Two Years or Nineteen?
Someone told me once that gay relationships could not last. The same person told that being gay was about sex and not love, and since being gay had nothing to do with love, and everything to do with sex, then the chances of the sex staying interesting enough to create a long-lasting relationship were impossible. To that someone, I say the following. You proved how little you understood of love, gay or straight.
As a hormonal teen, gay or straight, I think we can all agree that it is all about sex. Once we grow up, while the age can be debated from person to person, the definitions of heterosexuality and homosexuality move beyond sex and into the realm of emotional attachment. Sex is not love. Sex can enhance Love, sex can add to the intensity of love, but one does not equal the other.
Nineteen years ago, I met the man with whom I will most likely spend the rest of my life. Did I know it at the time? No. I embarked on an adventure with no map, no crystal ball to foretell what the future might hold for us. Jokingly I have compared gay years to dog years, meaning that regarding gay relationships, one gay year is equal to seven straight ones. At least, that is the way it once would have been perceived. Today gay relationships are enjoying a longevity that once was almost unheard of.
What is our secret? How have we managed to remain together when the odds were stacked against us? I have no concrete answer, yet I know what worked for us.
Out relationship did not start sexual. We were friends before we became lovers. Sexual compatibility does not always translate into love.
I learned over time that just because I would do something did not mean he should or would. Comparing what I would do for him to what he should do for me created issues for each of us. If I was treated in a way I found unacceptable; I had to learn to vocalize my feelings, rather than make unfair comparisons. You never should allow someone to treat you in a way that us unacceptable to you, but you do need to express your feelings.
We both have learned, and continue to learn our unique “love” language. The way we each express our love for one another differs. We place no expectations upon each other. That is not today that we do not feel that the other should or should not do something, what it means is that we do not allow their doing or not doing to define the level of love we have for one another. It is the little acts and deeds which show the commitment and love we have for each other, the small things. When it comes to major life issues, we stand together. If we disagree, we discuss, we pout, we withdraw for a time, and then come together as a couple and find a resolution.
We have not given up. No matter what life has thrown at us, we made a choice. We chose to stand as one, right or wrong, we stand together and face the issues. The path to an agreement is not always pretty, often very messy, never argumentative.
We have learned to allow each other to be who they need to be. We do not try to change the other; we do not work to prove the other wrong. We feel free to speak our minds. We have grown in different directions over the last nineteen years, different directions with different goals and still we have grown together.
Silence does not equal anger, depression or withdrawal. One of the great things we both have in common is our ability to be in the same room or a car without the need to speak. We understand that silence is golden; conversation is important, in fact, it is critical, but silence is comforting. To know you can share the energy and love of a person without having to be in constant communication with us is the greatest secret to our relationship.
We are not experts in relationships. Frankly, we only know what has worked for us. On March 21st, we will celebrate two years of being officially married. Had the laws allowed we would have been married much longer. Seventeen years ago we committed ourselves to each other in an "unofficial" ceremony. Had the laws allowed at the time, that would be our wedding anniversary. Even with that, I believe we committed ourselves to each other the first time we said: “I love you.”
Relationships take work. Marriage is work. There are no short cuts. I can not say that this is forever, what I can say is that we work every day to ensure that it will be. We choose to stay together because we love each other, not necessarily because it is easy.