Yesterday, I wrote a blog post that was triggered by a thought written by a virtual stranger on the internet. By one word in that thought actually. And what I ended up writing was in no way close to what was on my mind concerning that word, but it was the beginning of a story that could include that word someday. I ran out of time yesterday morning so I wasn’t able to bring the thought, the word, and my thoughts together into something complete. Today, I am gathering my own thoughts again to try and finish what I started.
So it’s been a month and 6…wait…7 days. A month and a week. I can’t even explain my feelings about it all. I can say that it has been the easiest month and week I’ve ever had at the beginning of a relationship. The first couple of weeks I was a little unsure of where things were headed, but it was still so easy. I knew I liked her, but I had been so confident that my decision to not date anyone right now was the right decision that it threw me for a loop. I knew she liked me, but it was hard to know what was going through her mind exactly. She had lots of thoughts. I could see them pass by her eyes. I am usually a pretty good thought seer, but like me, she needed time to think them before she could voice them so I wasn’t ever completely sure. I guess, since it’s only been a month and a week, I should still be saying that I’m not sure where things are headed. It is still early. But the thing is…I know. She’s voiced some of those thoughts. She’s heard mine. I know she has more to say at some point. I’ve seen it. And I can imagine it. And despite it only being a month and a week, we are headed towards the word that triggered this post.
Now let me start at what should have been the beginning…
Yesterday, I was reading the Facebook page of a stranger friend. She is gay and has recently started dating someone. I say recently, but in all actuality it might have been 6 months already. They are living together and in her update she said something about plans she had with her “wife” over the weekend. And that is where I stopped. I was surprised to see her using that word. Wife. Such a HUGE word. They aren’t married. They haven’t had a ceremony. And I know it takes much more than a ceremony to add meaning to the word, but it just hit me the wrong way. I hear that word thrown around like it’s light and airy. It’s attached to so many living together situations where it doesn’t actually belong. Now I totally get that it’s the prerogative of the person using the word to attach whatever meaning they want to it, but for me it is a sacred word. One that comes with a lifetime of commitment. Not one that goes with every committed monogamous dating relationship. Even those where you’ve moved in together and have plans for a future. There has to be a point where it becomes the right thing to say. And moving in together isn’t that point for me. And lesbians seem to be the worst about using it flippantly. If you ask heterosexual couples who’ve lived together for less than two years, but have not had any kind of commitment ceremony, I would venture to say they don’t ever use the terms husband and wife to refer to each other. They just don’t. They are boyfriend/girlfriend, fiancees, partners maybe. But husband and wife are terms that are usually reserved for either long term live-in couples or for after an actual wedding ceremony.
My ex used the term wife to refer to me on occasion. I was never comfortable with it at all, and at no point did I ever refer to her using that word. She was my girlfriend. Plain and simple. After we moved in together I added the word partner to my vocabulary. I did feel that since we were living together it automatically upped the level of relationship. But at no point was she ever my wife nor was I hers. Early on there was talk of marriage. It always made me uncomfortable, but I never said so. The fact that I let her believe that I was completely on board with that idea was terrible of me. I just wasn’t ready to get married. I didn’t know if I would ever be ready again. With my first girlfriend, it was the same. I wasn’t ready to make that kind of commitment to anyone. I had failed the first time I tried it so I couldn’t bring myself to make that kind of promise to someone else. Someone I wasn’t 100% sure about.
It’s been 5 years since I left my husband and 4 years since the word wife was an appropriate moniker for me. I’ve dealt with the fact that my marriage failed. I accept responsibility for it. I’m not sad over it nor do I feel guilt over it anymore. I understand that for me to be who I truly am, I had to leave. And now I am different. I’m not the same girl I was 5 or even 4 years ago. I’ve had my heart broken into a million pieces and had to pick myself back up from the depths of despair. I’ve gone through a major life change and learned to stand on my own two feet. I’ve been in two significant relationships which both taught me things about myself and what it is that I want and need in a significant other. And I’ve learned how to recognize red flags. That is important.
When I met my husband, there were no red flags. Not one. Yes, I had been secretly attracted to women, but because I was raised Southern Baptist, it wasn’t even an option for me. And I was madly in love with him. He was perfect. We were perfect. At 19, I knew I wanted to marry him before I ever even officially dated him. We even joked about how alike we were and that we should just get married a full year before we started dating. After two years of dating we tied the knot. It was the summer I turned 22. I loved being his wife and couldn’t imagine being with anyone else. I put aside any and all feelings I had about girls from the moment I met him. It was only when we went overseas that those deeply buried desires came back up and I had to face them head on. So for 12 years of our 19 year marriage there was never even a thought about it. I’d say that’s pretty good. And for last 6 years we lived together I fought myself over being gay on a daily basis. Because I was his wife and I loved him. I truly did.
With both of the lesbian relationships I’ve been in, there were red flags from the beginning. I saw things that I knew would be a problem, but I thought I might get over them. I tried to push aside the red flags and see around them to a future somewhere. I just accepted that things might not be perfect and lived with that. In both situations, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t ever say with certainty that I was where I was supposed to be. I knew better.
And now I am here. In a month and a week long relationship that has taken my breath away. I’ve looked hard and analyzed it from all angles and I can find no red flags. None. How is that even possible? How is it that she seems perfect for me? I’ve asked myself that question over and over. But in the end, it is what it is. She is perfect for me. I can keep asking and looking and digging and concentrate on finding something wrong or I can embrace the amazing thing that it is. I choose to embrace it. And while I have no idea what the future will look like exactly, I know where we are headed. It’s been mentioned some, but because this is so new for both of us, we’ve tread pretty lightly. But for the first time since my divorce I can say with complete certainty that I will get married again. That’s huge for me. I never thought it would happen.
And the best part…not only will I be a wife again someday…for the first time ever, I will have a wife. You guys…you have NO idea how crazy it feels to say that. I can’t help it though. The word bubbles up and has to be said. Wife…wow.