What is Love ???

When I met Peter we were going to “Meetings” we had an instinctual commonality and the propensity to believe in spiritual experince and angels. Go figure! In the beginning we had no money but we did like each other’s company. I fell in love from the word Go. That love has been tested over the years, mostly prior to our getting married, because we had to deal with “For better or for Worse AND In Sickness and in Health” before we even recited our vows.

I’m going to be 40, Shane, in a couple of months. So what is love has changed several times since I was 21, 31, and so on… I started this relationship I was what 34 years old and I had been sober a little less than a year. What is love? Well, we did a lot together and we cohabitated from a couple of months into our relationship. And we liked that arrangement. Being apart was something we couldn’t bear, because of the attraction – not to mention the sex we were having then. That has all since changed and not for the better I must tell you.

Peter got sick a year into our relationship, his nervous breakdown and his eventual Bi-Polar diagnosis and the 10 months I sat in the dark alone waiting for his meds to kick in and we finally had found the mixture that worked. Not to mention my HIV disease, but he loved me anyways. We had that sero-discordant issue but we dealt with it.

Sex is not a daily issue – the frequency of sex is the issue today. Bi-Polar medication has done a number on our marriage, because of what the meds did to him that changed him so drastically on the outside that he is not the same boy I fell in love with. But he is the same on the inside. If sex was the make or break issue in our relationship and I had the audacity to leave, there is that choice. (What is more important in a long term relationship – vs – a marriage). We took that step when he got better and the lights came on in the tower.

For gay men, sex IS the main issue not to mention monogamy and commitment. So there are more than one issue that the gay community in my opinion battles with. Do I want to “till death do us part” or do I want to just cohabitate and share the bills till the sex goes south! When I was wanting to leave my relationship prior to our marriage, and I was fed up of sitting here alone night after night, when Peter was down for the count as he was for those 10 months, I was conflicted on whether to stay or to leave. I had my own issues and I wanted to have sex – I was only thinking about myself. Until one night I heard a friend tell me a story about the elderly man…

An elderly man walks into a hospital to get stitches out of his hand – and he is pensive and always looking at his watch.
An orderly takes him in and starts the procedure. The man is still pensive looking at his watch.
The orderly asks him if he is in a hurry, the elderly man replies, he has to go soon, it is almost time.
The orderly asks him about his life and his desire to get going,
The elderly man replies – I have to have breakfast with my wife, we have breakfast every day
at home? The orderly asks, No at the home
You see my wife has Alzheimer’s and every day I have breakfast with her
the orderly asks why? Why do you go every day when she doesn’t remember who you are???

The elderly man replies with emphasis, “She may not remember who I am, but I remember who she IS!”

That night my life changed.

I learned that in a relationship, sometimes I must and always try to put my husbands needs before my own, and in those times, I had to do that. When we got married we did the deed, we said those words before God and our friends and family. We had been through the worst already so what could get worse now? Things did get better medically, he is better, I am ok today, thank God. We both entered University, from which I will graduate on the 18th of June.

We have learned what is important to each of us individually. We both have our own lives apart, he has his writing and studies and the gym. I have my life, my meetings and skool. I go out with friends on occasion and so does he. We live together so one must find time to spend with ones self. We all need alone time each day. I get that. He is a morning person, I am a night person.

We cook together, sleep together, have sex occasionally, but I’ve mellowed on the sex issue, i was once a horny animal. but I guess you mellow with age huh! When we do have sex it is as good as it can be. But I don’t expect anything from anyone. Peter and I can read each other, we each take care of the other, we protect each other fiercely. We only invite real friends home to dine in our house. We don’t waste time with useless people.

We go out on date night at least 2 to three times a month. We go to the mall each weekend just to have lunch at the food court, to change things up. We go to the movies and bookstores (Indigo and Chapters) We don’t usually do the Gay things here. We don’t have but a handful of married friends who are seemingly anti social in certain settings. Since we don’t drink, we don’t barhop At All. So our lives are very different from you and Noah’s. or any other couple.

Skool keeps us pretty occupied. We don’t get out much during busy periods. Since we don’t drink, we don’t have that social aspect to our marriage. WE DO go out to the Club to dance on the odd occasion. But since the bars don’t start cranking until after 11 pm, and the metro closes at midnight and taxi fare to the village is $10.00 @ way, taking a night out to go dancing is reserved for special occasions. We live too far from the village to walk …

Growing up Gay has changed over the last 15 years. Things I thought were important then, are not that important any more. We have mellowed with age. We don’t live in gay space like we did when we were both younger. But how you choose to live, Shane, will change, you can’t fight it. We all grow up and things of the 20’s become trite and pointless in your thirties and even into your 40’s although I am not there yet.

