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I met Mars within 4 months of moving to San Francisco from southern California. I was 28 years old. I had never considered myself a relationship person despite having been engaged twice before.

Marriage changed that for me.

I spent most of my 20s trying to tame my inner wild child. I was full of angst. I had no desire to tolerate a relationship or any of the associated bullshit. I loved being single and carefree.

My relationship cycle usually went like this: Meet dude, get excited & giddy, fantasize about how perfect he is, realize how faulty he is once I get to know him, and then disappointedly break up with him a few weeks later.

My significant relationships were short-lived. I was impatient and impulsive.

I had my first serious boyfriend at age 18 (fiance #1). I lost my virginity to him at age 17. The relationship lasted about a year but most of that time was long-distance. He lived about 200 miles from me so we only saw each other on weekends after he relocated 4 months into the relationship. I broke up with him after accidentally learning that he’d contacted a matchmaking company.

I had an off & on boyfriend for a couple years when I was in college. I was 22 or 23. I doubted his feelings for me and he couldn’t effectively vocalize them. I remember one time, after we’d broken up and he wanted to get back together, he said, “But Lauren, I think I love you….!” It pissed me off. This isn’t a Partridge Family song! “You think? You think??!! Oh hell no!” That was the end of that.

I was 24 during my next significant relationship. This one didn’t last very long – only 6 months – but it was passionate and nearly perfect. I adored him. His priorities, however, in order, were: 1) Work, 2) School, 3) Rugby, and 4) Me. It hurt to know I wasn’t one of his priorities… and plans with me were always dropped whenever anything came up unexpectedly. Which was often. I asked him to carve out some time for me in his schedule every week but he refused. I wasn’t being demanding or difficult… but I wanted more. I deserved more. He couldn’t provide it. The break-up was brutal for both of us. It was a dark time in my life.

Even to this day, I still think of him as “the one who got away.”

I was 26 when I had another serious boyfriend (fiance #2). It was yet another short relationship… a total of 6 months. He proposed without knowing much about me. I questioned his sanity but he insisted he knew everything he needed to know to know he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. I wasn’t convinced, but I had faith he knew something I didn’t. I blindly said yes then relocated to southern California to live with him. I was quickly offered a job at a dream company… one famous in my profession. Unfortunately, the new job was very demanding. Our new relationship couldn’t survive the stress of my 70 hour workweeks. Our wedding was almost completely planned when we decided to call it off 4 months later.

I met Mars on match.com in 1998. I was new to San Francisco, didn’t know a soul, and wanted to meet people so I signed up for a free trial. He was one of the first guys I met. Our first date was magical. It was an unusually warm, balmy June evening. We had dinner at a Thai restaurant, walked around after dinner in the dusky light, had our first kiss in front of a Art Deco -inspired flower shop, then sat on the beach sipping wine and talking for hours. It was late when we finally got back to my place so I invited him to stay the night. (Yes, of course we fucked.)

We had a rocky start but our relationship materialized into something amazing once we became exclusive 5 months later. It was my best relationship experience by far. Every day only got better than the last. I adored him. Everything was easy. We were on the same page. The timing was right.

We dated for 3 years before he proposed. We were engaged for 10 months before we married. We got married even though we didn’t consider ourselves the marrying types. We were both extremely independent and had always loved being single. Our relationship changed our minds.

We did everything right. It should have worked. And then… after 13 years of marriage, I was single once again.

But I was different this time. Marriage had changed me. Motherhood had changed me.

For the first time in my life, I am a relationship person. I now prefer to be coupled over single.

I finally understand the value of a committed relationship. I prefer the intimacy. I like that it’s easier and safer considering my elevated sex drive.

It’s really interesting to realize that since I now prefer relationships, I am finding myself in them easily. I met Tex within a month after separating from Mars. We dated for 6 months, then had an exclusive relationship for 1.5 years. I met Hayden within a month of breaking up with Tex. We dated for 3 months, and have been exclusive since mid November.

I expect this relationship to last a while.