I made an announcement here, on Facebook, and on the “Boots on Line” board that I married my partner of almost 20 years. Yeah, it was a momentous occasion in our hearts and minds, and I appreciated the love and support from my family and friends. The response was surprising to me, to tell you the truth. Here’s an analysis.
I should not have been surprised, but I was, from the wild enthusiasm expressed from some of my friends. I really had no idea. Well, I had some sense of an idea that most of them would say “congratulations” and such, but some of the attention has been — let’s say, “enthusiastic.”
All totaled, I heard from more than 300 people once I made our announcement. Most of the response was via email, which is my preferred communication (since I don’t text), or by phone. Words of “congratulations, “best wishes on wedded bliss,” “now you made him legal,” “couldn’t happen to a nicer couple,” and so forth were shared with us. We received some cards in the mail, and some gifts of sweets from senior pals and flowers from my sister.
Some responses were along the lines of “I didn’t know you were gay” or “I didn’t know you were in a same-sex relationship.” Comments like, “could have fooled me” or “when I first looked at your picture, I said to myself ‘He must be going in for a trial and that must be his lawyer.’ How way out of alignment my ‘radar’ is these days! CONGRATS to the both of you!!”
These types of statements are consistent with things I have said on this blog for years — that I am a guy involved in many activities — in my profession, in my community, and so forth — and that what I know and what I do are far more important to use to judge my character than my sexual orientation. I am “that guy who …” rather than “that gay guy who …”.
An interesting twist — a friend who I had worked for years, but who is now retired, has frequently posted on his Facebook statuses about his belief that marriage is only for a man and a woman. He has also shared politically-charged postings by some of the more outspoken radical conservatives in our country that lambaste same-sex marriage. However, he “liked” the photo of my spouse and me as we were leaving our courthouse, and indicated in a comment that he figured out why we were there. Perhaps by my public demonstration, he may come around to a different point-of-view. (He is among those who are realizing that my marriage in no way damages his marriage.)
I was anticipating that some friends would distance themselves or “unfriend” me, and that has indeed happened — but from quarters where I least expected. Someone who mentored me and who I admired greatly in my profession sent me a message that shocked and saddened me. Another person made a puzzling, non-supportive remark on Facebook, then unfriended me. I can’t help but take these actions personally. These things kept me awake the past few nights.
My spouse said, “forget them.” He also said, “you reap what you sow,” meaning that once I announced our marriage, it was not surprising that there would be some negative backlash. It’s hard to just forget someone you’ve known and worked with for 20 or 30 years. But I must, sadly.
Frankly, I expected some members of my extended family to back off and disconnect. So far, that hasn’t happened. But when some people who I really thought were friends did that, I have to admit that it hurt. I wear my heart on my sleeve sometimes. Some people have said that my being so sensitive is one reason why they love me, and others have said that being so sensitive is a reason why I get hurt and that I should “man-up” and get over it.
Well, it’s time to move on. It’s time for me to climb back astride my Harley and ride, now that the weather has warmed up. Get back to work. Continue supporting and caring for my senior pals. Clean up the yard and prepare for Spring and Summer. Usual stuff — routine.
Time now to move on.
Thanks to all for your support, though. The best way to support me now is to move on with me to other topics where we share mutual interest.
Life is short: over analyzing does nothing but keep you awake at night. Move on.