So here are the details some of you have been asking for. For an inexcusably long time.
Laura and I have been seeing each other for about two and a quarter years now. It's always been exclusive; it was pretty much instant magnetism from the start, that night in December 1998 when we sat deconstructing our religious experiences until the wee hours of the morning, to the exclusion of all the vanished friends who had been sitting there in the bar with us earlier that evening.
Laura's been married before, and when we started going out she had just gotten out of a bad relationship with a fellow she had been seeing for four years and had lived with for six months or so. (They bought a beautiful East Village apartment together, and then he kicked her out, citing being
in love with fucking someone else.) She understandably didn't want to see me if I were seeing anyone else at the same time. For my own part, I had recently gotten out from under a horrible two-year-plus long relationship, I was feeling pretty fragile and gunshy as well. I was seeing a German woman at the time, and I agonized about what to do. After wrestling with myself for a full night, I decided to stop seeing that German (who turned out later to have been having an affair with a married fellow at the time, and making cuts in her wrists on top of that), and it's been all Laura and me, all the time, ever since.
Laura's story at first was that she didn't ever want to get married again, but sometime late in 1999 that started to change. We'd gotten past the part where she worried that I was going to break her heart and where I worried that she was going to discover there was something wrong with me, and we started batting around the idea of cohabitation. A commitment in terms of marriage would have to precede that, she decided, much to her own surprise.