Marcy Miller is a survivor on many levels.
You could think of the University of Pennsylvania grad’s memoir, Rebooting in Beverly Hills: A Wise and Wild Path for Navigating the Dating World, as a sort of boot camp with a mix of laughs and anguished moments, based on her own experiences.
Some of Miller’s stories will strike a nerve, but you will feel much better and stronger when you’ve completed her “workouts” of life experiences.
Through the book, Miller says she hopes to teach other women facing unpleasant midlife surprises not only how to fight back, but also how to think strategically in their personal lives in order to come out on top.
Miller’s third husband remained by her side during her unexpected bout with breast cancer, but a couple of years later, she discovered he was cheating on her when she found a letter from Bergdorf Goodman in New York asking him how she liked the sable he bought her.
It was, to say the least, news to her.
The elegant, willowy attorney who also designs jewelry effortlessly blends in with other fashionable Beverly Hills professionals at Café Med, one of her favorite hangouts, where we met to talk. Her optimistic presence belies a wave of unfortunate luck in relationships and health that could send less secure women into a tailspin.
However, it is her tough spirit and resourcefulness that prompts her to share instead of despair.
Throughout her life, Miller was a go-getter who excelled at Penn and Georgetown University before establishing herself as a successful D.C. attorney.
However, this was not the case for her first marriage. Though she had it in the back of her mind that she would eventually move to California, she stayed in Baltimore so her son could retain a sense of stability until he left for college.
Feeling secure in her marriage to her third husband, and having survived breast cancer, she was ready to begin again in Beverly Hills, even without practical knowledge of how to navigate the freeways and supermarkets.
After her son left for college, Miller recalls, “my husband was fine with the decision to move to California, as I faced mortality and he respected my desire to live the rest of my life a certain way.”
“When we first moved out here in 2002, I found this place to be the Garden of Eden,” says Miller. “At a time where cancer could have torn us apart, it seemed to bring” her and her husband together. “However, by 2005, there was a growing disconnect between us.
“He was approaching 50, which for me gave weight to the common belief that men really do go through a midlife crisis. There was another woman out to get him, and she got him.”
After 11 years of marriage to a man she believed made her happy, re-entering the dating scene was a culture shock.
“I wasn’t a suspicious person, so I never would have thought he would have cheated, until the information I found by accident revealed the truth,” Miller says.
“When you become suspicious, the relationship is over. I do not want to look over my shoulder the rest of my life. If there is anything I have learned through trial and error, there are several people out there who can be the right person for you.”
Miller put her courtroom smarts to work not only to uncover the mystery mistress, but also to get herself out of the lie she was living. This, in turn, propelled her into a journey through Los Angeles’ infamously challenging singles scene.
She not only found herself ambushed by gossip from assumed friends, but also crossing the minefields of failed dates and online dating websites. “The stories of these experiences were so outlandish that we had to pull over because we were laughing so hard,” she recalls of a drive during which she and a friend discussed tales. “When my friend suggested putting these down on paper because it would be ‘good therapy,’ I jumped right into the process, especially as I am a lawyer, and I love to write.
“As I did more and more writing, and the short stories evolved into more of a memoir about dating, I felt this would be something valuable to share with other women, between being a breast cancer survivor as well as a survivor of the dating scene.”
“Everybody has some kind of disability or baggage,” she continues. “The problem is in our heads and not in the heads of other people. Once you get past your insecurities, you will be in better shape and more open to meeting the right person.
“You have to be totally upfront about what you are looking for, because you do not want to attract somebody who ultimately won’t be attracted to you in the long run, or somebody you are not attracted to.
“Don’t give up on what you may find online, as I am hearing that relationships formed from online dating sites are becoming increasingly successful, and it has become more socially acceptable to date online.
“We’re seeing fewer of those married guys looking for younger single women.”