Un-ex and I were married in 1979; divorced in 2001. We reconnected in 2006. During this time, we have spent all of our non-working time together but have kept our separate residences.
Un-ex has put his house on the market and will move in to my house soon (well, since he's been here all along, I guess that means his stuff will be moving in).
Over the last 7 years he has asked me to marry him several times. I've always said no. I'm still saying no. I do look at some of the benefits of having a married status and might consider marriage with a very strong pre-nup. Un-ex is fine with that.
When we meet strangers, and the question comes up of how long we've been together, there's always the explanation, the * to our story. That damn footnote really bugs the hell out of me and I'm just kind of over it. Un-ex says that he would love to just say that we've been married 34 years. But I live my life authentically and, while I don't want to give the * version anymore I also don't want to lie.
For passing strangers we meet while out, the 34 year answer probably wouldn't bother me that much. But, we have often, over the years, converted these strangers to friends. And I don't want to have to untell a lie if they do become friends.
F'n infidelity makes even the simplest of things complex.
For Big Bang fans: I've drawn up a roommate agreement that makes Sheldon's look like a first draft.