I can’t believe it but my partner and I have just celebrated being together for ten years. In gay life compared to straights I think it’s more like 40. If someone had told me I was going to be in a committed relationship with someone for ten years I would have told them it was crazy and impossible.
I won’t lie, when I was young I didn’t know what a relationship was.I didn’t even know how to spell it properly. But I wanted to be in one and was actually in several but the minute a problem or argument came up, I was out of there. That was my first lesson, that a relationship is not just the good times but being able to ride the storm together no matter what it is.
Yet in my early days like I said before, if things were rocky I headed for the exit.Also I was under the impression as a gay man that I was supposed to hump everything. It seemed that, that’s what everyone around me was doing. I didn’t have no examples of someone in a long term relationship, so I didn’t think such a thing was possible. So in essence I’ll call it what it was, I was a hoe.Yet in hindsight there was nothing wrong with that, because I was a young man and not ready to settle down. I think we don’t allow ourselves that freedom of exploring our sexually being. We feel that we have to have someone to be complete. I mean you spent all your life living under your parent’s roof and now you’re free and we need that freedom to explore who we are and what we want.We sometimes deny ourselves that freedom.
The second lesson I learned about relationships is that they are hard. You actually have to share. Not just of yourself but things like what television show you’re going to watch and who gets the remote, what and where you’re going to eat for dinner, who’s turn it is to wash the dishes. And the hardest thing for me was having to talk after a long day at work. As a single man I was so used to going home and relaxing in front of the TV, but now I had someone who wanted to break that routine and ask how my day was and all other conversations that I just didn’t have the energy to share. At least let me clear a show off my DVR before we talk!
Relationships are about compromising and thanks to my current partner he helped me to know what that meant. To this day people can’t believe that we didn’t have sex on the first date. I couldn’t believe it myself. But he was older and wanted to wait until six months before we had sex. Was he crazy!! In my gay world, we had sex first, then I learned your name, then we decided if we wanted to see each other again and whether the context was going to be just for sex or outdoor events. Looking back it was the best thing for me as during those six months we became good friends and it feels good knowing our relationship is built on a foundation of friendship and not how we perform sexually.
Don’t get me wrong there are still days when we have our hissy fight but we allow each other to have that space and then come back together instead of running away.
So Joel thank you for the ten years of sharing and for those who haven’t found it, it’ll happen, sometimes when you’re not looking. Just allow yourself to love and remember no matter who you meet they will not be perfect. And also be careful what you ask for. You want that relationship but I repeat it’s some work!!
But good luck and live your life positively!
Corrine Cochrane on Hurt/Hate/Heal Anonymous on Life’s Lesson with … gerard riveron on Christmas Wish Anonymous on Happy World AIDS Day Anonymous on Happy World AIDS Day