Me and my old man have been together for over three years now; we've been living together since March, 2007. Which is why this article by my buddy and coconspirator Doree Shafrir in this week's Observer hit sometimes uncomfortably close to home. It's a musing of sorts on longterm relationships and cohabitation and why people get married or why they don't. Doree describes a cocktail party where she runs into an old friend. "When we started talking, the topic of my boyfriend came up, and then it came up that we were living together, and then Max looked at my left hand and said, 'Oh, I was just checking to see if you had a ring. But you guys aren't engaged?' This was a question-statement." She managed to capture perfectly the profound ambivalence of relationship status; even when you're happily ensconced in something serious, there's often internal and external pressures that make you question your choices.

Some random acquaintance, like in Doree's piece, gets married after dating someone for a year, and you wonder why you're not married yet. You see your friends who got married and divorced before the age of 25 and were smugly happy that you didn't meet the same fate. You look at the sorority girls you knew who got married young and feel some combination of pity/contempt/envy and then feel bad about yourself for comparing your relationship, which is pure and true and good, to some false idea of what your relationship should be. But, as Doree points out, once you're deeply involved with someone, the niggling question you can't always ignore is "how do you know?" I have no fucking idea. Any guesses?

This Is When You Know [Observer]