Single In The Suburbs, Installment 131

Caught unawares by Craig’s sudden outburst, Sara feels torn; should she reconcile with her ex, or choose a new path for love with free-spirited Ethan?

By Sara Susannah Katz

To read the entire series of articles from the beginning, click here.

n our last installment, our columnist was interrupted during an emotional outpouring from ex-husband Craig by a phone call from her current flame, Ethan. Who will she choose… Craig, whom she’s pined for, or Ethan, the handsome handyman?

Wednesday, 2 p.m.
I’m not going to lie. This is a new relationship, so I decide to set a precedent. I’m going to tell Ethan the truth, and if he’s so insecure that it sours him on our relationship, so be it. I’m tired of contorting myself to make other people comfortable. “I’m at Brazen Joe having coffee with Craig.” There’s a moment of dead air which I interpret as disapproval. Finally Ethan says, “Tell
I’ve let Craig know that this conversation can’t go on ad nauseam
Craig I said hi.”

“Ethan says hi,” I whisper.

Craig smirks. “Tell him I said hi back.”

“I heard that,” Ethan says. “What are you two talking about?”

“Excuse me?”

“I’m sorry. That was intrusive. It’s none of my business.”

“Can I call you back?”

“Sure,” he says. “Hey. Sara?”


“I’m really sorry. I feel like a jerk.”

“No worries,” I say, noticing that Craig is watching my face and listening to every word. I bet he’s getting a little thrill thinking he might have stirred up some trouble in paradise. I glance at the clock on the wall. “I’ll call you back in about 15 minutes,” I tell Ethan. I’ve set another boundary: I’ve let Craig know that this conversation can’t go on ad nauseam, and that when I’m done, in exactly 15 minutes, I plan to call someone higher up on the totem pole.

I snap the phone shut and toss it back in my purse. “So, what’s going on with you?”

Craig proceeds to tell me that he recently had an epiphany. He was in bed with one of the many 20-somethings he casually dates when she wanted to go for a second round and he realized he couldn’t. “I was too old. Too tired. And I thought, What am I doing? I’m too old for this nonsense,” Craig admits, eyes pleading.

“Wait a second,” I say. “You had erectile dysfunction and that led you to believe you’d be better off with me? Thanks a lot.” I start putting on my coat as I slide out of the booth to leave. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” I mutter, angry and insulted now. “A bit of advice, Craig. You’d better work on your technique.”

“Wait! No! Sara, you don’t understand. That came out all wrong. That’s not what I meant.”

“Oh, I think you made yourself quite clear,” I say,
“Meet your dogs? Wow. That’s a big step, isn’t it?”
dismissing Craig completely. “And do me a favor. Keep Mr. T.”

Wednesday, 3 p.m.
I call Ethan on the way home. (At this point I should say that I dialed the phone before I started driving. I’m not a big fan of people who drive and dial — or worse, drive and text — and am secretly praying that our state legislators will pass a law against drivers using cell phones altogether.) Ethan picks up on the first ring. “Hi, beautiful,” he says in a voice like warm honey, smooth and sweet. “I want you to be here.”

“Where’s ‘here?’” I ask.

“My house. I want you to meet my dogs.”

“Meet your dogs? Wow. That’s a big step, isn’t it?”

“Ummm, I think we’re ready.”

Ethan stays on the phone, helping me find my way to his cabin on Hickory Leaf Lane. It’s only 11 miles outside the city limits but it feels like it’s a whole world away, tucked into a gorgeous valley that borders the national park. As I approach the house, the kind of contemporary cedar and steel two-level box you’d find on the cover of Dwell magazine, I see Ethan on the porch waving, three large dogs at his side, tails wagging. He greets me with a deliciously long kiss. “I can’t believe you’re actually here,” he says, then kisses me again. He points toward his Irish Setters. “Ladies, may I present Miss Sara. Sara, this is Sadie, Angela, and Cosette.”

I reach down to give each one a good scratch behind the ears. “Pleased to make your acquaintance.”

“They like you,” Ethan says. “That’s a good sign.”

“Don’t they like everybody?” I ask.

“Definitely not. In fact, I consider them my good girlfriend detector.”

“Is that what I am? Your girlfriend?”

He looks at me and smiles. “Is that what you want to be?”

Attention, faithful fans of Single in the Suburbs! Our writer, Sara, will be winding down her column with the final installment scheduled to appear in October 2010. We’d love to hear how the ongoing saga of Sara’s love life has affected you personally. Have you tried online dating yourself? Have you struggled to re-enter the dating world after the end of a long-term relationship? Did Sara’s story encourage you to get out there and date again? Send your thoughts to Your comments and stories may be included in a follow-up article discussing the series’ overall impact and what Sara sees for herself in the future.

Sara Susannah Katz is a writer in the Midwest.

Read Single In The Suburbs, Part 132

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