During my one month relationship sabbatical, I batted around several questions: did Dexter love me? did I want to be married? was I afraid of commitment?

For the longest time, I believed I had a fear of commitment. But the thing is, when I know what I want, I commit to it. Wholeheartedly. With marriage, I’ve seen too much of what I don’t want. Too many people who settle into a routine, who focus on “stuff” and the accumulation of “stuff,” who stop making the effort, stop appreciating, stop taking risks, stop listening, stop making the other person a priority and by that I mean, become selfish and stop evolving as human beings. And this was what I realized – I don’t necessarily want the big house, with the big lifestyle, and the 2.2 kids in a nice suburban neighborhood with the same conversations with the same groups of people every third weekend of the month. I have no desire to commit to THAT. But me not embracing what I knew at the time to be of conventional relationships and marriages is not a fear of commitment. And it doesn’t mean I don’t want a relationship or marriage or a family.

The way I answered my question to marriage was by writing down what marriage meant to me and what I wanted in one – and when I looked at the list, I realized many items were absent from my relationship with Dexter and we were both to blame. The problem was, in order to have the marriage I wanted, I needed to change and Dexter needed to change and I couldn’t enter into a marriage expecting both of us to change.

Did Dexter love me? This question took me a little longer to answer than the others but I eventually realized that it didn’t matter. The question was: did I love Dexter? And my answer was yes and no. Based on what I understood love to be at the time, yes I did. But in reality no, because my understanding of love has changed.

I was selfish in my relationship. I didn’t love Dexter. I loved what Dexter provided me – emotionally and physically. I had my moments when I put aside my ego, but that wasn’t my natural state. And I’m not saying Dexter wasn’t selfish, because he was. But I can only change me.

Relationships are opportunities – to practice tolerance, sharing, and the absence of ego – which for me are the essence of god. And in my relationship with Dexter, I failed. Probably because I didn’t have god in my life. To me, god is love. For most people, myself included, just mentioning the word god causes discomfort. But replace the word god with love and all of a sudden, it’s a concept people can embrace.