I stood in the middle of the dark parking lot, watching Bucky speed away. “I wasn’t crying. I was LIVID. Earlier that evening, we had met our friends, C & H, at a comedy club in a suburb of Chicago. I was already there with C & H when Bucky walked in and slammed his keys on the table. The conversation came to a halt as Bucky let out a loud string of explicatives to describe his day. The rest of the evening was spent diffusing tense moments he created. I was angry, but I bit my tongue. I didn’t want to make C & H feel any more awkward than they were already feeling. I hugged C & H goodbye, and Bucky just walked towards his car.
I asked him to please stop for a moment and directly, but politely, pointed out that, while I understood he had a bad day, C & H felt very uncomfortable at times throughout the evening and I thought that he was very disrespectful – to them, other club patrons and, most importantly, to me. The entire time I talked, he paced. The pacing turned into clinched fists, which turned into him punching the trunk of my car which turned into him throwing the equivalent of a 4 year old’s temper tantrum in the parking lot. Stomping and yelling and kicking and throwing things across the lot. When I told him I had enough – he got into his car and sped off. I didn’t hear from him for the next two days. I’d like to say that it was the first time an episode like that had happened with him, but it wasn’t.
I met date 28, Phillip, at the City Tavern Club, a private club in the heart of Georgetown, for a microbrew tasting. Originally constructed in 1796, the City Tavern Club served as an inn during the Federal period. Many of the founding fathers frequented the tavern during that time. The building is stunning and Phillip was a great tour guide! The event was incredibly fun and the other members so hospitable! After the tasting, Phillip and I continued to talk in an adjacent sitting room. He was very easy to talk to and opened up more than any other date had about his past relationships and his thoughts on dating in Washington, DC in general.
“When I date a girl, I look at her and wonder to myself ‘Could I see this woman disciplining and raising my (future) children,'” Phillip said. “If the answer is no, I know that there is no point in pursuing things further.” He shrugged his shoulders and took a sip of his beer. I sat in silence for a moment, in awe of his honesty. I’ve asked many of the dates during the course of this 35/35 project how they know if someone is “the one”. The answers have focused on physical features, fitness levels, incomes and career paths. Not one has so much as uttered the word “child.”
On my drive home, I thought back over my past relationships. At some point, I had believed that each one was “the one.” At some point, I knew that each one wasn’t. While each relationship started and ended for their own reasons, I realized a pattern. Those “key elements” that made me think that they were “the one” centered around their relationships with their families, their religions, and/or their truthfulness and trustworthiness – all things I thought determined strong character, morals and integrity. Yet, they cheated or they lied or they did x y or z in direct opposition to my determination. Had I asked, at any given time, “Could he be the father of my children,” I would have been able to see, sooner and clearer, that they were not the right relationship for me. This is because, for me, this question is one of the “right questions.” It makes me focus on the person’s anger management skills (or lack thereof), how they deal (or don’t deal) with frustration, conflict and stress. How they encourage someone and support them. (Or, how they punish someone and belittle them.) What they view as the important priorities in their life. And I believe those skills and elements truly help define someone’s character, morals and integrity, which is the crucial foundation for any lasting relationship.
While I don’t believe this is a question that can be answered on a first or second date, I have noticed that in my dates following date 28, I have had that question running, subconsciously, in the back of my mind. And I will say, it has me focusing on the individual in a way that is different from before. And I have felt that I am able to start seeing, earlier, if there are areas of concern in regards to “relationship potential” and focus my subsequent questions in/on those areas to better “vet” the individual.
That night, in the parking lot with Bucky, had I asked myself “Could this man be the father of my children?” the answer would have been, unequivocably “no.” And I would have been able to move on sooner to someone who could.
As this was another popular question submitted for the Q & A Session (almost ready to be posted – still waiting for 2 more to return answers) I’m curious as to your thoughts. Do you think this is a good question to be asking in the beginning stages of dating? How do you know if someone is “the one”? What questions do you ask to help you determine that?
*For those of you who would like to check out the City Tavern Club, and it is worth visiting, Phillip is hosting the American Heroes Ball to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project, on Thursday, November 11th. Yes, this is a plug. No, he did not ask me to do this. It’s my blog and I can plug if I want to. 🙂 You can find out more information on the American Heroes Ball here: http://americanheroesball-eorg.eventbrite.com/