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Male Mind: Joel, Malibu Mogul

"The most important thing to do in a relationship is shut up and listen."

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Welcome to Male Mind — The interview series featuring a different man’s take on love-life topics every month. From dropping the right cues to making the first move, Evyenia Trembois gets the inside story straight from the source.


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Joel and his fiancé, Kim.

Joel and his fiancé, Kim.

J: My fiance and I met through a matchmaking service, did you know that?

E: I did not! Tell me about it!

J: Well, my wife of 26 years, Ria, passed. So after she was deceased for a while… the reality of living alone set in. You get kind of lonely. But at the same time, you sort of enjoy your freedom too. It’s a mixed, interesting phenomenon that you go through.

E: What did freedom mean to you as a single man?

J: Well… you get up when you want to get up. You do whatever you want around the house, and you come and go as you please. You want to eat a greasy cheeseburger? You do that. That said, I’m much more health conscious now. My current fiancé has gotten me into hiking. I’m in much better shape. I always went to the gym but I’ve grown to be more serious about it. But the freedom… it’s just not having any responsibility to another person. It’s kind of nice once-in-a-while when one of us has to take a business trip, we get a little time to do our own thing and that’s healthy!

“I have a lot of single friends who have trouble staying at home and being by themselves.” 
 

J: I never had that problem. You have to be comfortable with yourself. Balance is important.

E: Ok, back to the story of how you met your current fiancé!

J: Right! My VP of sales’s wife was working for a matchmaking service at the time, and he suggested I call her up and see what she had to say. I ended up getting introduced to Kim. She was my first and only introduction. We hit it off! We live together now and are engaged!

E: Wow! That’s crazy that she was your first match! What do you think it was that made it an instant connection?

J: We have a lot of similar values. Family is very important to both of us. I don’t have any kids, but I’ve always valued the importance of family. Family and friends are very important in my life. I was married to Ria for 26 years, and she was one of 10 siblings so I was exposed to a big family there. And I still have terrific relationships with all of her brothers and sisters. They’ve been very supportive with my moving forward. So these are important parts of my life, and I know it’s very important in Kim’s life. It’s all worked out rather nicely.

E: Were there any challenges with Kim having kids? I know they are adults, but…

J: No, not really. Her son lives with us, and he’s been terrific to have around. He helps out around the house and comes and goes as he pleases. He’s an adult. And Kendall (her daughter) is an absolute joy to have around. I’ve been very fortunate to develop my own relationships with both of them. There’s a lot of friendship and love there.

E: As a business owner, how have you balanced your professional and personal life?

J: There’s always a challenge with that. I’m kind of weird; I get up 3:30 in the morning because there is so much of the world that’s on the East Coast, and I have to work on both timezones. That doesn’t mean I get out at 2 in afternoon. Not when you own a business! There’s always work to be done. And of course, I go to the gym. I work hard to stay in shape. Those are the kinds of things that cut into personal time.

Also, Kim and I both have a lot of friends so we’re constantly going and going and doing things, and having people over. So the challenge is carving out enough time for us. But, it’s not bad. Neither one of us feels neglected. We’re two separate people. We both bring experiences from our past lives into the life we’re building together. Two people who are adults and have their own thoughts and feelings.

“I think the most important thing to do in a relationship is shut up and listen.”
 

E: What advice would you give to single people who are having a difficult time making room to prioritize a romantic relationship?

J: Well, we have a date night every Friday night. So we try not to do anything on Friday nights that involve anyone or anything but us. And if something major comes up, we make sure to reschedule; we’re really good about that. Just going to a nice restaurant, having a leisurely meal, catching up, maybe make plans for a vacation. It’s really nice.

E: So just carving out some time every week dedicated solely to the personal or romantic aspect of your life, and sticking with it.

J: Yes.

E: How long did you two date before you got engaged?

J: About a year and half. She moved in a year after we met. We don’t have a wedding date set yet; we’re taking our time. We’re committed to each other, and I am very much in love with her.

E: Are there any tell-tale signs for making those steps like moving-in or getting engaged?

J: No, you’re either feeling it or your not. You can’t put these things on a schedule. You can put a date night on a schedule, but not the bigger things. Half the battle is finding someone that you click with… being aware of the possibilities that ‘could-be’ with a partner.

With a dating service, you have to say ‘stop’ so you can actually digest and consider. Otherwise, they send you more profiles for the next weekend! After Kim and I had two dates, we agreed: ‘dating profiles on hold.’  

“I think if you find someone that you like, you have to create space to see if it can develop.”
 

E: I see what you mean. I think the fact that we are constantly being bombarded with options on apps makes it really difficult for people to settle down and pick one person to be with. There’s that ‘next best thing’ mentality.

J: Yeah. And if we had dated and ended up not clicking, then we would have moved on, no harm no foul. But we both felt something, so we were smart, we stopped, and look what it has become! There’s no ‘one-way’ to do anything, though. When you lose a spouse, there’s no one way to grieve, to mourn that person. I went to a grief counselor for a little while. That really helped me through it, and I have terrific support from Ria’s family. And that got me through it; it got me on my feet, and I realize that she would want me to move forward in life, and that’s something that I’ve done.

E: Do you have any advice for mature, single women out on the dating scene?

J: Go into it with your eyes open. Go into it continuing to embrace your own values. Don’t settle. You’re not going to have everything with anybody, but you can nail the important stuff. Look for someone that is a quality person, someone sincere, caring… and don’t play Mom to your new boyfriend.

There’s an actual psychological term called loco perantis, and that is when the spouse tries to become the other person’s mommy or daddy. Obviously, that’s bad. You must let people be themselves. Criticism can be an important thing in relationships, as long as it’s constructive.

I think you have to accept people as they are. Some women have a tendency to want to re-make the guy. Don’t get me wrong, we can definitely use some polishing! But not constantly, and as a function of complete control. 

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