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A more accurate layer to this dynamic would be where I was in my life when these guys had entered it.Often, I was in an emotionally unstable transition (starting college, starting my career, avoiding my mother’s illness), and these men showed up and made me laugh or feel like I was the most enchanting woman in the world and I didn’t want to leave.Until we could no longer act as each other’s safety nets anymore.You could also argue my romantic preferences weren’t entirely preferences, but a modern conundrum: Today’s average straight, single gal is wading in a dating pool where she outnumbers male college graduates six to four, and where more than one in the six guys she’s talking to doesn’t have a job (and two-thirds of those unemployed dudes say they’re not even looking for one).Instead, he slept on a makeshift bed-couch in the living room. When we first hooked up, I was just beginning my freshman year of college and by the time we broke up, I was juggling two internships, a bartending job, a 4.0 and a pretty serious partying schedule that didn’t include him.It was here, with his father bumbling in to ask, “What’s going on? What kept us together wasn’t as exciting as sex or arguments over our incompatibility — but that I could show up at his place at 10 p.m.I began to realize how important it was to be with someone who wasn’t dependent on me (or their mom), but who chooses — every morning when he kisses me on the forehead, and every night when I give in to his questionable Netflix suggestions — to be with me, and I with him. Most of my life, I wasn’t sure if I ever wanted to get married — probably because it seemed impossible to be able to stand someone, anyone, for the rest of my life.But now I understand that when you have a bond that’s multi-faceted, and you’re with a partner who’s your equal, your best friend and your very own beacon of smoldering grins, you’re willing to drop the paranoia of who will leave first.

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There is the risk — others, of course, might call it faith — that the two of you have what it takes to make it work, that you are willing to put in that work when one of you is a little irksome, even a downright shithead.

His failed marriage didn’t make him defected, but a man who had been through some stuff and had been forced to grow — and that was refreshing.

He took me to museums and talked about politics deeper than a 16-page article, and at first I worried that he was too smart, too cultured for me, but once I got over my insecurities and learned to find my legs on this equal ground, I felt brighter to form opinions about his opinions, and more inspired in my own writing to see the artwork he was creating.

Another who was ablaze with self-confidence and sexual magnetism, but whose mom still cooked for him several times a week.

I even dated a player type who seemed like he might dump me and he did.

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