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Dealbreaker: He Didn't Go to College

As my vocabulary expanded among my academic peers, the shared language of our relationship narrowed.


In our Dealbreakers series, exes report on the habit, belief, or boxer brief that ended the affair.

I went to college because high school ended, and that was what people like me did. At 18, I moved out of my parents' house in the country and into a dilapidated three-story Boston duplex shared by an opera singer from San Francisco, a classical guitarist from Florida, art students, writers, and a colony of mice. Our perpetually unlocked door meant the house’s population was regularly supplemented by a straggler passed out on a wine-soaked couch, or—late on New Year’s Eve in our communal kitchen—an androgynous punk rocker named Duke.

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Dealbreaker: She Always Agreed With Me

Lauren was agreeable. About everything. And as we hung out more and more, her unswerving acquiescence only grew—and so did my urge to push back.


In our Dealbreakers series, exes report on the habit, belief, or boxer brief that ended the affair.

My mom always told me that I could argue with a brick wall, but I prefer healthy debate with other humans—like when I argued with her for two days over whether pine straw is mulch. I insisted that pine straw is a particular sort of yard furnishing that should not be lumped in with mulch, while she was content to live in a world with imprecise definitions for flowerbed fillers.

When I spotted Lauren—a slender blonde in a smart purple dress I met at one of the not-quite-fancy alumni events my university was always throwing in D.C.—she struck me as the type of confident and independent girl I’m always drawn to. Just shy of a semester out of college, she’d moved straight to the capital in lieu of settling in one of the southern towns that net too many of our fellow grads. A few open-bar Yuenglings and several passes of lackluster hors d’oeurvres later, I sidled over to talk to her. I don’t remember anything I said, but she smiled a lot and l aughed. I made sure to get her phone number before leaving.

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Dealbreaker: He Was Jealous

In our Dealbreakers series, exes report on the habit, belief, or boxer brief that ended the affair. I never really wanted to go out with...


In our Dealbreakers series, exes report on the habit, belief, or boxer brief that ended the affair.

I never really wanted to go out with Josh.

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Dealbreaker: He Held Me Back

I was a social butterfly with a wild streak; he could count his friends on one hand and spent most weekends in.

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