I believe in love at first sight. Whether it’s actually love or lust is debatable, but it doesn’t happen often and when it does, likening it to being struck by a thunderbolt is an understatement. I didn’t just fall hard for the man I’ll call Captain Crunch (because he tasted so good, but was really unhealthy). No, I pretty much fell down the entire flight of stairs leading to the subway platform, rolled onto the tracks, and was dragged by the train from Brooklyn all the way to Harlem.

The third time I ran into Captain Crunch after our “initial meeting,” we had indulged in enough casual chit-chat to move to the next step: the exchanging of phone numbers. As he handed me a slip of paper with his cell number on it, he said, “Just so you know, I don’t want a relationship.”

I remember thinking “What a presumptuous SOB! What makes him think I’d even want a relationship with HIM?” It had been 5 years since my split with the ex and I hadn’t gone on one date. I certainly wasn’t ready for anything heavy duty. Hell, I just wanted an adult to go out with every once in a while, to indulge in some grown-up conversation, play a game of pool, maybe make out. I should have told him this, but I didn’t. I mumbled something like “Neither do I,” still shocked that he’d come right out and said those words in the first place.

I came to learn he had meant what he said. Literally. The reality was that he didn’t want to have to spend 5 minutes of his time on anything that didn’t involve something related to sex.

It took me a while to realize this, what with having been dragged so far by the train and all. The man was my physical ideal. I craved him like a starving dieter might crave melted brie on a buttery croissant. He clouded my thoughts, my judgment, all common sense. I would have ironed his sheets every week if he had asked me.

Then one day, after almost 2 years of sexual purgatory, he just never called. Changed his number and started parking 2 blocks away from my car when we picked up our kids from school.

I have to admit, this was a new experience for me. Not the getting dumped part. Being involved with a guy who never quite committed. Being with someone who didn’t care about delving any deeper than my cervix.

Even in my younger dating years I was never in anything ongoing that didn’t turn into a relationship. If we both liked each other and had fun together, we ended up seeing each other. It didn’t always last for years. In fact, sometimes it only lasted nine months, but it always had some substance to it. It always had SOMETHING to it. It wasn’t only about the sex.

I never understood the whole “fuck buddy” concept, because if I liked you enough to want to have sex with you, then why wouldn’t I want something more? And if I liked you as just a buddy, it was because I didn’t want to have sex with you.

I’m wiser now. If a man ever again says to me, “I don’t want a relationship,” I won’t give him the time of day, but the commitment-phobe comes in many guises, not always recognizable. Seems the older I get, the more wounded men are—from all the hard knocks in life, divorces especially. They carry these hurts around with them; these hurts that weigh them down like albatrosses and eventually squeeze all passion and life out of them. Some wear them almost like badges won in battle. “Yeah, I went through a nasty divorce. Won’t ever let that happen again. I’ll never trust another woman after the hell the last one put me through.”

I recently read a blog post about love, where an anonymous male reader commented: “In my life and experience I’ve decided that the flight-oh so high-in the sky is not worth the fall down.”

I think one of our great challenges is to not become bitter and closed-off when life throws cow dung at us. Or else we end up as cranky old people who complain that children make too much noise.

As it turned out, Captain Crunch was in a relationship with my son’s school principal during the time he was seeing me. Ever see a really hot elementary school principal? Me neither.

In some twisted way only I can comprehend, I might have felt better finding out this news had the other woman been a sexy, young hard-bodied stripper. The fact that the woman was older, heavier and earned a thousand times more than me ended up just leaving a bad taste in my mouth.

No other way to say it; I was played.

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