Saturday, July 16, 2011


What Are partners? Everyone thinks they know. Partners are an unmarried straight or gay couple. Are they always?

My partner was married twice. First to a man, clean and sober, who became a drug addict and user after they married. He became extremely violent toward her before leaving. At one point he was willing to offer her sexual services to friends for Favors, She was Not.

Her second marriage was to a man in a rebellious phase, whose dream was to go to law school. His wife was The lady who became my partner encouraged his dream and helped to support him financially and emotionally.

He encouraged her artistic work, but after going to law school he became more and more distant. Both of my partner's husbands had wanted children, as did she. She had nine miscarriages in pursuit of that dream.

Her second husband began hanging out with women lawyers and divorced her, as his first act as a lawyer.

When I first met her she had a lot of emotional baggag, which only increased as her undiagnosed disabilities worsened. She had experienced a lot of both neglect and abuse.

As for me, there was abuse in my family. Iwas blind and had moved back and forth between a state school for the blind and home, which Never felt safe. My father died a painful, lingering death for years. But he also gave me the only role model I had for being the best person I knew how to be. He faced long years of misery, then death with courage and curiosity, trying to understand how and why the world worked as it did. Was he perfect, no. But he was a bodhisattva for me.

Having endured abuse at the hands of men and women and neglect at the school where I lived for much of the year, I came with a lot of baggage of my own.

And there was my increasing deafness to deal with. But still we became partners.

I was able to give Ann a place to stay while she applied for Social Security Disability Insurance, which took several years. She drove us both places until she became unable to do so. We fought like fiends, but over time learned to Listen to one another.

We were Completely different in our communication styles and had to learn to accomodate the other person's differences, letting them express themselves in the way they needed to. We each learned skills the other person had and our discussions became more of a compromise in style.

We talked about the sexual feelings we occasionally had toward one another. Adding sex to a difficult relationship can either help or break it. Ann decided she had given committed relationships her best shot twice and just didn't know how to do it right. I had a confused sexual identity ad we both had triggers which made us afraid or enraged. So after a lot of thought we decided Not to ruin a good friendship by bringing sex into it. So were we partners?

We were caught in what I thought as a "Chinese sitdown" situation. This was an exercise we did in gym class at blind school and later for fun. Two people sit back to back and loop their arms through one another, bending them at the elbows for a secure hold. Then they try to stand up Together. If one person pushes too hard, they push the other person down. If one person doesn't push hard enough to stand up, the other person cannot Pull them up and both will fall back to the floor.

This kind of relationship is very dependent and Not as healthy as some other kinds of relationships. But we Did help each other.

We each worked out some of our Baggabe Issues with or On the other person. This means that at the end of our relationship each of us was more mentally healthy than when we began sharing living space. Ann supported me through surgery and chemotherapy, Twice.

I pushed her into going to the Dr. when she had an infected foot, because I knew about diabettes. As she became more physically disabled, I did more of the house and garden work, and she read the mail and did our bills. I helped her maintain a gluten free, low salt, low fat, diabetic diet and she became more healthy, growing long hair and fingernails for the first time since her teen years.

We talked about everything, shared everything so we each had enough. Together we found a nice place to live. I had more money and bought necessities she couldn't afford. Both of us bought her art supplies. We each supported the art work of the other. Ann helped me match colors for weaving, sewing, and bead work.

We fought a lot because we were so different, and we laughed a lot at the same things. We prayed for people together. We gardened together and processed food for the freezer together. We talked about unusual dreams we had. We listened to music together and separately and sometimes watched TV together. We read a Lot of audio books together in the evenings as we ate supper.

I can't make omlets, or cornmeal and spice battered fried chicken. Ann made both of these dishes Wonderfully. I make scrambled eggs with lots of veggies. and cheese. And I am Still not sure how to keep baked coated chicken from becoming greasy, yuck!

So were we partners? We helped each other in every significant way I can think of. We never stole from one another, struck one another, threw things, those were basic ground rules easy for both of us to observe from day one. We always did our best, (sometimes better than others) to treat one another with respect and kindness. And when one of us failed, we Worked to work it out.

We worked as hard or harder than any married couple I've met to get along and live as happily as we knew how. And we were friends for ten years before Ann's health crashed and she did not wish to go back home. But we never engaged in sex with one another.

It's funny and was to both of us, many people assumed we were a lesbian couple. They were so sure that we just let them think so, figuring that if they liked us, we were doing our gay and lesbian friends a favor.

There are said to be several types of sexual orientation, straight, gay or lesbian, transgender, and intersex. Butt there are also people, for reasons of our own, who choose to keep our sexuality to ourselves, or not to engage in sexual behavior at all. We have a right to be accepted, whether or not you understand us.

One of the most alive people I ever knew was a non-disabled child of incest. This person was bright, had a wicked sense of humor, was kind, took trips by herself to see what she love of the u.S. landscape, and was active in her church. She was also a wonderful cook. But she chose not to marry or have kids because she didn't want to risk bringing disability to them.

My partner was a woman, I am a woman, if I were lesbian I would say so. I am not, deal with it.

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