Skylar suggested we go to bed on Friday night at 8:30. I've forfeited a lot of things to this man's will. Being a night owl is one of them. It took him years of relentless whittling away at my sense of self, but he eventually got there.

And look, this isn't a hit piece on Skylar. He didn't do anything wrong. And I'm not blameless here. Just so charming and cute that you won't want to blame me.

I knew what he was pretty much around the time I picked him up. I know I've shared this before, but here at Stranger we believe in reruns.

On one of our very first dates we were in New York City and I convinced Skylar to stay out nearly all night going to parties and clubs. That sweet man was such a good sport. Now that I sort of know him, I can look back and see he was doing an incredible job acting like he was having a great time. Until about 3:00 in the morning when we stumbled into a McDonald's to rally with salty foods and he grabbed my hands. The look on his face. I wish I had a photo to show you. It was like he suddenly turned into a Victorian war widow.

He squeezed my hands, hard, and said, "I hate this. I wanted to go to bed at 9:00. Do not expect this of me again."

I shared that anecdote on Twitter several years ago and it periodically goes viral different places across Oprah's internet. Strangers' reactions to it tend to be extreme. Some people find it charming. Others say Skylar sounds boring.

The way I view it, this man was setting a boundary and some clear expectations. "Live your life however you want," he seemed to say, "but if it involves partying at all hours of the night, I will not be going with you."

So, yes. I was informed from the beginning that building a life with Skylar would not involve youthful shenanigans. And yet, build a life with him I did anyway. It's amazing what a man can convince me to do just by being consistently hot and funny.

For the first several years we were together I was relatively successful at getting him to stay out a bit later than he'd prefer. No, not 3:00 in the morning late. But he'd occasionally experience a midnight and then complain for the next seven days about it.

Once he started medical school and his schedule became packed and erratic, we began staggering our bedtimes. He'd turn in at 9:00 or so. I'd stay up, writing, knitting, figure skating, what have you.

Eventually that felt more lonely than it was worth and I found myself, with a great sigh, following him to bed, sometimes at hours where we could still hear children playing outside. This routine resulted in me turning into the laziest man on the planet, for I, Eli McCann, man who worked from home and had a very flexible schedule, did not wake up when Skylar woke up. He was going to bed because he had to work at 5:00 AM. I was going to bed because he was going to bed. We were not the same.

Once I did the math and realized I was essentially spending my entire life in bed like I was all four grandparents in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Skylar was the overworked mother doing laundry in large buckets, I knew I needed to make a change. So I started getting up early to go work out with friends (who were relying on me for rides, making it difficult to simply flake out).

And just like that, I transitioned away from man who once ended up walking three miles home from a party at 5:00 AM barefoot because I couldn't find my shoes to man who goes to bed at 5:00 PM dressed like Ebeneezer Scrooge.

You think I'm joking about the Scrooge thing, but I'm not. Skylar started a tradition several years ago where he surprises me with matching fancy pajamas each Christmas Eve. He never intended that we actually sleep in them, but I've recently taken a liking to the flannel button-up long-sleeve shirts and drawstring pants.

I complained recently that our house is too hot at night and Skylar responded, "have you considered not dressing for a Siberian winter before climbing into bed?"

I'm unwilling to change. He turned me into this person, however unintentionally. This is just who I am now.

And so, on Friday night when Skylar suggested we go to bed at 8:30, I was already adorned in my slumbering wardrobe, anticipating a high likelihood our evening would end this way. We, dogs in tow, staked claim to the bed's real estate, a nightly competition in which I'm never the victor. And before long, we dozed off to sleep.

I was groggy, and hardly remember it, but at 3:00 AM Skylar's phone began to buzz and a minute later he had left the bedroom, returning several hours after that, just as I was waking up for the day.

"Did you go have affairs in the middle of the night or did I dream that?" I asked him as he dropped onto the bed, exhausted.

"I would never schedule my affairs so late," he assured me. He had been called to the hospital for a dermatology emergency, something I didn't know was a thing.

I watched him as he quickly dozed off and his breathing slowed. An image of this same man, nine years younger but just as exhausted, sitting across from me in a New York McDonald's, flashed through my mind.

He really shouldn't stay out so late.

~It Just Gets Stranger