Sunday, January 5, 2014

'Till Death Do Us Part


A few weeks back, my friend, Lindsey, was telling me about a DVD she had and wanted me to watch.  It was called "Edie and Thea: A Very Long Engagement" which told the story of Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer. 

Brief History (But you should Google this shit on your own): Edie and Thea met in 1963 and they began their lifelong, torrid love affair. At the time of their engagement in 1967, they dare not even wear engagement rings because of the social stigma of being gay.  As a symbol of their promise and commitment, Thea gave Edie a diamond lapel pin in the shape of a circle (ring) so she could wear it without people knowing her secret love.

Thea was later diagnosed with MS and Edie took amazing care of her. In 2007, when Canada began to allow same-sex couples who were not Canadian residents to marry, the women flew up to finally tie the knot.  With tears, they joyfully wed and ended their 40 year, "very long engagement".

Two years later, Thea passed away and Edie went on to successfully challenge the constitutionality of DOMA and see it ruled as unconstitutional so that many states are now allowing same-sex marriage.  

As important this piece of homo-history is (hence my need to share it), the documentary really made me sad.

These two women fell in love and they stayed together for a lifetime.  They invested themselves in each other.  They worked through their differences because they were committed.  

As happy as I was for these women to have such an amazing life together and to see the tender devotion they showed to each other through Thea's battle with MS, I realized that, at 44, my chance for a lifetime of memories with someone came and went.

I waited too long to come out and I fell in love with and married the first lesbian I met.  I worked my ass off to keep something together that was never going to work.  Like my therapist loves to remind me, I don't give up when I should.  

I guess not.  Because to me, marriage is a commitment.  You aren't supposed to give up AT ALL.  You break up with girlfriends, not spouses.  Why do people now treat them like they are the same thing?  I don't get it...

It gives me no joy that I am single because my ex-wife did not honor her vows and left the marriage. 


She had her reasons.

It only made it easier for me to see (while I was struggling with guilt of not taking her back when she was asking for yet more chances), that I was not the one who left the marriage.  The day she moved out was the day I was released from my vows.   

Was it the culture that we grew up in where gay couples can't even get married?  I grew up being told that gay people are promiscuous and have many, many partners.  Is that even true and if it was at the time, was it because they have never been treated equally and have the same expectation for a lifetime of love as heterosexual couples?  

I have many married gay couple friends.  They honor their commitments to each other.  They are long-suffering with each other.  They do what it takes to make progress and for the things that drive them crazy about each other than they know they can't change because it's who they are, they find a way to stand and deal.

It is my great hope for the newer generation of gay and lesbian couples that the idea of making a lifetime commitment will become a normal part of their identity and mentality.  I hope that, like Edie and Thea, they will work to stay fully in love and filled with joy and truly honor their vows of "for better or worse, richer or poorer and in sickness and health as long as you both shall live."

And to Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer, I honor you.  Not only for your great service for marriage equality, but especially for keeping the commitment that you made to each other and setting an example that gay couples can do a lifetime, too.


midlifenatalie said...

Are we the same age? That I didn't know!

What a love story! I watched this and was so moved!

It didn't make me sad, it gave me hope. Hope for a committed relationship. And while I don't have a lifetime to give, I do have the rest of my life. My goal is to be with one woman longer than I was with my husband. He and I had 19 years together. The clincher here is that I know who it is that I want and she is still married to her husband of 16 years. Damn!

I think that there are so many lesbians who are in those long term committed relationships. There are just many who are players as well. Anyone our age who isn't in a committed relationship already is probably either a player or newly out herself. That's the problem.

Since my first...the one that I still want, I have dated two women. Both had been in committed relationships before. One was even married. When her wife chose alcohol and drugs over her time and time again, she had to let her go. She was sad. The most recent had been in several relationships before ours and they all lasted between 2 and 3 years. She claims to be a serial monogamist. That sounds like a load of horse shit to me.

Both wanted to get married, but I just couldn't make that commitment. I knew what that commitment meant. It meant for the rest of my life. I had already broken that promise when I divorced my husband, and I wasn't about to marry someone unless I was certain that I was in it for life. I wasn't ever certain.

And now I'm not interested in even dating because it isn't fair to whoever I might date. I know who I want, and until my heart tells me to give up on it, I can't.

Sinnerviewer said...

If you are 44, we are the same age. 1969 was a good year! And I was with my husband for 18 years so we have that in common, too.