Friday, July 08, 2011
Why are some relationships eternal?
We met 31 years ago this month. It doesn't seem as long ago as that sounds. We hit it off immediately. I was smitten completely. And the surprising thing was, I had never been so smitten by anyone in that way before. I was confused. I was uncertain of my emotions, and yet I felt deeply an attachment that went way beyond the norm.
We ended up working together that school year, which brought us together every day. And what followed was a natural budding friendship which grew into something much, much more. We had so much in common and shared the same passion for so many things. This friendship blossomed into love - and at first and we became scared, and I was even more confused than before. But then, in time, we came back together, drawn together in a connection that even our confusion and fear could not break.
We became inseparable. We became a couple. There was talk. Roommates speculated as to what was going on between us. Could it be? Were we really in love? Indeed we were, and a few months later we were engaged and then married. That was 30 years ago this last week!
That may seem an eternity to some that may read this. Others may not comprehend how we could have stayed married these three decades. To be honest, there were times when I, myself could not comprehend it either. It is a miracle that we did get married, particularly with my homosexuality always hanging around and never going away, and even a bigger miracle that we have stayed married.
To say that it has been all bliss and roses and beautiful memories would be untruthful. To say that it has been horrific and painful and depressing would also be untruthful. In these last 30 years, there have been many moments of all of the above. The heartache and coming to terms with "deeply hidden secrets" and coming to terms with myself so very late in life, has taken its toll indeed on our relationship. Since coming out to her, we have never been the same. It is true when they say that you can't take it back once it is "out" there. It's like that toothpaste that has already been squeezed out of the tube... it gets messy trying to deny any longer or take anything back.
And so we've moved on. The continuing miracle is that we have moved on together, side by side. Though there is a long road ahead with many bumps of understanding to go through, we are still willing to go along together and make this work despite it all. And we have become stronger and our relationship, nearly dead... no, more like extinct... seven years ago, is now vibrant and alive and blooming. I wouldn't say it is thriving, but it is very much a living union of love.
Is there still hurt and pain, confusion and grief? Of course. For us, this has taken a lifetime to get to this point and will require another lifetime to come to figure it all out for certain. But this I do know: I am better because of her. I am a better man, a better father, a better husband. She makes me smile. She fills my heart in no way that any other woman has. She is my partner, my companion, my best friend, and yes, within these last years, she has become my lover. We had stopped intimacy for nearly 20 years and this nearly killed her, and it gave me relief. But now, we are happily imperfect lovers again.
This last weekend we slipped away to celebrate this indescribably complicated life that has been our journey together. Despite my occasional bromances, my desires for love and a soul-binding and physical and emotional relationship with another man, despite even my most recent encounter with my friend mentioned in the last post, despite all the blogging, all the MOHO friendships and possible connections with fellow men who understand me and me them, despite all that I say or wish or do within these electronic pages, I am left with the conviction that I need to be who I am - the real me - the one that she still loves, at her side...
For it is, indeed, a beautiful thing!