Occasionally I look back on the time in my late 20s when I dated a millionaire and wonder what the hell I was thinking letting him go!
We enjoyed taking his private plane (he had a pilot’s license and a small twin-engine) to his Caribbean home, being treated to meals and gifts, never having to worry about a thing. Let me paint a picture of one of my most fond remembrances for you:
I was on the phone with this wealthy older man, a friend who had not yet told me he was interested in more. He was planning a trip to New York and I asked if I might join him — I could use an escape and New York is beautiful in the autumn.
“Yeah, for sure!” he said. And then, to my surprise, he paid my airfare and gave me the address of where we’d be staying: a tony address on the east side of the Park where some friends of his had an apartment.
I took a cab from JFK. When I told the cabbie the address, he did a double-take in the mirror and asked, “You goin’ home?” I told him I was visiting with a friend, and the apartment was owned by friends of my friend. He said, “You got the look. Someday you gonna be rich enough to buy a place like that, too.”
“From your lips to God’s ears,” I replied.
The cabbie dropped me off across from the park and I gave the doorman my name. I was the first to arrive. The doorman carried my luggage up to the 7th floor and let me in. I put some Nina Simone on the stereo, pulled out a New Yorker and relaxed on a chaise near the windows overlooking the park. I was completely relaxed and in my element. After my friend arrived, we took a walk, stopping at Bulgari so I could buy some perfume and asked that it be delivered to the doorman in “our” building, then we bought some nice bottles of wine, also having them delivered. We went out to nice restaurants, watched the US Open of Tennis and window shopped. New York in the autumn is so lovely!
I look back at this time in my life and recall how much I enjoyed the intellectual connection and conversation with this fellow, as well as the lifestyle. Early on, his friends would ask how long we’d known each other — time that could be counted in months — and remark that we seemed so comfortable and friendly as to have known each other for a decade. It was a lovely compliment. Perhaps I was just so relaxed about it all because I never took the relationship seriously.
After all, he’d had children who were then in their teens and had been “fixed.” And I was certain I wanted children of my own. His lifestyle of excess caused some discomfort with me, an eco-conscious “awakening consumer.” He drove a sports car and frequented “gentlemen’s clubs,” so I thought him a bit of a pig and teased him about it. And some control issues began to appear in the last days of our togetherness. Yet sometimes I wonder if any of those differences or issues would have been any more difficult to handle than the things I dealt with in a relationship with the man who I truly loved and with whom I ultimately shared a decade of my life.
In hindsight, what was excess to me then may now be abundance. And all those other things, if we’d really loved each other, we may have been able to communicate through. Or am I just wearing rose-colored glasses?
Actually, probably the main reason I recall this time in my life and this relationship with fondness is that I never lost myself in it. I didn’t take it too seriously, I wasn’t working (over-functioning) to get my man; he was working to woo me. And I could take him or leave him. He adored me for me being myself. And when it seemed he didn’t, I let him go…and that’s a great lesson for me to carry forward into future relationships.