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A few words about certainty. First, there is no such thing. Well, very, very rarely. I have known when something was going to happen, but that doesn't mean I knew how it was going to turn out. One night, parked in the UW arboretum with Audrey, talking about my soon-to-be first-serious-boyfriend, I said, "I'm sure." She said, "I am worried that you're making too much of this. He's great but you don't know how he feels." I said, "But I do. This time, you don't need to worry. I'm sure of him. I don't know why, but I'm sure." And I was right. He did become my boyfriend. And, I guess she was right too, because he broke up with me for no reason at all about two months later. He broke my heart and it took a long time to get over him.

When I was dating the crazy alcoholic boyfriend part of what kept me in it was that he seemed so certain that we were meant to be. He would rave to me about how wonderful I was. We reveled in our differences and the seeming mismatch. I was charmed by his downward mobility, he was proud of my accomplishments. (I never said I wasn't perverse.) The world might think we were wrong for each other, but we knew better. I floated along on his enthusiasm. One night, in my studio apartment, leaning on the kitchen doorway, he said, "How can you be so sure?" I don't think I understood him at first. I said, "I just am." He hugged me, bending me back uncomfortably because he was so tall. I thought, "I'm sure because you're sure. But if you're not sure…then what are we doing?" It was a house of cards. An illusion. After that break-up I questioned my judgment. I tried to rethink my entire approach to relationships. Except for the first few weeks, he had made me miserable. Yet, I would have stayed with him longer if he hadn't stood me up the second time. I knew all along that he was a bad-news boyfriend. I knew it wouldn't last, as sure as I knew I would follow him home from the party where we first met. I knew that I would take what I could get from him and that it was worth it even though I knew the relationship would be short-lived. I have made this choice too many times. Not because I don't like myself, because I don't put up with lousy treatment for very long and never quietly, but because, I like the excitement. I feed off the conflict. Thanks mom & dad! This is the bad part of the number. I have made the decision not to do this again and I haven't so far. I feel more confident then ever that I won't. And do I regret my time with crazy-alcoholic-boyfriend? Not really.