We Are Equal Yet Different

I received an email from one of my loyal blog readers, BootedPaul, with whom I have enjoyed exchanging email for years. He wrote to me with observations about some recent posts on this blog.

He said: …[it] has been my interest in having both partners equal and able to share equally. It is not a relationship that is discussed or promoted very much, but you certainly need appreciation for letting others know that it can be done and is enjoyable.

Thanks, Paul. I have written many blog posts about my partner and our relationship. We are indeed equals in our relationship and how we share our lives which are closely intertwined. We have been together for almost 17 years. During that time, we have grown and developed a bond that is as endearing as it is enduring.

There’s a lot of stuff on the Internet about gay relationships. I see many postings from gay men who talk about enjoying a dominant/submissive relationship. The “sub” does the work, the “dom” directs. Or one man in the relationship is the “Daddy” while the other is the “Pup.” Or the bitchy queens (‘nuf said about them.) Our relationship as equals is not often viewed on the ‘net — though I think there are a number of us “equal relationship couples” out there (some of whom I have met) but few post stuff about their relationship. It’s not really “news” for a blog or Forum posting when things are going well, is it?

Both my partner and I are independent, forward-looking men. We are as comfortable in our own skin as we are in leather, jeans, or nothing at all. We know who we are. We’re not perfect; we continue to learn from our mistakes. But what makes our relationship work are four things: trust, respect, listening, and love.

I trust my partner with my life; with my finances; with my insecurities, wants, and desires. I can be — and am — as honest with him as he is with me. We never do or say anything that can cause us to doubt the other’s veracity. If I go visit my very handsome best friend in Phoenix, my partner knows all about it and wishes me a good time. If I meet a visiting Boot Buddy for lunch or dinner, my partner is informed ahead of time and then asks me how it went (he is always invited, but he is not the social sort.)

Our mutual trust particularly extends to finances. I handle “the books” and every few weeks review our joint finances with my partner so he knows where every penny of our combined funds has been spent, allocated, or budgeted.

We both recognize that many relationships (gay or straight) have failed over fights about money, or when one partner steals from the other. While my partner is paid a higher salary than I am, it doesn’t matter to either of us. We contribute equal portions of our income to keeping our household and lifestyle secure and debt-free.

I respect my partner as my intellectual equal. We may have had different upbringings and formal education; nonetheless, I respect that he has thoughts, ideas, and interests that are valuable and contribute to my life-long learning. He does the same with me. Again, a difference is that my formal education achieved a much higher level than his; yet, he is my equal and we respect that we each can and want to learn from one another.

Respect is also demonstrated in how we speak with each other. How we listen, and how we respond. Never in a million years would either of us belittle the other — publicly or privately. My partner is a man who commands respect by how he acts and who he is. He would say the same thing about me (in fact, he did, the other night when he watched a public meeting that I led).

Listening is not often mentioned, but is important to describe about what makes a relationship work. Gay guys tend to blab a lot. Goodness knows I’ve been guilty of that. My partner has always been a superb listener. He hears things not said. He responds to cues about which he becomes aware because he’s not trying to be the talker. My partner has taught me a lot over our years of being together — shut up and listen! You might learn something! How true… how true. I make a strong effort to listen to what my partner says, so I can hear what’s important to him, and respond thoughtfully. My partner can do that in his sleep. I need more practice (smile).

Love? That’s the age-old enigma. People say that they fall in love and then sometimes things change, and they don’t love each other any more. Both my partner and I can say that our love is enduring because when all is said and done, love is what we have beyond anything else. We could lose our home to disaster; we could lose our jobs; other bad things could happen. Though we have taken measures to protect our lives, lifestyles, and financial security, we know that our love for one another is the foundation of our relationship, and is really all that matters.

Speaking of love — I also like my partner. He’s a cool dude. Fun guy. Witty. Smart. Playful. Generous. Romantic. He also can be a pain in the ass sometimes, as I can be hell sometimes too. There are a few times when our level of “like” for the other is challenged. But never our level of “love.” It’s always there.

We like to do different things in different ways. I am the Booted Biker of our duo, and he was happy being my passenger on the Harley (when his disability didn’t prevent it). He likes to sit and watch the animals in our forest while I like to get out and ride my Harley. I’m running around fixing things for seniors, and he’s buying the parts I need to keep my “Mary Poppins/MacGyver Bag” stocked. He is the master gardener and I’m the muddy-booted hole-digger. He’s the coupon clipper and I’m the guy who writes the grocery list in the order in which you’ll find the items in the store. He’s the football fan and I’m the skydiver. He’s the movie-buff and I’m just in love with his buff bod. Whatever… you get the point. We are equal yet different. Just the way WE like it.

Throughout all of this, I haven’t mentioned sex yet. Yes, sex is important and we enjoy a pleasurable sex life. But there’s much more to our relationship than sex. I have to say, though, that we wouldn’t have much of a relationship without sex, so yeah: sex is important. Being equals, we know what pleases the other and we take care of each other in the way that is most enjoyable for the other.

Intimacy is important to. The intimacy we share through our trust, honesty, as well as sex, makes our bond strong. If the hours in the day were long enough, I’d be happy just to lay in bed next to my partner and snuggle the whole day through, listen to him, talk about life, and just, … ahhh… relax in the comfort and security of the arms of my man (and vice-versa).

We are here to affirm that it is quite possible that two gay men can be equals, and be different. We earn each other’s trust, we respect each other’s differences; we listen to one another; but most of all, we both remain deeply in love with the man of our lives… forever… endearingly and enduringly. He is not my “other half,” he is my “best half.”

Life is short: show those you love that you love them.

1 thought on “We Are Equal Yet Different

  1. That was the most profound, well-written pieces I have ever read about gay relationships. I admire what you and your partner have together. Thanks very much.

    Brent of Arlington, Virginia

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