I said at the beginning of this month that I wanted to do a bit of a series for Pride. I also said that in that series I’d talk a bit about the different relationships in my life. Since I always refer to “my three unique relationships”, let’s talk a little about them.
Ben is my husband and the person I’ve been with the longest. We met and began dating in high school – I know it’s a cliche but we are high school sweethearts. I even changed my university plan to stay with him. I know that changing your big life decisions to make a relationship work isn’t normally recommended when you’re 18 but it worked out for me.
Because of this, Ben and I have grown up together. I was only 16 when we started dating. In a practical sense he’s seen me through a lot. Right away there were big decisions about university and the logistics of applying, registering, etc. Then there was dorm life, figuring out how to feed ourselves, managing classes, getting jobs… until we mastered living together and planned a wedding … well, I planned the wedding and he showed up at the agreed upon time 😉
From graduating to jobs and everything in between we really have transitioned from teens in love to partners in life together. People always get really excited and happy to hear that we are high school sweet hearts. We get a chorus of “awww – that’s adorable!” And I do like to think that we are.
When reflecting to write this post though I realize that we tend to think high school sweet hearts are special because they found their partner at such a young age and when many people spend their 20s on an emotional dating rollercoaster we’re already living together and committing to each other. (I walked down the aisle and married Ben when I was 22)
I think what’s really special is that we manage to grow together. The truth is that it meant choosing our relationship at really critical moments in our lives. It meant choosing Ben instead of pursuing an interest in moving to Newfoundland for university. That changed my major from journalism and creative writing to English and History. It also meant moving to Oshawa because that’s where Ben’s career opportunities are and he was in the workforce ahead of me. It means that the first thing I decided about my identity, values and lifestyle as an adult was that everything about me is connected to him.
I don’t mean to make myself hard done by – let’s be clear. It has also meant that through really big and intimidating decisions like pursuing grad school and then dropping out of it, making a career of being a freelancer and transitioning to a polyamorous lifestyle I have had an amazing support system. In these moments where I have designed my adult life and worked to define myself I have always had him, like a lighthouse in moments of uncertainty, he has given insight and lit my way.
I absolutely loved the university I attended and couldn’t have dreamed a better university experience for myself. I loved living close to Toronto and exploring the GTA.
I love him.
My relationship with Ben, I think, is unique for the history and the safe space we have created for ourselves – hey look, a buzz word! Seriously though, there is no space safer for me then beside Ben. He has seen every side of me. He allows me to talk his ear off, or to be silent. He encourages me to write while he practices bass and takes me on adventures when I need to get out of the house. He is familiar with the complicated balance required to look after someone who may be extroverted or introverted depending on the day… and he can always, always make me laugh.
He knows me to my bones because he watched me build myself. He never asked me to choose him – he never did anything to limit my growth or push me in a direction I was unwilling to go. He has always loved me with such certainty and kindness that I knew wherever life took us I would be happy, so long as I had him.
Yes, I am a super cheesy girl, through and through. It’s Pride month and I won’t hide that side of myself anymore than I hide anything else. =)
Hope you enjoyed this little reflection on my relationship with Ben. It’s only the first of three relationship reflections. Watch out for some other pride-related thoughts I’m musing on.