I realized the other day, I never really wrote about how it all happened and the little I did write is kinda scattered across a ton of blog posts.
My ex Josh and I broke up, he was a serial cheater and left our 10 year relationship where we were in the middle of planning an elopement, for his coworker. Yeahhh… I dodged a bullet on that one.
The breakup was part of a series of things that happened in my life (my father died, etc.). Causing me to break pretty badly. I wasn’t okay, so I ended up going to Kauai to spend time with my family and just center myself. I typically go to Kauai a few times a year, just to hang out with my family.
Once there, I just confided in my cousins and talked through it all. I finally felt free and started to move forward with my life.
The Camping Trip that changed everything
I joined my cousins on a camping trip with a large group to Polihale (which is basically camping on this beach on the North-West Shore).
Dusty happened to be in the large group that went with us camping there.
I’ve known Dusty for years. Several of my cousins and their friends have had crushes on him over the years. I even came up with a term for it a few years ago, “Lusty for Dusty” that I’d tease them all with. He was an incredibly good looking guy, but I never thought of him like that. I was in a relationship, I had no reason to. He was just an acquaintance that hung around my cousins when I was visiting… until, that fateful Polihale trip.
I was newly single and between the warm Kauai sun, the beautiful Napli coast on the horizon… and lots of whiskey I was feeling pretty incredible. So I rocked my new bikini and was determined to have the time of my life.
I’d catch him staring and he’d flash his adorable boyish grin. Next thing I know we couldn’t stop intense eye contact all day. He was probably one of the best looking and fittest guys I had seen… and I was definitely enjoying the view.
We swam, did shots together, and flirted up a storm with nonstop teasing each other.
Feeling pretty overwhelmed by the first day, after dinner I snuck away from the bonfire for a walk. I sat in the sand and looked up at the endless stars, thinking how so grateful I was for The Breakup, for all of the horrible things that happened back home in California, because all of it resulted in me being exactly where I was.
Dusty found me and we sat there together, just talking for a bit. Then we ended up having one of the hottest makeout sessions under the prettiest stars I’ve ever seen.
He told me I was the most gorgeous girl he had ever seen and by the time he walked me back to my tent, everyone else was asleep. Nothing happened. I told myself that was all it would ever be. Just a harmless makeout session with an incredibly hot guy who is really good at saying things to make girls fall for him. Everyone has summer flings, right?
The next morning when I woke up, while I was happy it happened, I made up my mind that our steamy makeout session was a one time thing.
But Dusty had something else in mind. We ended up spending the entire day playing board games, swimming, and just talking.
He was so good-looking, I didn’t really expect much substance or heart from him. Usually the really good looking guys can be total meatheads. He wasn’t. The conversation just flowed and never felt awkward.
Here is the thing about me, I don’t do small talk. Talk to me about goals, what you’re passionate about, a book you recently read, or anything of substance and I’m hooked. Looking back now, I think that’s why we really hit it off. We didn’t talk about stupid stuff.
Not to say there wasn’t stupid stuff too, like favorite bands, The Office and How I Met your Mother quotes. Our banter was a ton of fun, but for me it was finding someone who was on the same wave length in terms of goals and just living an incredible life. That made me feel like we had been friends for years. We became instant friends. We took a long walk down to the end of the beach and sat in the sand. Ended up talking for hours.
I was totally honest from the get go about my recent heartbreak. I told Dusty everything. I told him about the coworker my ex cheated with. About the open relationship. About my part in it. How I let my family and religion get in the way of it all. About my insecurities and my greatest fears.
I remember this moment vividly where I literally had just spilled my guts and I was scared to look up and see how completely disgusted he’d be. Instead, the way he looked at me like I was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.
He explained that he had a reputation for dating a lot, but just never really found someone who he felt like understood his goals. Most of the people on the island are so laid back and chill, which is fun but it can be a sticky trap because he wanted so much more outside of the island and surfing all day.
We ended up making out again, and then again and again. It was like we couldn’t stop. I didn’t want to stop.
Then the next day we woke up really early to kayak Napali Coast. It was incredible and a day I’ll never forget. The Napali Coast is easily one of my favorite places in the world, I’ve seen it on boat and helicopter tours, but never like this. It was incredible. Exploring caves, seeing dolphins and sea turtles. That night we came back to camp completely exhausted but also strangely in sync with each other.
I had to admit to myself, that I liked this guy a lot. Maybe we could just be friends that makeout. A summer fling. That’s not too crazy.
Island Life with Dusty
After Polihale, he started joining the daily surfing sessions I’d have with my cousins. He’d call and text me, constantly. Or just come over to my cousins house to just hangout. There wasn’t a day that we didn’t hangout.
I used to live on Kauai, so I know it well. But he wanted to show me the island from his eyes. He’d pick me up in his truck and take me to his favorite spots on the island. We’d play each other our favorite songs as we just cruised around.
I got to see my favorite island in a completely different way. We went to Blue Cave and swam underwater to the deepest cave and it was INSANELY cool. We jumped off piers and from the highest rocks. We’d go surfing. Sometimes not even surfing… just floating around on our boards, looking up at the sky and talking. About life, love, friendships, traveling, and dreams. I felt like within days, we knew each other so well.
I told him how I was determined to come out of this breakup a better human. I wanted to be kinder, hotter, stronger, and happier. I wasn’t going to let this break me, I wanted to come out stronger.
Then we started working out together. I was not a fan of it at first. I’ve never really worked out with a guy I was into. But, it was incredible. He’s super into fitness and is an incredible motivator. We ended up just really pushing each other. That first workout turned into daily workouts and took our friendship to the swolemate level.