My best gay friend and his husband are locals. We go to museums and dinner, and the fireworks festival. Sometimes we go out for coffee. you know simple easy outings, that are not just to be out and gay, but we talk about our marriages, jon and I talk about peter because he was my consult while he was sick, he helped me a great deal to stick and stay. jon and peter got married a few weeks before we did in 2004.

Love is

– listening to your husband breathing as he lays next to you in bed
– knowing he likes chocolate – and buying it just because
– knowing that I will never sleep alone

– that we like the same kinds of food

– The he has my back emotionally, medically and lovingly

– That I have his back

– that sex is something that we do when we feel like it – not because we must do it …

– back rubs – on demand whenever – just because

– bubble baths together are necessity and frequent

– marriage is more than cohabitation. it is the ultimate feeling – emotion – event in my gay life – it was the most cathartic experience of my life

– when we said our vows, we did not pre-read them together – so i had no idea what he was going to say

– if you set our vows side by side – they were practically the same almost verbatim. That was no coincidence

– we know each other – we love each other – we are monogamous and committed and let me tell you – that was no small feat

MONEY is the biggest bitch in our relationship. not having enough of it because we live on a student budget. He works on the off skool season. I haven’t started working yet mainly because of my french (un-proficiency)

It has taken us years to get the numbers “workable” we still struggle until we both enter the workforce full time. We still penny pinch, but it always works out one way or another that we get what we need, because of certain people in our lives who want to see us succeed. that is grace. Our friends are more like family.

Our in-laws are an issue, my lack of family and his abundance of family and their issues with homosexuality and our marriage. That is a stressor. His siblings are hit or miss, his brother is homophobic but his wife is not. His mom still struggles at times. In the last few holidays, he went home alone to Ottawa, I stayed in Montreal. We decided this amongst ourselves to save face and make everyone happy and that’s ok with us.

Like I said, we are married, you guys are not, YET!!

What is love. In the end…

Learning to put someone Else’s needs before your own. That is when “This boy” became a “Man.” The biggest lesson I learned in my manhood.

I am more than Gay, and Gay is less a stressor than it was before. That I am Gay is no longer an issue.

I am due respect, dignity and equality – that took a long time after we got married in public.

“all I want is to be loved and respected and anyone who can’t give me that has no business in my life!” Harvey Fierstein. (Torch Song Trilogy)

What I am is immaterial. I am identified by WHO I am not WHAT I am. That came over this long life of mine.
Who I am means more to me, my character is based on the man I am to others. I’ve learned that in 40 years. I don’t, We don’t have those gay issues we did when we were twenty.

Coming out, finding a man, having sex, drugs and alcohol, crashing a burning. We’ve grown up so our issues as a married couple, are not the same as gay couples who cohabitate or are at the outset of a relationship. In marriage we evolved to the next level. Marriage will be the greatest test of American couples. Monogamy will be another test. Till death do you part with the same man forever is different for Gay men then straight men. Divorce is an unacceptable issue for us.

If we can’t work it out, means that we have not tried. and once you say ” I DO, you WILL!!” everything will change. How can I have sex with the same man forever???

And what if the sex falls off, and I fall out of love? Or my fetish is ignored or my hubby wont have sex when I want to have sex? you see gay men who date don’t have to worry about the “dating pool.” Or the Sex Pool. it is when things get serious that these issues come to pass. Once you’re married its finished. no more shopping for men and sex. You either make due, You deal or you maintain a good sex life. besides all the shit going on in your relationship.

People get sick, issues arise, especially if you are both working on a program of recovery. These medical issues come up sooner or later, how you cope with them together IS the main issue.

No marriage is ever free of ANY stress. Although we do try to avoid it as much as possible.

Today we accept each other Foibles and All. The good and the bad, the nice and the nasty. We know when the other needs time to them selves.

But you learn that over time I guess.

A couple either grows together OR they grow apart, what is it that you want from Noah and from/for Yourself?

I’ve been HIV positive for now 14 years, so I have mastered the art of observing others, teaching others, I have seen some bad shit in my life, I’ve seen good gay and very ugly gay. I tend towards the good gay today. I don’t waste my time with ignorant and stupid people, life is too short.

Life is too short to be miserable. right!!!

We are meant to live, love and be loved in return. Today I am…

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