I accidentally went on a date with a stranger recently.

My husband, Anthony, had sent me off to see Mad Max. He wanted me to have some time to myself, but he also wanted to talk about the movie with me afterward.

I left home early enough to have a beer beforehand. The tiny wine bar I visited was so packed, I asked the man next to its lone empty seat if that seat was taken. It wasn’t, so I took it. I got to chatting with the man.

He mentioned he was a musician. He’d just played solo nearby.

“What kind of music do you play?” I asked.

He started to reply, but I interrupted him.

(I’d envisioned my ex-boyfriend, Nathan, giving me an unimpressed look.
“If someone’s gonna give me conversation I could have with a computer,
I’d rather have it with a computer.”)

“Ugh! You must get that question all the time. Can I get a rewind?”

He laughed and said that was fine. My new opening question was, “How’d today’s gig go?”

His reply opened up such delightful conversation that I invited him to watch the movie with me.

We had a blast watching Mad Max, which I enjoyed more for the company than the film itself.

“The only thing was, I think he tried to kiss me afterward?” I told my husband when recounting my evening. “But why would he do that? I talked so much about my family!”

I wrote off the question until the musician texted me later that week. His messages revealed that I hadn’t misunderstood. Still, they were so thoughtful, I replied:

2015-08-06 03.43.43

His response confirmed he’ll be a rockin’ friend, and I was happy. I was just as happy when my husband spent a few hours toddler-wrangling with our friend Rara on Tuesday. Good people are good people, and their friendship should be celebrated regardless of gender!

(Rara is magnificent people.)

I smiled when Anthony said Rara asked if I’d be okay with them hanging out.

My own glow sometimes feels a little dull compared to Rara’s; I’m a single dark moon, and she’s a whole constellation of brilliant contrasts. But my feeling? It’s beside the point.

My now-husband once sent me and our first son on a 900-mile road trip with Nathan. “Take care of my family,” Anthony told him.

“I will,” Nathan replied as they hugged.

131221 FB post nathan

(He did)

I didn’t mean to get married, ever, but a man who’ll love your ex–and trust you with him!–is a man worth considering marriage for. And, I eventually decided, worth actually marrying.

There’s never any knowing what Anthony will do when he hangs out with his women friends, but trust isn’t a knowing thing. It’s a believing one. I believe great things about Anthony, with good reason: His past actions have given me abundant cause to do so.

That’s true no matter how dull or vibrant I feel, so I’ll keep smiling as I wave him off to visit friends of both genders,
remembering him readily
doing the same
for me.

  1. August 6, 2015 at 4:31 am

    Well this post gave me life. So full of love and positivism. Trust is vital in a marriage/relationship. I can learn so much from the way you think. I would not be comfortable if my husband had female friends. Perhaps it’s my age, or my past experiences, and I DO trust him! Funny how the word trust can be shoved into perspective like that. Thank you for sharing your experiences, I truly love reading them.

    • August 6, 2015 at 4:42 am

      Thank you so much! I read your comment right before preparing my lunch. I spent that time wondering what factors shape all these things. One for me was definitely my younger sister. Rache encouraged my friendship with her husband, who’s ended up being a second brother to me. And, of course, I’ve got something in both my eyes remembering all these journeys. I wonder where the road ahead will take me? I hope it’s full of joy and opportunities for increased wisdom, for both of us. ♥

  2. August 6, 2015 at 5:23 am

    Trust is so important in a relationship, isn’t it? When it’s there, it elevates the respect each person has for the other. Makes the couple much closer. But when it’s broken, it can take a very long time to repair–if ever.

    • August 6, 2015 at 5:27 am

      It’s true. I’ve heard some of the stories my friends have told, and I can only imagine what it’s like to … keep going knowing certain things. Sometimes I think “I’d do this” or “I’d do that,” but I think it’s all supposition until you’re there.

  3. August 6, 2015 at 5:31 am

    I really enjoyed reading this post because it really showed what trust is all about. I doubt that many couples have the kind of trust that you are describing here. Is it possible to be friends with the opposite sex with any of the “relationship trappings”? Obviously it is and you showed the perfect way to achieve that. I think what you have is something pretty special. 🙂

    • August 6, 2015 at 5:40 am

      I had a fantastic example in my sister and her husband, which warmed my heart to the (platonic!) love that can flow from not setting down bars. 🙂

      Still, I was astonished by Anthony’s response when I told him only one person had offered to drive me to introduce my mom and Li’l D. His response was a monosyllabic “sure” or “yep.” I prodded: “Really? Is that it? No concerns?”

      “Nope. I trust you.” That was another lovely lesson for me. ♥

      • August 6, 2015 at 5:45 am

        Sounds like an amazing guy!

