One of the main events of a rather eventful 18 months was starting a new same-sex relationship. I am pretty sure that people (read: family and friends!) have questions…
- Have you always been gay?
- Why get married and have children?
- Why haven’t you done anything sooner?
So, I’m going to bite the bullet, overcome my discomfort and answer the questions I’m sure some people have!
Have you always been gay? Yes, I
think know so. Though when I first became aware that I thought I might be – as a teenager – I wasn’t brave enough to admit it even to myself, yet alone anyone else. I can appreciate men – on many levels – but given a choice? I find women more attractive on almost every level.
Why get married and have children? Jonathan and I got together when I was 17 and he was 19. We clicked, we connected and we fell in love. Despite being aware of my attraction to members of the same sex, I hadn’t had a relationship with anyone who accepted me, loved me and ‘got’ me as much as Jonathan did at the time.
He was an easy person to be with – kind, loving, thoughtful etc. I don’t regret any of my time with him…we had a good relationship on many levels but that didn’t stop the odd moment from occurring when I knew I needed and wanted more/something different.
Why haven’t you done anything sooner? Life. Kids. It never felt like a good time to destroy something that wasn’t necessarily wrong but equally didn’t always feel quite right.
There were moments – certain friendships – in my life when I could have chosen a different path but didn’t, mostly out of fear and not being courageous enough to make a change. I could easily tell myself why it wasn’t a good time and kept myself in the safer narrative of the relationship I had.
What changed? I don’t exactly know what the catalyst was. I do remember standing in the bedroom of the ‘dream’ country cottage where we were living, and very decidedly acknowledging to myself that I wanted a different life: “This isn’t the life I’d imagined, this isn’t where I’m meant to be”.
I set an intention then and there that my life would be different within 12 months; I intended that I’d be in a relationship with a woman, probably someone with children of their own so they’d understand what it was like having kids, and that they would ‘get’ me as much as, if not more, than Jonathan always did.
So what’s it like coming out in later life and living the cliché?
It’s been breathtakingly enriching and heart-achingly tough all at once. In one, albeit clichéd word, it’s been: Life-changing!
With 4 young children to consider, and each of us with our own emotional stuff to continue working through, it has not been a walk in the park. Becky and I have had to work hard to get through some really tough times, and no doubt this will continue.
I have learned more about myself (and others) in the past 18 months than I have throughout the rest of my entire life!
I’ve learned about the importance of polarity when it comes to attraction and chemistry…
This makes complete sense to me – I have a stronger-than-usual masculine essence for a woman, Jonathan has a stronger-than-usual feminine essence so we balanced each other out, but it also meant we swung from being either too rooted and fixed in these roles in some ways, or stifled by them in others.
I often felt I couldn’t embrace my masculine energy instead trying to be more feminine and let Jonathan be ‘the man’. I know that I stifled Jonathan’s tendency to be emotional, even telling him (to my shame) to ‘man up’ sometimes.
With Becky, our masculine/feminine essences are more interchangeable and flexible; being with a woman allows my more masculine energy to come out (hence totally embracing the short hair!) and allows Becky to embrace the feminine she’s often denied.
I’ve learned what my key triggers are and how I defend myself…
Although I’ve also embarked on the journey to explore what it means to be adopted, being in a new relationship means I’ve encountered numerous situations that I probably wouldn’t have done had I stayed in my former relationship.
While this has inevitably then caused many of my triggers and buttons to be pushed, it’s given me the opportunity to explore them, understand them and figure out how to better respond each time it happens. I’ve become intimately acquainted with the various defence mechanisms and constructs I use to seemingly keep myself ‘safe’ and on my island.
I’ve been forced to own aspects of myself I’ve denied (or not been aware of) and I now know myself more than I’ve ever known myself! Not only this, I know other people in my life more intimately than I’ve ever known them, being able to truly ‘see’ them, their stuff and why they behave and respond how they do, and why they are how they are too.
To children, love is love…
Our children are 4, 5 and two 8-year olds. We have only briefly addressed the ‘gay’ thing with them and to them, for now, love is love. While I’m sure this will become more of a theme for them and we’ll likely need to talk about this in more detail with them, to them this is simply ‘normal’.
It’s an identity I’m not fully comfortable with. Yet…
There’s a whole lesbian code, language and hierarchy which I know I’m not savvy about at all. Nor do I currently wish to be. I’m not a fan of labels of any kind though I realise I’m privileged to be able to live my life how I choose in this way. I am sure this is an identity I’ll explore and embrace more fully in time, but for now, there’s enough to be exploring in my life!
Living the cliché – leaving your husband, falling in love with a female best friend, and coming out in later life – is most definitely all it’s cracked up to be, and more…
It’s the highs, it’s the lows. It’s the frequent butterflies-in-the-stomach feelings. It’s learning the insanely frustrating foibles of a new person in your life. It’s the amazing sex. It’s the flouncing-off-in-a-huff arguments when you’re both triggered by stuff. It’s the thrill of finding someone who gets you on every level. It’s the challenge of navigating 4 little peoples’ hearts, minds, emotions and bodies. It’s not for the faint of heart but it’s the life I’ve chosen and I’d choose it – every single time – in a heartbeat.