Four weeks into dating, Alex was calling me his girlfriend. A few months later, he asked me to move in with him. Soon enough we were talking babies. But he wanted to make sure I knew: "I want to be with you for a very long time, but I don't want to get married."
I shrugged. We were having lunch at an Italian place in Grand Central Station in New York. We met there often, hurrying over from our corporate jobs. I was surprised his anti-marriage stance didn't bother me. I had tried it, and in my experience, it didn't make things better, only worse.
"Marriage isn't that important to me," I told him.
He hugged me. "I'm so glad. I wouldn't want to lose you over something like that."
Shortly after we moved in together, Alex lost his job, a casualty in the financial crisis. He took his severance money and went to music school, but a year later he was broke. He didn't want to ask me for money, but I offered. We were in this together.
When he started applying for new jobs, we decided together on San Francisco. When he got an offer, he encouraged me to quit the rat race and write full-time, something I'd wanted to do my whole life.
"You supported me," he said. "Now it's my turn."