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WHAT WAS I THINKING? is a collection of personal essays by women describing that moment in a relationship when, no matter how much you think it should work or want it to work or need it to work, it becomes clear to you that it’s not going to work.

The idea for the book started out innocently enough: a group of women at an office were trying to console a co-worker the day after her boyfriend of three years gave her, for her birthday, a gift certificate for a massage.Now, many might consider that a fine gift. But after all they’d been through, this woman wanted, and expected, andneeded, something much more personal from him. Like an engagement ring. We, her colleagues and friends, dutifully dragged out the well-used bag of excuses to explain away the boyfriend’s insensitivity, or at least his poor taste in gifts. But she refused them all. She was done. As far as she was concerned, the relationship was over.And then an interesting thing happened. We shifted from ‘rescue’ to ‘recovery.’ We started sharing stories about our own previous relationships, describing that moment when each of us knew it was over. Not only did everyone have such a moment, but we each remembered ours quite vividly–sometimes better than the relationship itself.

And so a book was born.

The catalyst can be anything — a word used incorrectly, an insensitive comment, a glimpse of bad personal hygiene or moral weakness or breathtaking selfishness, or just an ugly sweater. In any case, the genie of disillusionment bursts out of the bottle, and there’s no putting it back in. Which is to say, this is not necessarily the moment of the actual breakup. Rather, these stories describe the instant when logic, common sense, and simple self-respect triumph over the human need to be loved – -or, at least, the need to be in a relationship. The relationship may not last beyond lunch, or it may linger for weeks or even longer. But inside, you know: he’s going to be an Ex.

Using the Internet as our global water cooler, we put the word out through Craigslist, FaceBook and MySpace. We contacted writing programs and talked it up at cocktail parties. We found that our community was the size of the world, and that everyone had a story.

And now we want to know your story. Email us — but don’t forget to read and agree to the terms and conditions.