Illustration: by Marylu E. Herrera
This week, a woman sneaks around with a work contact who everyone says is wrong for her but whom she may be in love with: 31, in a relationship, Brooklyn.
8 a.m. No one at work knows about my “boyfriend.” We haven’t officially used that term around each other, but I call him that to myself and my friends. I work in biotech, and he used to be a client at my job — he was someone with a lot of money who hired my team for a project.
So when I sneak out of his house in the morning, I’m stupidly paranoid. It’s not like my colleagues are going to spot me on the Upper East Side. Nevertheless, I slither out of his building, past the doormen, and into the street to hail a taxi.
8:15 a.m. I like taking taxis when I’m on the UES. It feels like I’m in a movie. Plus, my boyfriend always hands me a couple hundred-dollar bills on my way out, and it’s nice to have cash to spend.
9 a.m. Home in Cobble Hill. I take a long, hot shower, then head to work on the subway.
10:30 a.m. Start my workday in downtown Manhattan. He texts to see if I made it in time. The mornings are always a crunch but so worth the chaos.
We’ve been seeing each other for about six months. I first met him via Zoom and was instantly attracted. He’s about 15 years older but looks great — reminded me of Bradley Cooper. We weren’t directly working with each other, but I came up with a ridiculous reason to email him. We started flirting and a few days later had a cocktail together uptown; we ended the night with wild sex. That’s been our routine every few days since: uptown dinner or drinks a few nights a week; hot sex, even if a bit vanilla; sleepover; and then off to our very different worlds.
6 p.m. Citi Bike home to Cobble Hill and pick up sushi on the way. I live by myself, and the nights I’m not with my boyfriend, I like to read, watch TV, and relax.
9 p.m. Call Boyfriend to ask about a summer trip we were talking about. We have a great talk and land on a destination — Maine — and he tells me to do some research and call him when I need a credit card. I like the sound of that!
8 a.m. Travel porn kept me up until way too late last night. I narrowed our trip down to a few places. Will discuss with Boyfriend tonight.
11 a.m. I have a breakfast “meeting” with another colleague, who is actually a good friend. She knows about Boyfriend. She’s concerned, though. She thinks he’s too attractive, too rich, and too old. I try not to be insulting by the implication that I’m somehow not good enough for him or that I’m the fool here. Boyfriend has never done anything to imply he’s a playboy or a womanizer. Also, I’m 31, not 18! I nod politely as she continues to talk nonsense.
2 p.m. At a doctor’s appointment to discuss freezing my eggs. I tell the doctor that I’m in a relationship with someone who never had kids and doesn’t want them. “And you want kids?” she asks. “Yes, very badly.” She looks at me with concern. Argh! I can’t seem to escape judgment today. I decide to talk to Boyfriend tonight about my doctor’s appointment.
9 p.m. We’re enjoying some steak-frites when I tell Boyfriend that I want to freeze my eggs. He is very supportive and asks all the right questions about the procedure and the doctor; he even asks if I need help paying for it. But it bothers me a bit that he doesn’t suggest that maybe we have kids together someday. He has already told me he never wanted them, so I know I’m asking for something he can’t give me. But … now I just have all these voices in my head warning me against him.
I just drink more wine.
11 p.m. Sex at his place is pretty good, as usual. The biggest problem for me is that he’s great at foreplay and a wonderful kisser, but it’s hard to come from his actual penis. I try to come from the oral before and then focus the sex part on getting him off.
10:30 a.m. Same mad rush to get home, showered, and into my office. We ended up cuddling as we slept last night, which means I didn’t sleep great, but it also showed that we were both aware we had a very intimate conversation at dinner and had become, arguably, closer in talking about real life together. At least that’s how I see it.
3 p.m. Follow-up call with a nurse about freezing my eggs. She said my blood work looks good and we can move forward with a few more appointments if I’m interested.
5 p.m. Call my sister, who just had a baby, for advice. She knows about Boyfriend. She tells me that she’s personally against egg-freezing because it gives false hope to women like me. Her feeling is if I want to have kids someday, I need to ditch him and find someone interested in having kids. She’s very curt and unemotional about it. I practically hang up on her.
I realize that I don’t like hearing the things that I don’t want to hear. I also realize that her thinking is very sensible and I’m just being immature. But here’s the thing: I think I love him.
9 p.m. I text Boyfriend that I’m watching a show called I Love That for You. It’s very funny. I tell him I’m laughing my ass off. He writes back, “I Love That for You.” I giggle. It gives me goose bumps to see the word love come through in a text from him.
I have not been in love for a very long time. The last man I loved was my college boyfriend, who was a treasure, but he moved to another country after college to pursue a big career, and I chose not to go with him. Since then, I’ve had a series of short-term boyfriends whom I always get sick of. No one has captivated me like Boyfriend.
