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Couple’s professional relationship  turns personal — for the better

Updated: January 11, 2013 10:40AM

Last week we met Mark and Mona. They were the lawyers whose relationship turned from professional to personal after Mark’s wife died.

They first met more than 30 years ago when they were on opposite sides of a case. Mark says he won the case. Mona says she doesn’t remember anything about it.

“I was a young lawyer working for someone else and hadn’t spent a lot of time with it before going to trial. My impression of Mark was that he was smart, professional and nice.”

At the time, Mona was married, but she divorced several years later.

Mark remembers that they continued to stay in touch over lunch. “The lunches were only once or twice a year,” says Mona. “He thinks they were more frequent. We usually talked about cases or his travels, which were usually into the woods to fish.”

She says those lunches were strictly platonic.

“He was married and gave off no vibes expressing any interest in me, other than professional. We’re very different, so there was no chemistry on my end either. He loves the outdoors and dogs. I am an excellent couch potato and had always lived in a condo.”

Mark does appellate work and over the years, Mona would call him from time to time with questions. One day when she called, his secretary told her that he was at the hospital with his wife, who was dying. “She gave me a little background of what was going on.”

After his wife died, Mona called with a question, and Mark suggested lunch. She says he seemed different.

“He looked at me differently, leaned over the table a little and stayed longer than at previous lunches.

I thought afterward, ‘He might ask me out sometime.’ ”

Boy, did he! If you recall, he asked Mona if she’d drop her plans to spend the weekend with her girlfriend and spend it with him at his cabin in Galena. She says she was “surprised.”

“I didn’t know what to think. I had known him so long and knew him to be very stable. I really couldn’t imagine he would do anything to pressure me. Then, when I said I wouldn’t stand up my friend, without taking a breath, he said, ‘OK, what about next weekend?’ I told him maybe, but I had to think about it.”

Mona told her girlfriend, Jan, about Mark’s invitation and then happened to check her office voice mail. There was a message from Mark inviting Jan to come along.

“When I told her, her response was ‘Galena! I love Galena!’ ”

“The three of us got to Mark’s cabin in the afternoon. None of us knew what to expect. I thought Mark and Jan would be well-matched. They both like the outdoors. As I said, I’m a couch potato. But by the end of the evening it was clear Mark and I were attracted to one another.”

After Jan went to bed, Mark and Mona sat in front of the fire and talked and talked.

“I ended up sleeping on the couch. I never made it to the bedroom. When we were back in the city, we began to email. It was through those conversations that I came to know another side of Mark. He’s wickedly funny, loyal and just a wonderful human being. I’m still amazed that I have such a wonderful husband.”

Did your relationship turn from professional to personal? Or did it move the other way? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to

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