  4. August 6, 2015 at 5:32 am

    You’re incredibly fortunate to have trusting, brightly-shining people in your life!
    I admittedly have trust issues stemming from various relationships and friendships, and not having a large number of real confidantes or folks just to watch movies with regularly can wear at your soul.
    I loved Fury Road!

    • August 6, 2015 at 5:42 am

      I feel so fortunate! My mom’s friends were often whomever was willing to spend time with her, which meant she was subjected to lots of small but potent cruelty by not-really-friends. I think about her experiences and am glad (i) she had my godmom, a true friend and (ii) for the amazing friends so unlike the “friends” I witnessed in my younger days.

      I’m going to have to watch Fury Road again! I don’t remember more of the funny conversation than the movie itself. *cough*

  5. August 6, 2015 at 8:40 am

    That’s one thing I appreciated about my husband as well–that he had no problem with, no trust issues with my ex and I still being friends, maintaining contact. He even invited him to a football tailgate with us.

    And how cool to strike up a friendship like that!

    • August 7, 2015 at 4:48 am

      This comment is the perfect thing to (re)awaken to on a Friday morning. (I’m glad I didn’t go straight to getting ready for the day.)

      Anthony’s always encouraging me to get out, and this was a great reminder of why I should. It was fun to do something spontaneous again, even something as small as inviting someone just met to a movie. I really did feel like I’d stepped into younger, adventurer Deb’s shoes for a little while. I’m happy to be this Deb, of course, but that doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes miss the times where I could say, “I feel like going to New York tomorrow” and buy a ticket just because. 🙂

      The fact the musician autonomously offered up the word “boundaries” (in a respecting-them kind of way) made me smile. I’ve experienced/witnessed a lot more, “Your ‘no’ is just a ‘yes’ waiting to happen,” and to that I say–heck, no! Heck, yes, for the (sometimes unexpected) people who appreciate them as more than roadblocks. 🙂

      • August 7, 2015 at 2:41 pm

        I understand that, sometimes it’s hard to remember that just because we are moms doesn’t mean that who we are is completely redefined.

  6. NotAPunkRocker
    August 6, 2015 at 10:04 am

    This is the way it should be; I am so glad you have that mutual trust.

    And a dark moon is no less stellar or heavenly than a starry constellation; sometimes it’s even more so!

    • August 7, 2015 at 4:52 am

      My mind (or was it my heart?) returned to your comment over and over again yesterday. Thank you so much for the gift of your perspective. As most everything changes and I wonder who I am and will be, through your words I understand I will forever be Dark Moon … and really, dryness and all, there’s a whole beautiful history–and present–in that. ♥

      • NotAPunkRocker
        August 7, 2015 at 9:26 am

  7. August 6, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    It can be hard to be friends with the opposite sex, because sex DOES enter the equation a lot. I suppose it depends on the person, right?

    • August 7, 2015 at 4:57 am

      Agreed on both counts! I’ve met a lot of folks who didn’t appreciate that “no” wasn’t “yes-waiting-to-happen.” I used to try coaxing such folks into seeing how unchanging was that “no,” before I realized that’s not how some folks are equipped to operate. I decided there’s no space in my personal life for someone who can’t hear that simple syllable and, hoo-boy, has life been kinder for it. For folks like the musician, who acknowledge and respect it, though, there’s plenty of space … even if I don’t have as much time out in the wilderness to find them anymore!

  8. August 6, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    How funny! I must say I’ve never accidentally landed myself a date, but this is totally a story line for lifetime (yours is too sweet for lifetime of course, we’d have to throw in some major plot twists and someone would have to kick the bucket). I think it’s so great that you and your husband have this kind of trust.

    • August 7, 2015 at 10:04 am

      I watched a few Lifetime movies while on maternity leave the first time around, so your comment makes me giggle. Indeed! 😀

  9. August 6, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Trust is a wonderful thing – and sooooo much easier to live with than its dark alternative.

  10. August 6, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    The dark moon is the most brilliant thing in my galaxy… and you are the most brilliant thing in A’s. He beams when he talks about you, which was great to see because my Inside Voices had me nearly convinced that that sort of love doesn’t exist anymore. But it does! I have witnessed it. Dave & I had a similar trust dynamic. It makes life a little softer, I think. Beautiful post. Y’all are magnificent people!

    • August 7, 2015 at 10:21 am

      There are at least 400 reasons I have tears in my eyes right now, same as when I first read this yesterday. I’ll touch on a few and believe–with reason–you understand the rest no even without more words.

      Your words on how A talks about me … that’s something I can’t experience, although I know he “talks me up” to his coworkers. To hear this fills me with a sense of goodness I can’t describe, yet, but it’s beautiful and I thank you for it. I love reading about you and Dave, and seeing a little more of that love, too.

      There is so much love out there. In here.

      And your opening words? Ah, tears. When I walk away feeling not so shiny by comparison (why compare?! fie on such things!), I can’t help but smile balefully at myself, because there’s certainly nothing in you inapiring any bit of that. Part of your brilliance is how you love and respect people as they come, not expecting or demanding they ought be someone else, nor in any way reflecting that they’re in any way inadequate as they are.

