I have been in a same-sex partnership for 10 years, and we're very much in love. In social situations, I constantly meet people who ask, "Are you married yet?" or "Do you have a wife and kids?" or other fairly innocent questions. Not wanting to thrust my sexuality in their faces, I usually dance around the question. I'm not allowed to be married, so I can't answer "yes," yet if I answer "no," then I'm relegated to the "single and a loser" file. Considering that 10 percent of the population is gay or lesbian and can't get married, why do straight people insist on asking 100 percent of the people they meet whether they're married? Is it a camouflaged question really meaning, "Are you heterosexual?" More important, how can one politely respond?
Ready, Willing, Coupled, but Not Married
Better answer this quickly, before it's a moot point.
Before I do, though, I need to respond politely to your suggestion that unattached people belong in the "single and a loser" file. Egad. If your chief complaint with straight people is that they insist on pigeonholing you, then you'd best find a way to air it that doesn't involve pigeonholing people.
Now. I can't speak for all straight people, but the vast majority of those whose views I do know really don't care whether you sleep with men, women or deck chairs. For them, therefore, the "Are you married?" question is likely either a bit of blunt research by someone who finds you attractive or a non-loaded, non-camouflaged, well-meaning if possibly impolitic attempt to make pleasant conversation. For others, it very well might be a test.
To all of which you should feel free to respond with your own perfectly accurate terms: "Yes, I do have a family," or "Yes, I'm in a relationship," substituting "partner" in your answer any time there's a "wife" in a follow-up question. Conversation supplied, with no one in anyone's face.
I have been dating this wonderful man and have felt very comfortable and strongly toward him from the beginning. My problem is that I have a friend who tells me I can't possibly be in love, as it has been only four months. I have never told him I love him but I really feel I do. Is my friend bitter about being alone, or is it impossible to feel strong emotions for someone that early on?
If I were your friend, I'd be bitter about being called bitter. Would you be giving the warning more weight if this friend were attached?
As it happens, I think you should be. Not because love isn't possible in a short time; I think it is. But I also think it's possible at such an early stage for other feelings -- attraction, lust, excitement -- to do a pretty good impression of love. Ask around; find someone who's never been fooled.
And if you think I'm bitter, too, no need to be bitter about it. Enjoy the rush. Just know you have nothing to lose by giving it time to prove that it really is love. A year, two, three -- each better than the last, if you're right.
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