Married Matt

My dating world is too small yet again

So, in May of 2003, I learned from a mutual friend that Lawyer Boy had a live-in girlfriend (Darby), and ended my relationship with him. I missed Lawyer Boy, but a significant other was a deal-breaker for me after I had worked so hard to leave my tumultuous affair with Married Matt.

Six weeks later, I reconnected with my ex-boyfriend, Basketball Boy. We were dating again, but it didn't feel as though we were as close as we had been before.

Basketball Boy's company had transferred him to Pennsylvania that November. He promised that he would be back down in DC on a regular basis, and he was. I saw him one or two nights a month, which was enough to keep me coming back for more. But, the timing of his move with our unsettled dating mode took our relationship to a new — and not necessarily good — level.

Basketball Boy and I talked on the phone and texted less. Once in a while, we would get in a sexting marathon, but those sessions weren't the norm. And, when he was coming down to DC, he had this knack for not giving me a heads up or making plans in advance. The result? My phone would ring at 1 in the morning (or 2…or 3), and Basketball Boy would be downstairs in the lobby of my building or asking me to meet him at a friend's house. I could have told him, "no," but I didn't. The sex was great, and I always loved spending time with him. I was like puddy in his hands.

Nonetheless, I knew that things had changed and our connection was different. Basketball Boy and I would go out on dates, but those dates were never lengthy affairs (breakfast, movie, quick dinner, etc.). And, some of his visits just consisted of a few hours of sex, a few hours of sleep and me driving him wherever he needed to go in the morning.

It was clear that work came first, coaching baseball and his best friends came in at second, and I was a distant third. What's that old saying? If it looks like a duck and it walks like a duck, then it is a duck? Well, our "dates" seemed liked booty calls and felt like booty calls so they must have been booty calls, right?

"This is starting to feel like I'm a booty call," I told Basketball Boy. "When you're coming to town next, would you mind letting me know as you are driving down? "

"You aren't a booty call. We've known each other forever. I always make time for you, but I can't stop working on the ride down to call you," he said.

"Well, then text me…or something. I love seeing you, but the 2am calls after you've been out drinking with your friends are getting old," I explained.

That pattern didn't change much, but by August of 2004, I had…a little. I wasn't sure if I was ready to date someone else, yet I knew that I wanted a more defined relationship. At that time, the dating website, eHarmony, was taking off and I fell prey to the company's great television marketing techniques. I set up a profile and began e-mail exchanges with a few guys.

I didn't feel pressured to find anyone or go out on dates so I waited until I found a guy with whom I thought I could connect. Calvin was black, Christian, athletic, optimistic and doing well in the tech field. After two weeks of e-mails, we decided to meet for drinks on the Georgetown Waterfront.

The weather was perfect, and the Waterfront is one of my favorite spots in DC. Calvin made me smile and laugh. Conversation was easy with him, and not surprisingly, we knew some of the same people in town. (I had met Calvin's business partner several years prior at The Palm, and he ended up designing the website for my first law firm.) After an hour or so of an enjoyable first date, I excused myself to the bathroom.

As I was walking inside, I wondered if I was ready to move on and date someone else. I also was trying to decide if height was a deal breaker for me. See, Calvin was 5'8", and I'm 5'9 1/2". I know that's not much, and I have dated shorter guys before, but it's not my preference.

I headed back outside from the 'loo and realized that I didn't have to figure that all out right then and there. This was just drinks and calamari. I wasn't marrying the guy, and he hadn't even moved in to hold my hand yet. Why over-think things?

I walked up the four steps from the patio to the bar level. Calvin saw me from the other end of the bar, and we smiled at each other. Then, I turned and found myself face-to-face with…

Lawyer Boy.

All the single (and proud of it) ladies…now put your hands up!

When I meet someone for the first time, I'm often asked, "Are you single, City Girl?"


I gaze into the person's eyes and notice his or her surprise and concern on my behalf. Any of the following questions might be uttered next:

"How old are you?"


"A girl like you? You're a catch!"

"Isn't your biological clock ticking?"

"Aww. The right guy is out there. You'll find him."

"You're not getting any younger. Don't you want to get married?"

If I actually answer the follow-up questions honestly, it would catch most people off-guard. Yes, I'm single, but I'm not necessarily looking to get married. It amazes me that in 2009, that's not a choice that garners as much respect as the other options out there.

My friend, Ash, and I got into a discussion about this recently. She and I are the same age, have made smart career choices, would be deemed "a catch" by conventional standards, and aren't sure if we see marriage in our future.

We weren't raised with marriage as the end goal or even a major life goal. We are both only children and value our independence. Our families emphasized our education and doing well in whatever profession we chose. We happily take trips, go to restaurants, and head to the movies on our own. We have an active social life with wonderful girlfriends. We don't go to sleep at night, feeling that our lives are incomplete because there's an empty pillow in the bed next to us.

"We don't need a man," Ash said, summing it up perfectly!

"And, a lot of the time, we don't even want one," I replied, as we both laughed.

I've admitted to being commitment-phobic in the past, but that's very different from where I am now. To provide some clarification, here's the back-story:

At 16, I broke up with my high school boyfriend, Boston Christian. My Mom thought that was a smart move, and told me that I shouldn't have a boyfriend in college. She also informed me that she didn't want me to bring any guy home unless we were getting engaged. (Keep in mind that this was coming from a woman who defied Irish-Catholic norms by focusing on her career and not getting married until she was 34 years old.)