      This is such an uncommon thing, I think it’s possibly why I think, “I wish I were more like her!”

      I think the word for it is “grace,” which is somehow a lot more solid, gritty and real than I understood before. It takes strength and clarity. You exmplify grace I’d like to also have.

      Perhaps instead of feeling sad I’m not like that, I should rejoice that it exists … and my opportunity to learn from it, in earnestness, laughter and love.

      • August 7, 2015 at 11:17 am

        I think I object to the idea that A “talks you up” because he’s so very realistic about everything he says. I was going to say “shows you off” might be more right, but that’s not it either. He simply allows people to experience you the way he experiences you. Which is a testament to his wonderful communicator skills, the wonder of you, and the love between you both.

        In some ways, you’re much like my husband, so I understand the communicator’s need to express to someone else the amazing thing you know…. the amazing thing you know that other people may not be going slowly enough or quietly enough or gracefully enough to see. And one thing that delighted me when A was telling me that you’d have played in the dirt a bit with little foot, too, was that I *knew* it. That means I’m still alert to the magic of people not-as-loud-as-I. And that makes me feel somewhat… healed.

        The grammar in that paragraph was atrocious. 😀 But I hope the point made sense.

        I think despite the truth that we know not to compare ourselves to others, we do. And that’s okay so long as it is to build perspective of our village, rather than fill us with sad. I won’t ever-ever be as capable as you, but that’s okay… because when I can’t, I can call you and rejoice in the fact that you can. 😀

        • August 7, 2015 at 7:29 pm

          I’m still mulling this over/basking in the glow of it, but I wanted to send an important/interim message while doing so:


  11. August 6, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    This is such a beautiful post deb! It’s heartwarming to see a relationship filled with so much love and trust.. I have been reading your blog for over a year now, and have learnt so much from you about parenting, relationships, and becoming a better person.. You are an inspiration! 🙂

    • August 7, 2015 at 7:32 pm

      Thank you so much, for reading and for saying this. I feel pretty stumbl-y right now … but it could be because I’m focusing my attention on the stumbles instead of the times I’m standing tall.

      Happy weekend. ♥

  12. August 7, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    Okay, so I’m fully on board with this trust thing. The queen has no problem with me spending time alone with female friends, and when she was dancing professionally I had no problem with her traveling around the world with her partner. Trust is key. Trust is magic. But, my question is, who still says “rad?” 😝
    Sorry, had to be done.

    • August 7, 2015 at 2:30 pm

      1. So awesome about you and the queen–yes!

      2. I worked with a great guy who said “rad” all the time. I teased him for it … until I realized I’d started saying it. :p

      • August 7, 2015 at 3:49 pm

        I used to say it all the time… I think we should bring it back.

        • August 7, 2015 at 7:33 pm

          YES. Also “bitchin’,” which I picked up from a great guy at another job. Also after weeks of giggling at it and thinking, “I’d never say that!” Uh-huh.

          • August 7, 2015 at 8:34 pm

            Sweet, dude. We totally have to bring back those rad and bitchin’ words, “rad” and “bitchin’.”

          • August 7, 2015 at 8:37 pm

            I just realized, this generations “rad” is “amazeballs.”

  13. August 7, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    Lovely post. You are lucky (is one word for it) to have so much trust in your relationship with your husband. Being equally lucky I know it takes among other things a commitment to clear communication and owning your own stuff. And also time. I wouldn’t for a second think of anything other than trusting when Don hangs out with his women friends because, as you say, “His past actions have given me abundant cause to do so.”

    • August 7, 2015 at 7:41 pm

      I’m so heartened to hear about others experiencing the same thing. It surprised me so at the beginning because I’d seen such broken relationships that … I think I’d thought that was all there was, with very rare exception.

      Some people don’t like being wrong, ever. In cases like this, I am happy to be proven wrong. 🙂

  14. August 8, 2015 at 8:22 am

    Great post! Unmarried and not in a relationship, but as the majority of my friends are male, it’s important that whoever I’m with understands that I will be spending time with them. On the flip side, as I expect this from them, I’m understanding if ‘future he’ needs to spend time with his female friends as well.

  15. August 10, 2015 at 3:35 am

    You remind me of what is worth waiting for and fighting for.

  16. August 25, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this story because it didn’t progress as a story for a so-called “traditional” relationship would. It takes so much maturity to realize that one can have a friend of the opposite sex and not want to be in a romantic relationship with that person. Thanks for this.

  17. December 22, 2015 at 9:57 am

    This is exactly how I think relationships should be, and not often enough are.

    I’m glad you found a good one. 🙂

  1. August 24, 2015 at 7:41 pm
  2. December 26, 2015 at 2:13 am

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