She felt that she had decent values herself and tried to live by them.
But Max's ideas about right versus wrong struck her as overly rigid, almost cruelly so.
She believed, for example, in the concept of mitigating circumstances and in compassion and mercy.
What eventually began to concern Nikki more about Max had nothing to do with his apparent perfectionism, or even his excessive tidiness.
Rather, it was the rigidity of his thinking, specifically his beliefs and values.
From Nikki's perspective, it was one thing to be moral and scrupulous and another to be set in your ways.
When she first began dating Max, Nikki was impressed not only by the fact that he was a successful medical professional, but that he seemed so organized.
He owned a home that was spotless ("You could eat off the floor!
," she'd boasted to her friends) and maintained a regular routine of caring for it, both inside and out.
Nikki's previous relationship had been with a man who was as disorganized and lacking in ambition as Max was organized and goal-directed.
She'd even gotten the impression that this fellow might be looking for someone to support him. Nikki was a professional herself -- a computer programmer -- and her work, like Max's, demanded organization and attention to detail.
One thing that started to bother Nikki after six months of dating Max was his habit of cleaning up after her without giving her a chance to do it herself.