In marriage there’s a slow unpacking of baggage, and occasionally one of the items we pull out is a person: an ex, to be specific. Whenever exes surface from the storage trunks of our past, there’s the question of what to do with them. Should we stuff them back down, buried forever under the mothballs of other memories? Or should we pull them out for our spouse to see, an out-of-date fashion that’s a reminder of a particular time in life? As we’ve been discovering in our own marriage, there’s no one right answer.
Today’s connectivity has made dating simultaneously easier and harder. It’s easier to find matches (Tinder!), but harder to get to know them as people. It’s easier to express interest in someone (swipe right!), but harder to make that leap into authentic vulnerability. And thanks to Facebook profiles, one day you’re single, and the next you’re suddenly “in a relationship.” But it’s that wide gap between singleness and relationship that is so nebulous, and the cause of so much angst.
There’s no shortage of advice on how to keep a marriage healthy. Many people write love letters to their spouses. Some buy flowers and chocolate. Others take sexy boudoir photos. Us? We blog about each other. It’s one of the most wonderful, and wonderfully painful experiences we’ve had in our marriage. And maybe it’s not for you, but we recommend every couple find their own version of “blogging.” Here’s why...
A new job resulted in both of us working from home. We soon learned that too much togetherness wasn’t good for the health of our marriage. It’s hard to have quality time when there’s too much quantity, and we slowly started taking take each other’s presence for granted. As it turns out, when you're married it's not so much “out of sight, out of mind,” but rather “always in sight, seldom in mind.”
Constantino and I regularly face unsolicited interactions from other members of the LGBTQ community, ranging from vague flirtation to shockingly direct advances. It’s mostly online, but it happens in person occasionally as well. In talking with other married friends, we know we're not alone. It reveals the uncomfortable fact that many in the gay community have little reverence for the institution of marriage.
Today in our mailbag, a question about wavering attraction at what it might mean: "I just don't seem to even experience much attraction to anyone. I'm in my early 30s and started dating a year or so ago, after years of being closeted and then years of celibacy. In that process I naturally suppressed a lot of emotions and any hints of attraction (which have existed over the years; I don't see myself as asexual). Do you have any insight into what's going on here?"
There are a number of private holidays I observe throughout the year. I’m slowly introducing David to them, and one of them has become particularly meaningful to me now that I’m married: December 26th, my grandparents’ anniversary. This year would have been their 80th. And sure, it’s many months away, but as we get close to Valentine’s Day—a holiday that both David and I find silly and haven’t usually celebrated—I thought I’d share about the one holiday that, to me, means love
David and I wrote last Friday about the government’s move to ban Muslim refugees. Today I’m supposed to go back to writing about marriage and relationships. But I can’t. As much as we both want to change the subject away from politics, I can’t. Not yet. We all want to pretend that life goes on as normal; we want to pretend that we’re sure life will look the same in a year or two, and we want to pretend that our plans for the future have solid footing. Failing to pretend risks caving to fear, to melodrama, to alarmism. Failing to pretend risks making us sound like a bunch of Chicken Littles. And yet we still can’t, and shouldn’t, change the subject.
We’re both old enough now that virtually all of our LGBTQ friends are out of the closet, so sometimes it’s easy for us to forget that this isn’t the everyday reality for everyone. Many LGBTQ folks are still struggling to figure out their sexuality and testing the waters to see if it’s safe to be open. Whether someone’s coming-out process takes days or decades, it’s a season through which no one should be rushed. And because it’s such a complex and stressful time of life, we’ve been asked by readers: Should I even date someone who’s still closeted
One of my favorite books on writing describes a fundamental crisis the protagonist of every story faces: Stasis = Death. That is to say, at the outset of every story, the protagonist encounters a dilemma: stay the same and die (metaphorically or physically) or embrace change and face unknown dangers, possibly even death (metaphorically or physically). It’s a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t situation. And it’s the story of all of our lives.