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after five short years (rumminations of a ladyboy in love)

Yesterday was my fifth anniversary. I’ve been in a relationship for five fucking years. While we were cuddling last night after our dinner out, we both remarked how quickly the time has gone. It doesn’t feel like five years. And yet I was 28 when this relationship started and now I’m 33. The facts cannot be denied.

There are many reasons why I find it amazing and unbelievable that I’ve been in a relationship for five years. The first of which is that I’m not entirely sure I ever thought I’d ever be in a relationship at all. I know I yearned for one.

This is my first relationship. Yes. My first relationship started at 28. I’d dated. I’d slept around. But I’d never committed to anything to anyone. There are a lot of reasons for why it took so long to get into a relationship. Most of which had to do with me and trying to heal as much trauma and damage as I could in order to have even the faintest hope of having a healthy, good relationship. For most of the preceeding years, it would’ve been impossible.

I’ve also always been pretty adamant that I wouldn’t settle. That I only really wanted to do this once and only once (Nat King Cole’s “When I fall in love” is my romantic theme song, fyi). Loneliness had been my companion for life and it was comfortable and didn’t really bother me much anymore.

(Of course, I now know that bc I’m alexythemic I was able to… simply ignore a great deal of my emotional needs even as my mental health got progressively worse as a result of not addressing those needs.)

The first year of my relationship with my bro is strange and a reasonably unfamiliar tale, as far as romances go. I’ve mentioned before how I scoff at the romances I read where people fall in love within a week. Ridiculous. And yet that was what happened to me.

We fell in love and then I moved to Charlottetown for the summer. We fell in love then my bro moved to Ottawa while I was in Charlottetown. After Charlottetown, I had to go back to Vancouver to continue on with library school. After a semester, I snagged a coop position in Ottawa and moved there. By the time our first anniversary rolled around we’d been living together for about four months but had only lived in the same city for about four months plus a week.

From what pop culture tells me, this relationship shouldn’t have lasted. It shouldn’t work.

It was certainly hard enough, that first year (and maybe a bit more). Doing my honeymoon phase long distance was brutal. Going from long distance to living together was likewise brutal. Only living together for a short period of time then moving to an entirely new city together – with requisite apartment hunting and job hunting – was fucking brutal. The pair of us having to deal with various mental illnesses: brutal.

Thinking back, there wasn’t really a point where the relationship was in danger of falling apart. Not really. I don’t recall ever thinking that it might be easier and better to just cut my losses and walk away. He might’ve.

Thinking back, its also pretty easy to see the secret ingredient that kept us together: love and affection.

It sounds trite, writing that, but… well, its true. During all of the above, I’m pretty sure a day didn’t go by where we didn’t say ‘I love you’. And after we started living together, we’ve cuddled at least once a day every single fucking day since. We dole out hugs, kisses, and all manner of affectionate gestures pretty much all day. We are ridiculous and silly together literally all the time. We laugh a lot. In so many ways, our relationship is fun.

And so whatever else has been going on in our lives, we’ve had five years of cuddles, kisses, giggling, gigil, hugs, laughing, making forbidden heart eyes at sleepies time, generally being silly… basically five years of being in the kind of love that tooth achingly sweet.

I know that some of my friends (online at least) don’t understand why I’m with him. Based on how I blog about certain things, my life sounds like it is filled with unrelenting misery and where the fuck is my bro in all of this?

I don’t usually talk about my relationship online. Because, well, its personal and despite what some people might think, I do have a filter. Or rather, I protect the things that are precious to me. My bro follows me on twitter and tumblr. He reads my blog. He knows all of that. You don’t see me interacting with him ever because I don’t want the harassment I deal with to splash over to him. I have little desire to see my relationship become fodder for internet filth.

(I mean… some already weaponize the mere fact that I’m in a relationship with a man against me. Using this as a way to deligitimize or erase my identity. As means for attacking for being ideologically impure. I mean… how could I talk about the things I talk about and be in a relationship with a man??? If I were serious about being a radical twoc, I’d be a political lesbian. Blah blah and so on. Feel free to ignore me, a heterosexual, if you want. Idc.)

The thing is…. this relationship in a few different ways is probably my lifeline right now. It is the one part of my life that doesn’t depress me or make me want to die. Rather the opposite: its a large part of why I’m still alive. And, to be clear, it isn’t because I’m living for him. Its because, well, being told that you’re loved every single fucking day. Get kissed, hugged, cuddled, etc… being shown that you’re loved every single fucking day. Having someone willing to correct your negative self-talk each time you do it after five fucking years of doing it….

Well. Surprisingly, this is actually helps a lot – even at my most depressed.

I know I’ve said that all of my dreams have died. Something which isn’t quite true. The thing I wanted the most as a kid was a friend. Just one. One friend so that I wouldn’t have to be alone all the time.

I’ve had that friend for five years and I’m not letting go unless he tells me to.