The truth.

The good: Dexter had the most beautiful smile, and eyes that hypnotized me and were so full of life, and the most perfect, non-orthodontically enhanced teeth. Even with a receding hairline and a lip of a belly, he was handsome. And he was down-to-earth. In general, he was not ostentatious. He drove a beater car because cars are not assets and I liked this about him. He was also emotionally open. I learned how to cry (and I never cried because crying was a sign of weakness) because of him. My personality could be cold and closed and he was warm and open.

The bad: He had the kind of money that allowed him to be generous and he was generous when he wanted to be. When I was fundraising, he was the first whip out a $100 from his pocket. On our second date, he rented a limo to take us to the Inn. On our third date, we flew up to New York to see Phantom, dance on Tavern on the Green and ride around Central Park in a horse-drawn carriage. Anything I wanted, he made happen. Even my friends were envious. They wanted a Dexter too. A provider.

He gave me the keys to his apartment the second week we were dating. He called all his friends to tell them he was in love. I did too.

My friends thought I was crazy. I definitely made some waves. I had just come out of a serious relationship, with someone they loved and suddenly I was talking about getting married and having Dexter’s kids – this all coming from the eternally proclaimed player, the one they could depend on to never settle down. It was as if I had violated some friendship contract. And the first time they met him – how fitting. Dexter was well past sobriety, mumbling and being obnoxious, and I just sat there, trying to temper his exuberance and making an excuse for his sometimes indulgent personality.

The ugly: After just a month dating and spending every night at each other’s places, I was already thinking about moving in with him. Not because I definitively knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him, but because:

1) he didn’t have a car and I was sick of playing chauffeur and coordinating my overnight necessities

2) it presented a solution to my current dilemma. I wanted to take some time off from work (my would-be third leave of absence) to finish my novel. And I was sick of my job and the financial responsibilities of my apartment. So it was the perfect solution – move in with Dexter, be in love and write.

And so I did. But here’s the lesson I learned. All this time, there was this little voice inside telling me I wasn’t being honest with Dexter or myself. That was my conscious speaking. Neither of us really gave any consideration to the implications of moving in together. Not that Dexter wasn’t a willing participant. We were having sex once, sometimes two or three times a day and I was making his place a home. What man could resist that. But in general, we were both acting too capriciously and capitulating too easily to the ignorance of “being in love.” I see too many people doing this, moving in together out of convenience. Unless you’re talking about and looking at engagement rings prior to doing this, the relationship is almost guaranteed to fail.

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