posting,  Enjoy it all!

  10. You guys are adorable!!! Savor every wonderful day as it comes.

  11. Hi Ali, I am new-ish to your blog so I can’t say I’ve been following you on your adventures trying to find the right guy…but I loved reading about your new man and your falling in love story :))  You are so open!  I feel like I know you better after reading this sweet post.  I can see the kindness, compassion, and love in each of your eyes.  So happy for you and best wishes to you both <3
    Hugs and cheers, Bita

  12. What a lovely description of what sounds like love to me!

    Best wishes to you both!!

  13. I love your story, u guys are so cute together (the pic with restaurant owner).  He is a keeper.

  14. Very happy for you Ali! All those bad dating experiences make this all the sweeter! He sounds like an amazing guy who finally found the right woman.  And good job Sara ?

  15. New to google+ as I am trying to build my own freelance copywriting business. I chanced upon your recipes as I love to look at and write recipes down. Then I found this delightful story on you finding a potential mate and it is inspiring. I definitely think he’s the one. The world is always a better place when someone finds true love. Still waiting for mine, in the meantime, living off of God’s love which is always. All the best to you and your beau.

  16. I can see just by looking at the two of you that God definitely had a hand in getting the two of you together! What a blessing! I wish you true love -a triple strength cord (You, Barclay and God) is super strong. Be happy.

  17. Omg Ali! I read your 30 and single series and I’m sorry to say it was super funny. I admire how well you took your single life the complete opposite of myself. I’m so incredibly happy for you. I think he’s he luckiest guy in the world to be blessed with such a beautiful, fun and mature woman. I wish you guys many years of happiness together! Stay blessed:) 

  18. This makes me so happy! Wishing you all the best. You both have found a great catch!

  19. Omg I jus started following ur blog and am curious how ur Barclay is doin?!?! 

  20. Oh and I am so happy and excited for U both!! ?

  21. Hi Ali, 

    While searching Pinterest for french press coffee how-to’s, I pleasantly re-discovered your blog and this post. I too have recently sworn off online dating after a series of questionable first dates in my late twenties. While my decision has been liberating  to cut out cyber dating from my life right now, I still long for someone to be with. I will be turning 30 in three months, and will most likely still be single on my special day, but I’m OK with that. This post has given me more hope that there is still someone truly amazing and kind out there for me. Thank you for sharing your meeting story, and I wish you both the best of luck!

  22. I am so happy for you Ali…. I know how it feels to be single and finally meeting the one is a welcome relieve. I am glad you met Barclay and from the bottom of my heart, I wish you lots and lots of happiness together, good health and immeasurable love.

  23. Thank you for sharing your beautiful happy story of love! I made me happy to read. I’m sooo glad you found each other and am sooooper thrilled for you!!

  24. Very inspiring  life story you shared. I enjoyed  reading. I have a niece your age going through  similar  life situation.  Good luck. Going to try your lemony chicken breasts. And cheesy scalloped  potatoes.  Thanks so much for sharing .  You look like a happy couple.  

  25. Hi Ali ! I came across your blog when I was wondering if there was any other singletons who were at 30 balancing between enjoying the single life and feeling that little bit lonely and overwhelmed by the whole single life at the same time – I don’t usually comment on blogs but when I saw your smiling photos and read this post I had to say I’m delighted for you !! And you’ve given me some hope that I shouldn’t give up on my dreams of someday meeting someone- wishing you both the best of luck for the future !

  26. Maybe, just maybe, the reason you never “clicked” with any of the other men you met was that God had THIS man waiting for you! He is adorable and I pray for the best for you both.

  27. Accidentally got here and I must say ,I am encouraged. I am 32 and haven’t dated for 10yrs. This makes me keep hope alive. Yea my man is out there.

  28. You can tell Barclay is happy, it’s in his eyes. I didn’t find my forever love until I was 28, after I accepted my life as a spinster with 3 cats! Best of luck with your dreamy guy.

  29. I loved your story. I’m a new reader. By the way, this is the first blog that I read in English and I’m so excited. I know I’ll improve my English skills a lot through it. Greetings from Venezuela!

  30. Well this post just encouraged my little still single at 35 possibly never going to ever meet anyone and so over online dating heart! So happy for you!! You so are sooooooo cute!!

  31. My husband and I began dating in June and were married four months later on October 11. We’ll be married 35 years this year!

  32. Here I am 28 and single for most of my adult life, finding hope in the holiday loneliness and your blog really filled my heart with so much joy, thank you for sharing your journey <3

  33. Omgoodness, Love is a glorious Beautiful thing! I share your joy thru your magical enthusiastic words, pics….yep you’re in total blissful Love!

    You are a great person and deserve happiness and total contentment 💗

    Gonna bake your whole-wheat oatmeal cookies 💕 Thank you for the Recipe! My fiancé just found out he’s borderline diabetic and has osteoarthritis. Oh well, i’ll keep that man healthy with recipes like this! I’m so very in love with this man! So i totally get your enthusiasm 🥰

  34. I am a non reader of blogs. I came for the recipe to make with pumpkin cheesecake for a neighborhood night Christmas porch crawl in a few weeks and ended up actually reading your story. 8 years later you know what I am going to ask, right??

  35. I see this was written in 2015. I stumbled across it while reading a recipe in which it was linked. I don’t know you at all. Have not ever heard of you before. But you have millions of readers of your blog, you mentioned. How does one get that? But the more important question is are you and Barclay still together? I hope so. It sounded so promising here.