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Sharon Hyman and David Demetre met in 1999 but don't live together.Handout

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Who: David Demetre, 63, retired aerospace designer/musician; Sharon Hyman, 56, filmmaker

Relationship status: Together since 1999

Location: Montreal

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Sharon: I was researching a film and one of the characters was single. This is way back when there was telepersonals. One after next it was these really cheesy guys – “hey ladies,” and that kind of thing. And then suddenly there is this guy who sounded totally different.

David: I think I said something about how I was looking for the Anne of Green Gables …

Sharon: He did! And I have always identified with Anne, so I just couldn’t believe it. I left him a message with my e-mail. For the first few months that’s how we communicated.

David: It was an old fashioned courtship. We learned a lot about each other that way before we had even met. We would give each other homework, like “name your five heroes.”

Sharon: When we finally did meet, I was a bit nervous – who is this Albanian-American from Seattle who has moved to Montreal? I made him give me his sister’s phone number as a reference.

David: That’s true. She actually called her.

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Being together, living apart

Sharon: At first living together didn’t come up because we had such different schedules. David would be up at 5 a.m. for work whereas I’m an artist and I tend to stay up late. In those early years, we went to a few open houses, but eventually we just decided wait – things are kind of great as they are.

David: We both enjoy having time to ourselves. I like to play my guitar and read. Sharon likes to have her friends over and spend time with them and those aren’t things we need to be together for. I think we both just like having our own space.

Sharon: I always say, I wasn’t looking for a roommate, I was looking for someone to go through life with. We share emotional space. And we have never had a single fight about chores. How many couples of 20 years can say that?

David: Some people have this sense of, you’re not a real couple – you’re just friends with benefits. But we have shared all the big things: illness, deaths in our family.

Sharon: I had a serious illness and David basically moved in for three months. When I had the flu he left soup and saltines and ginger ale at my door. That’s my idea of romantic.

David: It’s a little easier to be romantic in our situation. We still go on dates. We still get excited every time we’re going to see each other.

Sharon: It’s true. My heart pitter-patters. I do have a heart arrhythmia, but that’s not the reason I get excited.

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