Date #37 involved Shakeshack's 'Shroom Burger, a walk on the beach, and deep convos. This was my thirteenth date with Kelly, but also my last date with Kelly. I’ve climbed off the rollercoaster, friends. Last week, you read that Kelly came in contact with someone who had COVID-19, so we had to take a break from seeing each other. During that time, he did some thinking, I did some thinking, and then I did more thinking because I’m an overthinker. Eventually, we talked and came to the conclusion that a relationship was not in the cards for us.
If you're reading this and feel disappointed because you thought we were the couple of the century, you're not alone. I’m also disappointed and think Kelly is, too. We enjoyed some really memorable times, but in the end, we had different priorities.
I’m proud to say I wouldn’t have done anything differently during the time I dated him. I was authentically myself the whole time. I didn’t present what I thought he wanted to see. I was genuine, a bit quirky, sometimes neurotic, but I believe still quite loveable.
So, I want to explain why we are no longer seeing each other, what I learned from this short but informative relationship, and how I’m moving on. On ABC’s The Bachelorette, this would be the “Women Tell All” night, but it’s only one woman (me) and it will involve less body-con dresses and petty fights about “stealing him for a second” – if you know, you know.
Chris Harrison: “What happened Isabel?”
Well, I’ll tell you Chris…
It all boils down to priorities. Kelly’s work in the medical profession is incredibly demanding. One of the things I liked about him was his work ethic, but I realized it comes at a price. We’re both in our twenties and trying to establish ourselves in our respective professions, which means that work comes above almost everything, as it should. But when he canceled multiple times an hour or two before we were supposed to get together, I was disappointed. How could I not be? Sometimes I was fully dressed (hair straightened, makeup ready, and cute outfit engaged) and heading out the door, when he called to tell me the news. I tried to be as understanding as possible, respecting Kelly’s career ambitions, but I just really wanted to see him. I was disappointed and that weighed on him.
You may ask, Chris, didn’t he have any free time? I’ll give you an answer: of course. We did have several nice dates, but he also wants to be “selfish” (his words not mine) with his free time. He enjoys making gains (working out), hanging with his bros, and spending time with his family, which are all great things. But a relationship takes time, energy, and commitment and he didn’t want to dedicate the time. Kelly came into the relationship already highly scheduled and liked it that way: he was booked! We never went out on a weekend and that was frustrating for me. I wanted to do active things with him like swim in the ocean, hike the Point Dume trail in Malibu, peruse the fruit at a farmers market, and maybe cook dinner together. I’d gladly have made time for those things and I’m fairly busy, too. (Frankly, I wish I were busier. Before the pandemic shut down casting in LA, I had over 70 auditions and landed some sweet parts. It was so exciting to be launching my career, and hopefully, we’ll all be back working in the industry again soon.)
So, I want someone who is career-driven like me. But I also want someone who values a work-life balance, and more importantly, someone who values me. Kelly didn’t want to change the way he lives, which I respect, and I am glad he came to that conclusion now rather than later. I, on the other hand, am looking for someone who is my equal in wanting to build a relationship.
Chris Harrison: “Thank you for sharing those vulnerable details, Isabel. I think I speak for everyone when I say that we are proud of you and we love you. Coming up next, we are going to hear what Isabel learned from her time with Kelly.”
Thanks again, Chris.
Here are some Key Takeaways I’ve had as I reflect on my time with Kelly:
When I start dating again NEXT WEEK (thanks Date a Week LA), I want to understand the other person’s intentions. I think it’s great if people want to casually date, but I’m looking for someone who wants to LOCK. IT. DOWN. with this fine, young lady.
In my next potential partner, I’ll be looking for someone who has a good sense of humor; someone who doesn’t take themselves too seriously. Before Kelly, I didn’t realize how important that was to me, but I think it’s a characteristic missing from a lot of people I’ve dated. I am a person who loves to laugh, so it’s important that there’s funny banter between us. I’m sure the right person for me is still out there; I hope he’ll be funny, but also “gets me.” Sure, I’ll be the best version of myself when we meet, but eventually, he’ll see me sitting in a miss-matched pajamas set with mascara running down my cheeks after my tenth viewing of The Last Song, and he’ll love that version of me, too.
During this time, I’ve learned the importance of listening to my intuition. Since I write about my dating life every week, I’ve heard a lot of opinions about my relationships. I’ve also sought advice from my two sisters and my friends, but in the end, the relationship was between Kelly and me. No one was listening in on those intimate conversations, so I was the only one who could figure out what was really going on. Of course, the public format of writing about my dating life is self-imposed, and I wouldn’t suggest it to many people. Relationships are so personal, so while Kelly said he was okay with me writing about our time together, I’m sure if he were given the choice to date someone who was writing about their dating life vs. someone who wasn’t, he’d choose the latter.
Lastly, and I think this is important: I don’t regret the time I spent with Kelly. In fact, I'm grateful for it. He was interesting and very respectful of my boundaries, so props to him for that. For my part, should I have waited to tell him about my turtle collection or held off on the Nacho Libre quotes? Maybe. The truth is that I’m not ashamed or embarrassed by my personality. I’m confident, speak my mind, and I really like who I am. You may say, “wow gurl, calm down, let’s hold back on the self-praise.” And I say, “f*** off, Chris Harrison.” I am comfortable in my own Kheil’s infused skin! I look in the mirror and like what I see!! Take that, Bachelor franchise!
Chris Harrison: “I seem to have struck a chord… I’m going to move on to the last question: how are you moving on?”
Thanks Chris and sorry for swearing on national television.
Well, I’m proud to say I initiated our final FaceTime conversation. I had a lump in my throat the entire time but held it together. After I hung up, my eyes welled up and I had a good five-minute cry. Then, I walked out of my room, told my roommates, and decided to turn the evening around. I had a couple of birthday presents that I hadn’t been able to give Kelly, since I hadn’t seen him in a while. So, we did what any self-respecting crew would do: open the presents. We lit the luxury candle and cracked open the Monopoly Deal game. One roommate grabbed the funny/sentimental card I’d made out and quickly disposed of it before I had time to get the feels.
Finally, we pumped up the JAMS and I put on a fashion show with some brand-new date outfits I’d picked up on a recent trip home to Portland (prayers for my beautiful hometown). I strutted down the hall of our West Hollywood apartment to Smile by Katy Perry (which you should play now because it really sets the tone for the rest of this post). Wearing new heals, a black suede skirt, and a red tank top, I got rave reviews. My roommates reminded me how cute, maybe even sexy, the outfit would look on my next date. They made me smile, laugh, and feel a whole lot better – girlfriends are the best! I also felt relieved, happy, and less anxious, which I think was a sign that this was the right move for me.
Lastly, on the “home” page of this blog, it says: 365 dates, 52 dates, and 1 gal trying to find love. Right now, it’s 255 days, 37 dates, and still 1 gal trying to find love. If I’ve done my math right and also remembered it’s a leap year (minor oversight), I have 111 more days and 15 more dates. And my love story isn’t going to write itself, people. Fix me up!
That’s one of the best things about Date a Week LA, in my opinion. It has taught me that no matter what happens, there is always next week. So, although it has ended with Kelly, I am not done yet. I am going to pick myself up, dust myself off, and continue next week with Date #38.