Today is our fifteen years anniversary. Good Lord, has it really been that long? It feels like yesterday that I first met my husband. I still vividly remember that day I sent my friend over to go and tell hubby I thought he was cute. I also remember the agonizing two months that I had to wait for him to become available. I also clearly recall that auspicious Sunday evening when we finally officially became a couple, at a Drag Show nonetheless. For a long time we lied and told people we met at an art exhibition. You know because that just sounded more sophisticated than telling people we met at a Bar called “Bulls Eye”. But now fifteen years on, what is the point of lying about where we met and I say fuck sophistication, we met at a Bar and at least it wasn’t a steam room.
For a long time there has been this myth that gay people are incapable of sustaining long term relationships, that we’re drug taking promiscuous misfits who cannot settle down and build a happy life for ourselves; that we are destined to grow old in nightclubs forever chasing after our long lost youth. But that is just it - it’s a myth. There are countless couples that I know of out there who have been in relationships for much longer than we have been. Perhaps they are not active in the gay scene anymore and aren’t as visible, but we are out there. Look, I won’t lie. The last fifteen years were not all rainbows and butterflies. Relationships take work. But when you find someone who is worth it you won’t mind putting in the effort. So let me share with you some of our highlights and lowlights of the past fifteen years.
All relationships have ups and downs. Some couples are strong enough to make it through those down times and others are not. As for hubby and I the majority of our down times were because of my profession. Having had a rather interesting career thus far, which for the most part I am legally obligated to keep secret and not talk about or God forbid write about, I will share with you only the things that won’t land my ass in jail. During my career I have been required to be away from home a lot. Sometimes not being allowed to tell my husband where I was going or what I was doing. He accepted this and I admired him for it as it does take courage for a spouse not to ask questions when you in fact have many.
The worst time in our relationship was when I worked undercover. I was away from home for a long time and I know my husband was sick with worry knowing that what I was doing was dangerous. I did however, during that time, check in with him once a day with phone calls telling him that I was still alive and finding out how things were going at home. This I always did to put his mind at ease and for me to hear a familiar voice. It was a routine we had for every time I went away and I never missed a phone call. Well, that’s not true, there was that one time.
While working undercover there was a particularly nasty incident where I got hurt and I did not check in with my husband. He sat at home waiting for my call that never came. He was wondering if I was still alive and had no means of contacting me. Out of fear that something might have happened to me he eventually called a colleague of mine. He told him that he hasn’t heard from me and asked him how long he has to wait before he should start to get worried. The colleague told him two days and hubby lost his mind. At around 10pm that evening I finally manage to speak to him much to his relief. Later, after I returned home and my undercover operation was concluded I found a letter that he wrote on our computer in which he wrote that he didn’t think our marriage is going to work if I continue to do undercover work. Consequently, I never worked undercover again.
Another lowlight in our relationship was when my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and her passing away nine months later. It was a particularly difficult time for me. I have a tendency to withdraw emotionally and tend to keep people at a distance when going through something serious. I guess I do this to protect myself but unfortunately I then also push away the people who I care about the most. Hubby did his best to support me and was patient with me which is a very difficult thing to do when he, at that time, must have felt so alone in our marriage. After my mother’s passing he also embraced our peculiar family traditions when it comes to mourning. He did not question why we had to cover all the mirrors in the house and why we had to keep a vigil with incense and a candle for seven days after the funeral, he just did it. Even though I was emotionally unavailable and grief stricken he was patient with me and gave me all the love and support that I so desperately needed.
Sure there other low lights that we had in our fifteen years together but seeing as my reader’s attention span only allows for a 1500 words I will skip them this time around. Before I depress you more than a cold cup of coffee let’s move on and get to the highlights, shall we. Getting legally married must be one of the highlights of the last fifteen years. Having our union legally recognized not only legitimized our relationship but also shows the world that we are committed to each other. Certainly it would still be true even without that piece of paper but it is comforting to know that if something would ever happen to either one of us the other will be legally the beneficiary of the other’s estate. Also, I’d much rather have my husband make the difficult medical decisions should it ever come down to it as opposed to anyone else. After all he knows me better than I know myself.
Our honey moon in Egypt and all our international travels have been highlights. Both of us have a keen sense of adventure when it comes to exploring foreign countries. Even with my OCD travel is the one thing I will never so no to. Hubby is the best travel companion being the practical one and the voice of reason. He is also the one that freaks out travel guides and I remember the one time in Egypt when he told our guide to stop at a market that was not on our itinerary. The guide reluctantly obliged and hubby did not blink an eye as he started surveying the market for bargains. We eventually split up going in different directions in the market and almost caused the guide to have a complete nervous breakdown much to my amusement. This is exactly why I love my husband so much.
The fact that my husband also gets my sense of humor, which is dark and dry most of the time, and that he has accepted that I suffer from a severe case of foot-in-mouth disease is a big advantage. He has many times told me that “I cannot take you anywhere” as I inadvertently always find a way to offend some people. His journey to accepting this side of who I am is most definitely a highlight for me. My other idiosyncrasies, of which there are in an abundance, and how they challenge him on a daily basis and his ability to accept them I find more than enduring and makes me love him more every day.
Another major highlight in the last fifteen years is our home. When we decided to buy a house and move out of our apartment we both knew it would be stressful. We searched for months to find the perfect home that would meet both our needs. So when we finally found the perfect house it needed some work to tweak it to what we wanted. We had to do some breaking down (both the house and our mental states), we had builders and painters in our house and yard and there were a couple of royal fuck ups. But after a couple of months of renovations, a few meltdowns and me on the bathroom floor crying like an emotionally disturbed child many an evening, most of the renovations are complete and we made it through that time having a stronger marriage, stronger relationship and the almost perfect house.
Fifteen years is a long time to be with the same person. But when fifteen years feels like five, you know that you have met your soul mate and that you are in this for the long haul. Sure there will be good times and bad times, rich times and poor times and sickness and health. But through the highs and the lows if your love is pure you will make it. Hubby and I almost never fight and I have been asked many times what our secret is and it’s really simple - respect each other. We have never cursed each other, screamed at each other and even when we are angry as hell and think the other one is being an asshole we still respect each other enough to resolve our differences in a respectful manner. The myth that gay people cannot have long term relationships is bullshit. Hubby and I are living proof that gay people can. So if you are single and reading this, there is hope and you must never give up on love. Your soul mate is out there. Here is to another glorious fifteen years of marital bliss. I love you hubby.
Till next time.