L.A. Affairs

I know why he broke my heart. He had to. And I understand.

I seem to be the 13- or 14-month relationship queen. My last three ended right at this time. I had no idea I was actually there with this last one.

It came so fast — the end, that is.

We were one of the few Tinder success stories. We met — yes, 13 months ago in Santa Monica and had our first less-than-enthusiastic date (I wasn't that interested, and he knew it). It was a type thing. See, I've always been athletic, running a marathon a year for the last 11 years. And I've always dated athletic guys; sexy, fit, a little macho … it was my thing. I liked him so much already from simply texting and talking — this was a big day!

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But of course, expectations were high, and I left feeling, well … "meh."

Harry knew it and pursued anyway.

"Come on, the date wasn't that bad!" he called to say the next day. It made me laugh. It was brave. It was disarming. And it worked.

Over the next few dates, I grew to like him more. Days became weeks, weeks became months and one sunny morning, three months later, he called me. I had just left his place in downtown Los Angeles to head to work. He watched me drive away and, moved by the moment, the words were spilling out of his mouth … even though there was one heavy thing weighing on his brain: He was about to be let go from his job, which he moved to L.A. for. The company was looking at a 25% reduction in the work force, and because Harry was close with his boss, he got the heads-up that Nov. 1 would be his last day.

But that morning, the only thing on his mind was me.

"I know I'm not supposed to do this over the phone, but I watched you drive away, and I'm so happy, and we had such a great morning, I have to tell you — I love you."

It was the best phone call I ever got.

And yes, he wasn't "supposed" to do it over the phone, but here he was, living life 1,000%.

No rules, just passion, honesty and guts.

He said what he felt, and that's how he got me.

It's how I fell for him.

The trouble was the job thing. Month after month he'd look, apply and not hear back, or apply, get an interview and not get it, or get an interview, get a second interview and be so close but just miss it. The dwindling funds and low unemployment checks didn't help his self-esteem or bank account. Despite these lean times, he was generous to me. Always. He was just an amazing boyfriend.

The second problem was, I was nine years older and wanting badly to get married and have a baby. I wanted to get a place with him, move in, move forward. But everything was put on pause because of the lack of a job. It was starting to take its toll.

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This last job application, we were pretty certain he'd get, even if the salary was low. It was at a university working with a think tank on foreign affairs. He was a perfect fit. I felt a sense of calm coming — finally, the search was over. But the stress had been getting to us. We'd fought the day before his second interview, and I wasn't speaking to him — well, only enough to wish him luck before and find out how it went after. We didn't talk for two days after that … and then he didn't get the job. They "loved" him, but the other candidate knew some of the board members.

It took the air out of him. It broke him — and he didn't want to break me anymore. He's moving back to Massachusetts now where he has family and a work opportunity, and I'm losing my best friend. We loved each other so hard. We fought so hard, fought to smile, to have fun, to not let this bad luck break our spirits. But it won, and it's taking him away. And I can't be angry with him. I know how hard he tried, how much he wanted this to work. It just didn't go our way and we have nothing left to give.

I love you, Harry. Fiercely.

Many months ago, I cleared space for you. It was the start of us moving forward and sharing a space together. I saved you a drawer, but the truth is, you saved me from meeting someone else who may not have treated me as well as you did. You taught me what to expect and what not to accept. Most of all, you taught me how to love. How to be patient, generous, selfless and kind. How to love despite imperfections and talk through a disagreement instead of quit.

My "clock" may be ticking, but I will never regret a single day I spent with you.

The author lives in Santa Monica and is at work on her first novel and a screenplay.

L.A. Affairs chronicles the current dating scene in and around Los Angeles. We pay $300 a column. If you have comments or a true story to tell, email us at LAAffairs@latimes.com.

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