Having used one experiment as a catalyst for falling in love, she and Mark have now tried another to stay there – drawing up a written relationship contract when they moved in together after 18 months, setting out their expectations for the future.
“So many people think of it as this really controlling thing – where there’s a penalty if someone if someone doesn’t take the trash out,” she says. Or that they schedule sex? “Exactly. For the record, if people want to schedule sex, good for them, I don’t think there’s even anything wrong with that, it’s just that’s not about that level of detail, for us.”
What it is about is, “bothering to sit down and say to each other on a regular basis, ‘OK, what are we doing here, what are we trying to make together and what’s it going to look like?’ And I love it. I think everyone should try it.”
The contract’s renewal is coming up soon, and bigger issues are creeping in: “Our next version will have a mortgage section, and questions about starting a family, whether or not we want to get married.”
True to form, they’re thinking about it carefully – and planning a series of podcasts, in which they interview experts, family and friends, together, to figure out if it’s the right next move for them.
If that sounds unromantic, Catron persuasively argues the opposite.
“There seems to be this consistent idea in our culture that if you look too closely at love, you’ll ruin it. And my experience has really not been like that at all. I really find that looking closely at love just makes me more attentive to it, and more appreciative of it.”
And her story no less magical, for that.
How to Fall in Love with Anyone by Mandy Len Catron is published by Nero Books (£10.99). To order your copy call 0844 871 1514 or visit books.telegraph.co.uk