10 p.m. We’re texting and watching our own shows from our respective homes, and the energy is great, and I just decide to write, “Hey. You’re my boyfriend.” I like the idea of telling rather than asking. He immediately writes back, “Yes, darling, I am.”
10 a.m. I get a follow-up email from the nurse since I never wrote back to her text. I’m at work and pretty caught up in what I’m doing, so I ignore the email.
11:30 a.m. Haircut with my hilarious hairdresser. Unlike everyone else in my life, he loves hearing about the older rich boyfriend. I’m sure he also sees it as good business for him since I’ve upped the amount of blowouts and highlights I get, now that I have more cash on me!
So my boyfriend is not paying me. It’s not transactional like that. It feels pretty normal and traditional to me. He’s self-made and quite wealthy, and I don’t make a ton of money, so he’s always happy to give me some. He can spare the cash and he’s not weird about it, and neither am I. Only me and the hairdresser seem to see no harm in the situation.
6 p.m. On my way home from work, I see a guy I went on a Tinder date with before meeting Boyfriend. I don’t know if my boyfriend is monogamous with me, but I’ve been monogamous with him the entire time.
The topic of monogamy has come up only a few times when he hasn’t used protection, and … he has said he’s not sleeping with anyone else. Truthfully, when we’re not together at night, we’re texting each other the whole time. There’s never been an off night with that stuff, so I believe him.
10:30 a.m. “Does my girlfriend have any interest in Japanese food tonight?” he texts. Sometimes he’s a dork. Since the “boyfriend” text two nights ago, he has used the BF/GF terms over and over again. It’s adorable, but, yeah, he’s acting like a sexy dork. We make after-work plans.
5 p.m. On my walk home, I decide to call the nurse back. I just want to know how good my chances are of getting pregnant if I wait a few years. I want statistics. I’m a math-and-science person. I’d like some numbers. I leave her a voice-mail.
7 p.m. Feeling like a million bucks, I get on the train to see my man. I see that I missed a call from the nurse while I was in the shower. For some reason, I feel resentful that she soured my mood for the night, even though she didn’t do or say anything. It was just a missed call.
As I walk into the sushi restaurant, I’m reminded about the egg-freezing and our differences in future goals and all that stuff, and I’m suddenly disenchanted by our date night.
8 p.m. I end up telling him that I’m freaking out a little bit about our relationship because I love it so much but that I also won’t sacrifice having kids. I commend myself for being so straightforward.
But after talking, Boyfriend and I are at a bit of a standstill. There’s no part of him that wants kids, and it’s not like he’s even slightly open to the prospect. Our date night feels ruined. I feel responsible for that.
9:30 p.m. We end up kissing outside the restaurant and going our own ways. He says something like, “It seems like you have a lot to think about.” I hate that it’s all on me. Why can’t it be him who has to think about changing his ways? Why is it always the woman who has to compromise?
11 p.m. Smoke a little bit of weed just because I know I’ll never sleep otherwise. It works as well as it can.
10 a.m. It’s the weekend, so I lie around in bed for a bit. I’m supposed to see college friends today at the park, and it’s beautiful out, but I just want to focus on my situation. I feel like I’m always distracting myself from the obvious, which is that I shouldn’t be with this guy.
11:30 a.m. Boyfriend calls. We make plans to drive to the North Fork tomorrow. He got us a hotel room for the night. My stomach is in knots, but I’m glad we’re going and excited for a little getaway.
3 p.m. Spend time with my college friends and their boyfriends or husbands. Once again, I just feel like my boyfriend is so much more interesting than all of them. The relationships seem juvenile, like we’re all still in college. Frankly, all I want to do is run to the UES and see my guy. But I don’t. I drink rosé and try to enjoy the beautiful day.
7 p.m. Packing for the trip. I bring my sexiest bras and underwear. I think this tension over the past day or so will be good for our fucking, if nothing else.
9 p.m. Early to bed so I’m rested tomorrow.
10 a.m. My boyfriend picks me up in his car. We hardly ever use it, so I forget that it’s a convertible. Now this really feels like I’m living in a dream.
When I get in, he kisses me really hard and intensely. It’s the first time I realize that the past few days might have been hard for him, too.
2:30 a.m. We’re at a hotel and settling in, but of course we start having sex first. It’s weird fucking in the sunny daylight, but I’m into it. The sex is more emotionally charged than it’s ever been before. He’s kissing me really deep and fucking me extra-hard. I like it, but I also feel like laughing because it’s so unlike him.
So strange how the roles have reversed and it’s he who is perhaps afraid of me leaving. Our power dynamic is shifting … I’m very aware of that.
6 p.m. It’s lovely here. We’re at a charming little oyster restaurant. He reaches out for my hand. I say, “I guess we should talk?” He says, “I know, but … do we have to?”
I tell him we certainly do not.
9 p.m. Instead, we enjoy the night, have more great sex, and truly enjoy what we both know is a romance that cannot last forever.
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