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Single In The Suburbs, Installment 137


Now that Sara’s officially unemployed, she chooses to center herself at home rather than running to bar with coworkers or to find Ethan. Just then, inspiration strikes!

By Sara Susannah Katz

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

n our last installment our writer, Sara, had just shared the bad news about getting laid off with her supportive beau, Ethan. Nursing her wounded pride at home, Sara turns on the TV searching for mindless comfort and finds inspiration instead…


Wednesday, 5 p.m.
My sign is Income Property, and it’s a show where this cute Tom Cruise-ish kind of guy helps people transform
I’m acutely aware of my need to get this project done myself.
their basements into gorgeous rental units. If I turned my basement into an apartment, I might be able to make enough money to cover my mortgage (or, at least, a big part of it). Of course, I’d have to pay for the renovation, but maybe I can do that with a home equity line of credit.

The host of the show is amazing. He takes these awful dungeons and makes them look even better than the rest of the house. I dig around online and find out what’s involved in asking him to help me with a project of my own. I find out that the guy is a carpenter (that’s reassuring; so many of these HGTV hosts are so attractive that I’ve had my doubts about whether they actually know the difference between a Phillips-head and flat blade screwdriver). It says he only accepts first-time homebuyers for the show. I wonder if I’d qualify. I mean, this is the first house I bought completely on my own. I wonder if I could convince him to do my basement.

I tell Ethan about my idea. “I think it’s a wonderful idea,” he says. “But why would you hire somebody to do that for you?”

“What do you mean?”

“I could do it for you. For free.”

I take a deep breath. I’m amazed by his generosity, but — maybe for the first time in my life — I’m acutely aware of my need to get this project done myself. Of course I’d love for him to help me. But having worked through that whole damsel-in-distress syndrome that affected the entire span of my failed marriage, I’d be unwise to fall back into that pattern of behavior now. And I’ve always believed that the best way to ruin a relationship of any kind is to hire that person to do some kind of work for you. It doesn’t really matter what kind of work; once there’s money involved, everything seems to change.

I thank him but decline the offer. “Maybe you can be my advisor and mentor on the project. I mean, if I have any questions.”

“Actually, Sara, I’ve got a question of my own,” Ethan says.

“What’s that?”

“Why don’t you just move in with me? I’ve got the space. And I adore you.”

I want to say something right away, lest he interpret my silence as
I think Ethan might be more of a romantic than I am.
refusal. “Oh, Ethan. That makes me feel so good. I adore you, too.” (Well, it’s not the L-word, but it’s close.) “To be honest, I’m really tempted. But it’s precisely because I adore you that I want to take this slowly. I don’t want to mess things up by rushing anything.”

“I really doubt you could mess things up,” says Ethan, shaking his head. “In fact, I can’t think of a single thing you could do to make me want you any less. You’re perfect.”

Oh, where have I heard that one before? Craig said nearly the exact same thing to me when we first started dating; something like, “I can’t imagine ever getting angry at you.” I think he ate that particular crow about a hundred times before we even got married. By the time we divorced, we both had spent far too many silent nights seething angrily at each other. I know the power infatuation has to obliterate one’s better judgment. I think Ethan might be more of a romantic than I am because I’d never be naive enough to say such things to anyone, no matter how strong my feelings were at the time. But I do enjoy this early stage of courtship when love appears to be deaf, dumb, blind… and occasionally stupid.

“Will you think about it?” Ethan asks.

“Think about moving in with you?”

“Yes.”

I have thought about it and I know I’m not ready. But I don’t want to hurt his feelings. So I say, “Yes, I will think about it. But be patient with me.”

“I’ll always be patient with you,” Ethan says, reassuringly.

Again, I feel compelled to inject a dose of reality into our conversation but manage to restrain myself. Let him be awestruck by me. After all, I deserve it, don’t I?


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 singleinthesuburbs@match.com. 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 138


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