We even started doing cute couple workouts where he would challenge me to climb him. Or he’d lift me instead of weights. He’s incredibly strong and fit and it was hard not to swoon.
Somewhere around this point, I got pretty freaked out. I realized that we had become close so fast and I didn’t know what to make of it. I was fresh out of a 10 year relationship, and a part of me still loved my ex. I didn’t know how Dusty fit into all of that. I didn’t want to hurt Dusty.
The next day, he picked me up and we went on a hike. Which is where we ended up getting in our first argument. I was not in a good mental place that day, so I wasn’t my usual happy-go-lucky self. I just didn’t know how to tell him how scared and fucked up I felt on the inside.
We ended up just walking and talking through it all. He was just incredible. He held me, told me how beautiful and un-fucked up I was, told me how he’d never hurt me. Up until this point, we didn’t really talk about how we were feeling or where we saw this going.
He told me that he was falling for me pretty hard. All he wanted was to be around me. That he knew I wasn’t ready for a label, and he wouldn’t pressure me there. He felt like I deserved to be treated like a Queen and he wanted to do that. When we finally made it, we sat there looking out over the incredible mountains and he asked me out on our first official date.
For me, the hike was a turning point in our relationship. I felt like… I was finally dating another adult. I didn’t have to hold the relationship together. I could fall apart and someone was there to help me. I wasn’t scared of him cheating on me or lying to me. I trusted him. I wasn’t trying to be anyone other than who I was. For once, I was being taken care of.
It was weird because I always said the youngest guy I’d date would be my ex. But Dusty is actually younger than him. It didn’t feel like it though. Dusty was more confident, driven, and just honest about everything in a really kind way.
At this point I had moved to the other side of the island, to Poipu on the south shore to house sit for another cousin (where up to this point I had been staying on the North shore). Dusty made the drive to continue with our daily workouts and surfing. I met his parents, who were insanely cool and laid back. We all grabbed food together at the St. Regis and it was actually a ton of fun. His dad and I would joke around. His mom was incredibly sweet and we’d just chat about everything.
The First Date
Our first date was perfect. He got all dressed up and he was so incredibly handsome. Dinner was fancy, but the conversation was perfect, despite our nerves. After we went for ice cream at Lappert’s and there was a band in the outdoor shopping center, so we danced. I’m not easily swooned, but dancing with him there, I felt completely swept off my feet as he spun and dipped me. I was swooning hardcore. But the date wasn’t over, he told me he had a surprise. So we changed and then jumped into his truck.
He drove me down some scary dark roads and we ended up at this amazing beach. He parked in the sand and put all of the blankets and pillows he had stashed into the bed of the truck. We played music, drank wine, danced in the sand, and sat in the bed of his truck looking up at the stars and talking for hours. We both completely lost track of time.
He confessed that he had a crush on me for years. Told me how he once asked me to dance at a party and was shaking he was so nervous. How he wasn’t even going to go camping at Polihale that weekend, but when he heard I was back on the island, single, and going on the trip, he decided at the last minute to join. It was pure magic and the best date I’ve ever been on. By the end of the night, he literally knew every deep and dark secret I ever had. I held nothing back and for some reason, he didn’t look at me like I was broken. I knew then, that despite my bruised heart I would be able love again someday.
Making the most of my last week in Kauai
My family and all of his friends would not stop teasing us both. Remember how I used to always tease my cousins about being “Lusty for Dusty”. Big mistake. That was all I heard now. But, we didn’t care… maybe I was Lusty for Dusty. Was this just a summer fling? Maybe. I wasn’t sure, at the same time I didn’t want a label with him.
I invited him to all family functions. Which is not like me at all. I’ve always kept most of my relationships completely separate from my family. Just because they’re so special to me. But I couldn’t help myself with Dusty.
He joined my morning surf sessions with my cousins Cholt and Chase. And all of our cousin happy hours.
There was one day where all my family came to hangout at the secret pool in the Botanical Gardens. It was the perfect day. Just cuddling with Dusty, jumping off rocks, eating great food, and being surrounded by my favorite people. We drank too much and had to walk back across the street to Tots house, instead of driving. There we grilled, played board games, and just talked story. I felt incredibly whole and complete.
He had become one of my closest friends and we spent as much time as possible together before it was eventually time for me to leave Kauai. He took me to the airport that day, and we both cried. I still didn’t want a label. But I wasn’t ready for it to end either.
Back in California
I spent the entire flight back to California trying to figure it out. I didn’t have any answers really, other then that I wanted to see him again soon. I knew I liked him a lot. He regularly told me he was in love with me, but I couldn’t say it back. It was confusing because despite my best efforts, my heart still loved my ex. Chalk it up to 10 years of putting up with his antics and never giving up on him.
Dusty and I talked a day or two later, and he told me he wanted to come visit. Cue my overthinking and realization that I do not want a long distance relationship. I tell this to Dusty, not sure where this will take us next. He surprised by and offered to temporarily move to California so we can give this a try. See if it works.
I remember crying myself to sleep that night, so confused. Then something in me clicked. My ex dumped me for someone else after all we’ve been through together. He broke me in a way that I’ve never been broken before. He left me completely shattered and I’m still here breathing. I’m okay. But now I had a fearlessness that nothing could ever hurt that bad again. What did I have to lose?
It was an insane idea. The old me would’ve said hell no. I don’t jump in this fast. Let alone let a guy move in. But I could tell that… he really cares for me and my heart didn’t want to give up just yet. So, I said yes.
So yeah. That’s the story of Dusty and I.