When I left my ‘big-fat-anglo-Australian-wedding’ relationship of my twenties, built from a high school sweetheart romance, with a picket fenced house to boot; I went on a quest to understand how to not stuff up another. 5 years later and venturing into a love fest with the man of my dreams – some of the best lessons I have learnt have been from my gays. The men and women whose love supposedly hasn’t been as equal as us straighties, have taught me more about relationships than many of my heterosexual pals have. This isn’t to say all gays have it sorted. And unfortunately, their ability to create their own rules and a blank slate when it comes to relationships, has come from society barking that theirs wasn’t worthy of straight relationship status. But, this journey, I believe has allowed a foundation of self made, creative, love rules based on individuals in couple’s rather than a one size fits all policy.
Open doesn’t have to mean kinky or weird. If the relationship works where two consenting adults are keen to party and/or mingle with others – then why not?! I have friends who negotiate sexually open partnerships. What is less widely-reported is just how good they are at remaining emotionally faithful in these love arrangements. Setting down rules and boundaries of what works for you allows there to be, clear and open communication from the get go. Plus it doesn’t have to mean forever.
What you offer the relationship comes from your strengths, abilities and personality – not your gender. This can potentially be an easy one for our homosexual compadres . But for us, particularly for women, we can be assigned roles in the relationship because of our gender. It is not our job to do the laundry / be the maternal one the at all times. Having a conversation about who brings what and how it can stem from natural personality traits can take pressure off people feeling like they need to do more or less because of what’s in their pants.
How do you want to commit? – rather than obtaining the step by step guide on how to be in a hetrosexual relationship. For eg – Step One – Move in together. Step Two – Get engaged. – Step three – buy a house. Step Four – Get Married. Step Five – Procreate. You get my drift.
I’ve struggled with this one. I have often felt the marriage /wedding package that has been presented to me was one that didn’t quite fit. And whilst we have fought hard for an equal choice on whether this works for us, we are still forgetting to ask ourselves – what does marriage mean to us? What does it mean to us without a white wedding? How do you do it, if it doesn’t look like the Pinterest boards?
All I can hope now that we have achieved equal rights is that these questions are not stopped in LGBTI communities – and we can continue to learn from our friends who have had to fight for their love to be acknowledged. A relationship can look all kinds of different ways. Traditional doesn’t have to be the boring option either.
I would just like more of us to ask the questions – how does a relationship look for us? And perhaps start from there…