I needed to end things with Mike. And Jake. Oh, and Cameron too, though he’s the least of my worries.

Mike used to call all the time and I couldn’t refuse answering, telling myself when his number lit up my phone that it’s best to listen to what he has to say. I didn’t have to actually see him again. It didn’t work the first time we got together; I could never give him the commitment he needed.

After our last phone call, I told my teenage daughter that I didn’t know how to let him down. “I’ll handle it for you,” she said. “The next time he calls give me the phone. I’ll tell him it isn’t about him. It’s you. And you have too much going on right now to buy the Jeep.”

Meeting Mike

I met Mike on a March afternoon when I swung into the Jeep dealership across the street from the medical clinic. I had just left an appointment where my doctor and I had been discussing the best way to get me through menopause. I was weighing the pros and cons of her recommendations in my mind, which put me in a bad mood. Then, lo and behold, rising-up beyond the windshield of my front-wheel-drive Chevy, I spotted the row of sparkling Jeeps like a mirage in the desert. I would just look. What harm could there be in that?

I had barely gotten out of my car when a tall, lanky fellow with shaggy, brown hair stretched out his hand and gave me the best pitch he had: “Hi, I’m Mike and you’ve picked the perfect time to visit. Since it’s the end of the month, I can offer you the deal of a lifetime.”

“I’m just looking,” I said.

“Of course,” Mike said, smiling. “How about I grab the keys to one of our sports models? It’s got the best rebate right now.”

In deep with the Jeep

This was my chance to turn away before it got serious. But it was also my chance to drive my all-wheel-drive dream vehicle around town without paying for gas. So, I handed my heart, I mean, my license to Mike and took the keys. He climbed into the passenger seat and buckled up. I enjoyed the ride. And I think it was good for Mike too, right up until the moment we locked eyes across the financing table inside the dealership. I told him I wasn’t ready. He promised to give me time.

He gave me until the next day when he called with an even better offer than the night before. I told him I needed more time. The end-of-the-month deal soon turned into the beginning-of-the-month deal, into the holiday-weekend deal, into the it’s-not-going-to-get-any-better-than-this deal. With no interest, I finally handed the phone to my daughter and she ended it for me. “It’s not you, it’s her.”

Mike hasn’t called since. Though I did get an email from him the other day. I smiled. It warmed my heart to know he had not forgotten me. But I couldn’t reignite that fire. I deleted the email at almost the same moment my phone buzzed.

Trading the Jeep for Jake

I knew who it was, but I answered anyway because Jake is a nice enough guy. We met at a community health fair last month. I’d given him my number on the back of a ticket for a drawing to win a prize of some sort, like a bike or movie tickets or a Jeep maybe.

I didn’t win anything from his company, but he phoned and offered to give me a quote for auto insurance. I could have told him no the very first time he called. But he had a good pitch and as I recalled, a nice smile. A lot like Mike. So, I listen to him each time and keep telling him I need more time.

I know I need to break it off with him. I’m already in a great relationship with an insurance company. If they find out about this other guy, they might raise my rates. After our last call, as I was contemplating how to end it with Jake, a notification from LinkedIn appeared on my screen: Cameron wants to connect. 

Oh, Cameron

Cameron is the owner of the mobile app business with the perfect plan for my company’s next event. When he originally phoned, I told him that we weren’t ready to use a mobile app, that I’d call him if things changed. But he can’t let me go that easily. Hence, LinkedIn. I don’t want to connect with him because that’s where things get out of control.

It’s not him. It’s me.