The "no-boyfriend" mode worked for me since I viewed my family and girlfriends as the most important things in my life. School and work came in at the second tier. And, guys were "other" — for sex. Granted, I had a lot of sex so I won't devalue one of my favorite hobbies. But, it was just that to me… a hobby!

At around 25, shortly after my Mom died and my relationship with my Dad changed significantly, I entered a phase of being fearful of commitment. That lasted for quite a while, and I'm sure was a huge reason why I ended up in serious relationships with married men (Married Matt and Lawyer Boy) and fellow commitment-phobes (Basketball Boy).

Now, though, I'm in a new phase. I'm open to finding someone in my life to spend time with, but I realize that I LOVE my life as it is. I don't know that I want to share it with someone. The thought of coming home to the same person every night is just not that appealing to me. The only child in me craves her alone time, the Type A girl in me wants to keep my place immaculate, and the independent woman in me doesn't need help with her bills nor anyone to question how much time she spends with her girlfriends.

On the sex front, I used a line in college that "I like pizza, but I wouldn't want it everyday." There's a large part of me that still feels that way. Only sleeping with one person for the rest of my life? I might not perish the thought, but monogamy doesn't exactly have me jumping up and down.

Am I adverse to love or marriage? Not at all! I do have a sappy, Hallmark side to my personality. And, I respect the idea of marriage, but I'm not going to get married for the sake of it. If I can look into a guy's eyes and know that I'm going to be faithful to him forever, then yes, I'd consider getting married. But, the thought of "'til death do us part" seems like quite a stretch for me at a time when I don't really care to spend more than one or two nights a week with any guy.

And, since marriage and children are related subjects (pun intended), I'll address the question of kids. I see myself adopting one of the millions of children in the world who is in need of love, a home and a family. I don't need a man to do that biologically or financially.

In addition, when it comes to child-rearing, I worked as a nanny or babysitter during high school, college and law school. I have very definitive ideas about raising a child, and am disappointed at the fact that the majority of my girlfriends with children work outside of the home, yet are responsible for a disproportionate amount of the workload inside the home. I would much rather pay for a nanny who has experience with child care and will follow my instructions than have a man who is supposed to be my partner in parenting not doing his share.

I also have quite a few friends my age who don't care to have children…ever. Some are married, some are in relationships, and some are single. And, I've met a couple of women in their 30s who are starting to use men the way that men have traditionally used women. These women want some male companionship for dates and sex, but don't want to be in a relationship. Women's choices might not fit neatly into little boxes like they used to, but that doesn't have to be regarded as a bad thing!

Why did I write this post? I wanted to explain where I was coming from at this point of my life and show respect for the many choices out there that women in their 30s are making.

I'm 36, single and happy! If I want to get married someday, I will. And, if I don't, I won't be sitting at home crying about it. I define my life, not a man or my marital status.

Oh, and the next time you meet a 30-something single woman, try to leave the judgment and "aww, that's too bad" remarks out of the conversation. Some of us actually are single and proud of that fact!

The Perfect Home

February 2003

I had been inside Married Matt's house before – several times, in fact. Now, though, I looked at the place differently because his wife was expecting. Now the perfect couple in the perfect home with the perfect dog would soon have the perfect child who would sleep all through the night in the perfectly-accessorized Pottery Barn Kids nursery. Can you feel the nausea setting in? I know – and I'm not even the one experiencing morning sickness.

I thought Married Matt and Katie had this great marriage. And, for almost three years, I had done a fairly good job of convincing myself that what Matt and I were doing had no bearing on his other life, his real life. Matt and Katie had a marriage. He and I hung out. They had a commitment. He and I were friends who had great sex. Since I never wanted what they had, I continued to justify in my slightly warped head that this whole affair was okay.

All that changed when I was in this house last week. We were having sex, and rather than being 100% focused on that, I kept looking up at the Baby Name Book up on the nightstand. I couldn't remain emotionally detached from this situation any longer.

After we were finished, Married Matt fell asleep. But my brain – or was it my guilt? – wouldn't let me get any rest. I couldn't stop thinking about the baby-to-be. I saw Matt differently. I looked at us differently. My girlfriend's words from a few weeks ago echoed in my head:

"How would you feel if you found out that your Dad was cheating on your Mom when you were conceived?"

She's right; I know it wouldn't matter who Dad was cheating on Mom with or whether that woman wanted to split my parents up. All that would matter was the act of cheating itself.

I didn't want to wake Married Matt up so I went downstairs in the basement, and just cried and cried. To make matters worse, there were photos of his wedding day and framed love blessings everywhere I turned. (I mean, come on, who the heck has wedding photos in their bathrooms?) I was freaking out already and that just made everything worse.

While looking around at this seemingly beautiful home, it started to bother me that I was the only party who couldn't sleep. Why was I the only one who was remotely affected by a conscience? Why was I the only one who was thinking of how to get out of this since a child was on the way?

I guess that's the benefit of living in such a perfect world. There's nothing wrong on the surface, and nothing to be afraid of, and no one ever has to have any real problems. Oh, except the fact that Perfect Married Matt is cheating on his Perfect Wife. Perfect, huh?