Those who read Shaun’s blog already know that there are some fun new developments in our love lives. Starting to date someone awesome is always exciting, and getting to see him start dating someone awesome is nearly as exciting, so enjoying both at once means that I’m walking around with a happy smile a lot these days.
It’s a little tempered, though, with the awareness of how few people in my life I can share this excitement with. Many of my co-workers know I’m in an open relationship, and if any of them disapprove they hide it well, but “I’ve started seeing this new person and it’s going really well so far!” becomes much less relatable when it’s “my boyfriend and I” and “these new people.” I can’t just walk in and gush… I would have to explain, would have to answer lots of “So how does that work?” and “so nobody’s jealous?” questions.
And then there are friends and family. I have many friends, especially more recent ones, who are fully supportive of my lifestyle. But most of my oldest friends are still as conservatively religious as when I met them, and I know they think that what I’m doing is not just misguided or unlikely to work, but morally wrong and damaging to my soul. They want me to be happy, of course, but they can’t really rejoice with me when my happiness is coming in such an unacceptable form.
I’ve been where they are. When my best friend came out as a lesbian, I still held to a religious doctrine that said that was wrong and against God’s will. Conversations about her life were a strain for both of us, as I wanted to hear what was going on with her, but I couldn’t simply be happy for her when she talked about how great her girlfriend was. And I know she heard the tension in my half-hearted congratulations. I really have no desire to hear the same thing in the voice of my old friends and my parents. Every time one of them asks how things are going with Shaun, I think they’re secretly hoping to hear, “I don’t know, I’m starting to feel like it’s not what I want out of life.”
But it is. This is exactly what I want out of life, and I’m happier than I’ve ever been. Honestly happy, not just convincing myself that I’m happy because I have the things a virtuous girl is supposed to want. Our life together has more joy and freedom, more challenge and excitement, than I ever could have imagined.
The fact that I can’t truly share my happiness with many people whom I love and who I know care about me is only a minor blot. But still… I wish things were different.