It’s nearly the one-year anniversary of my retirement. I’m not planning a celebration of any sort; it is simply a small marker in my life, a time for reflection.

Many people, men and women, have asked why I retired. Most escorts retire because of a relationship. Some retire because they’ve saved enough money, achieved whatever goal they set, or landed their dream job. I was one of the ones who retired because of a relationship. Specifically, I was offered the opportunity to chase two ideas of mine, as well as forging a deeper bond with someone special.

How did we meet? He was a dinner appointment I had in May 2003. It sounds like either a bad stereotype or a fairy-tale. Few people realize what a huge taboo dating clients is for me. That’s been true the entire time I’ve been in the adult industry. If I were in any sales or public-relations business it would be true as well. Dating business clients is always a bad idea. We shocked ourselves not only at how well we got along, but that at each step of the way we were both thinking the same thing: I should not be doing this. I was in a languishing relationship at the time and he was recently separated (headed for divorce), from his long-time wife after years of growing emotional separation. A bad idea all around.

What happened with him that was so different? It’s hard to say. I liked him the second he opened the door to his hotel room and I saw him. He is the most brilliant person I’ve ever met. At the same time, he’s very down-to-earth and relaxed. He is always a gentleman and never pushed my boundaries. He did not pursue me, other than making it clear he wanted to spend time with me. We get along very well, are very much alike, and can talk for hours in person, on the phone, or over chat.

After making an arrangement so that I became his once-a-month travel companion, it became obvious that he was much more than a client to me and I was much more than his paid companion. Where to go from here? While making changes in our lives and continuing our careers we talked a lot. He would fly me out whenever convenient (sometimes he flew to Dallas) so we could spend time together. Each trip created a deeper feeling of connection. Although I enjoyed my life I wanted him in it. And here is the question almost every woman in the adult industry faces at some point: which is more important, the job or the relationship? Because the adult industry relies on personal interaction, it is very hard to have a stable relationship and be a success at the job, whatever it may be. (Right now, I’m not going to focus on the argument of why this is or how is might be unfair to women. This is the story of why and how I retired.)

I’d already decided twice before that my job was more important and I do not regret those decisions. With him, the decision was much harder. He was everything I had given up looking for because I did not think I would find it. He had some decisions to make as well. He knew he wanted me with him at all times. I also fit his mental checklist of qualities he wanted in a partner, and then some. After a lot of discussion and some planning, he offered me the opportunity of time. I would be able to quite my job and pursue my nonprofit idea as well as start my writing career. Although both had been in my head for years, I could not seriously start either one because stripping and escorting took up so much of my time and energy.

I took the gamble. I did some calculations (not all of it was math), and announced my retirement on my escort site in the middle of January ‘04. I knew exactly on what day I would retire but didn’t want to mention it in January because I hoped to avoid various kinds of trouble. I did more touring than I would encourage any sane person to do. Although I met some great people, the number of cities I traveled to in such a short span of time really tired me out. And I missed him. He was becoming a mental distraction for me, making it even clearer that a decision would’ve been necessary anyway. I felt I was making the right one.

So I dismantled my little business and retired. I enjoyed a fantasy send-off by a client on my last evening. Early the next morning I flew out to meet my lover and in another week we were in Europe (not his first time but mine). We came back to the states in time to attend Breyerfest and then I was home again for the first time in a month.

The next two months were spent packing, getting rid of things, and settling my life in Dallas to prepare to move to California. I had no idea what I would really be doing or how to get it done.