How to love and keep her

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Over the past year, Cee and I have been through a lot of ups and downs. We’ve learned a lot about each other and ourselves through our experiences. As a couple in one year, we’ve faced two car accidents, my depressions, and her unknown health diagnosis. It hasn’t always been bad though. Our highlights have included going to Mexico, spending a beautiful summer together and getting engaged.

On this post I want to share some things I’ve learned from our experiences and our relationship that may help readers with their relationships. These points may not all apply to you and they are in no particular order.

1. Love her as she is 

You fell in love with her as she was. Maybe there’s points about her you aren’t as fond of (like impulsive speech , which is an ongoing fault of  mine), but you don’t stop loving her. She is a human being,  the woman you fell in love with because of her strong,  beautiful  spirit. Remember to love her because she isn’t perfect not because of an idea you have in your mind. It’s hard at times to remember this point when you’re staring at one another with raised voices about some disagreement or personality clash, but you have to remember it. It’s important.

2. Remind her she’s beautiful 

Tell her she’s beautiful in the morning just as she’s waking up. Tell her she’s beautiful when she’s PMSing. Tell her she’s beautiful with and without makeup on. Just remind her that she’s beautiful often. Women have enough issues with body image society places on us. She will love and appreciate it, but be genuine of course.

3. Surprise her

Keep the love alive. Make her something special if you’re creatively inclined. Buy her little trinkets if you aren’t creative. I bought a wooden box from Michaels and painted a Gerber daisy on it. She loved it. She thought it was the sweetest thing. Now we keep our memories and little notes we pass each other in it.

4. Be present

This is one thing I still struggle with. I’m not sure if this is a personality or ADHD issue but I still struggle with it. I have to force my mind on task. This is easier to do when I have taken my ADHD medication but I find distractions still linger. Mindfulness is tougher to learn than I thought. But with awareness comes knowledge of my faults. Being present in each moment is an important skill to learn. When you are present with one another you are fully aware and engaged with one another in what they are saying, and feeling.

5. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate!

Talk about everything. If she is your love, you should be able to talk about everything under the sun. You may not agree on some things but you still have to communicate. Talk about your likes, dislikes, fantasies, dreams, what happened at work, your black sheep position in your family tree, how your coworker was a dick today, or how supportive your friends are. Don’t shut down and refuse to talk. Communication is one of the pillars holding up your relationship, don’t stop communicating.

6. Appreciate little moments

Life is made up of a long strand of moments we call memories. Find joy in the sorrowful moments.  Appreciate and be grateful you have each other. Appreciate times you snuggle and stroke her hair. Appreciate the times you laugh out loud. Appreciate making up after a disagreement or fight. Appreciate the bad times so that you can reel in happiness during the great times. You only get some chances once. Appreciate them.

7. Show interest in her interests

I’ll never forget the times when Cee showed interest in my photography and artistic side, I was thrilled. She understood that art was a big part of me and my life. She wanted to show me that I was welcome in her home (when I uhauled), by setting the garage up into a creative space for me and the girls. I have an area for my paints, and my easel.

I do my best to show my interests in her by encouraging her to run the local youth group and cooking (which she loves to do ). I also encouraged her to go back to school for something she feels will make a rewarding career.

8. Trust your partner

I learned this one the hard way. There was a time when I got a bad vibe and went through Cee’s phone. She hadn’t had a lock on it. I discovered some texts from an ex and felt jaded about it without even bringing it up till days later. Instead of just letting go and trying to trust her by not going through her private messages, I broke our trust temporarily which hurt our relationship for a bit. This is where communication comes in. Speak honestly and openly using “I feel” statements when discussing your feelings about love and trust. You’ll both feel better knowing you discussed things.

9. Accept her friends

Her friends may not be the usual types of people you would spend time with had you not met her. You may not agree with them at times but you have to put aside your views sometimes. If her friends get along with you and vice versa your relationship will sail more smoothly.

10. Compromise 

Sometimes you will have to compromise even when you feel you are right in your views and feelings and your partner is not. It’s crap sometimes but there will be times you have to compromise on things you initially refused to compromise on. Just let it go, apologize if need be and communicate. I can’t stress communication enough.

Just try to remember these points and learn from your mistakes. I hope these points will be some of the keys to helping you with your relationship.

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Gifts women love

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What do all women love? Is it chocolates? Whipped cream? Flowery love notes? Or flowers? I would guess flowers and love notes. I haven’t had luck with number two, as one ex girlfriend I surprised with dessert by spraying myself with whipping cream didn’t go well. I did so only to find out that she didn’t like whipping cream. Ouch. Well a girl can try.

Flowers, (provided the woman of your affections isn’t allergic and does not hate them) can be a great gift and way to show your affections for her. Every woman has her preference for which type of flowers she prefers and those that she does not. When you get to know a woman you might want to ask which flowers she loves. Tuck that knowledge away and remember it.

I remember going on a road trip with a friend of my girlfriend’s. She wanted to surprise my girlfriend with flowers and jokingly bought her a carnation. When we picked up my girlfriend from the airport, I found out that she indeed did not like carnations and found it cheap. I suppose I can understand why.

The other day, I was discussing flowers and gardening with my girlfriend when I jokingly said “I should buy some carnations”. Her response: “Do not buy carnations. That is like saying ‘my love is worth $1!’ ” She was genuinely upset and I laughed because I had meant it as a joke. She wasn’t impressed. I reassured her that I was joking.

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Photocredit: Dick Miller Florist)

Personally I like all flowers but everyone has their likes and dislikes. For the record, I don’t see my relationship as being worth $1. Our relationship is priceless in my eyes. Flowers are just a way to convey my affection for her, and a method of brightening her day. And who doesn’t love being reminded that they’re loved?

When your girlfriend introduces you as her “friend”

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Something I’ve realized as a lesbian, is the fact that you will most likely date a woman who is closeted at least once.

My girlfriend is not closeted from everyone. Her close friends and kids know that she’s dating a woman (me). The rest of her friends do not. Her family does not. Work does not. It’s probably best that some of those mentioned do not know that we are dating. It is still early in our relationship. This is a whole new world for her. She has dated men for her whole life up until we met. She has met and been with women, but for some reason she decided that I had a place in her life. As soon as we recognized that we had both fallen for one another, we grabbed our invincible stars and dashed through the metaphorical Mario level of seeing stars and being love struck while the rest of the world blurred by.

For most heterosexual couples, introducing the person you are dating is simple: “Darrin, this is Sarah, my girlfriend.” That’s part of the privileges that heterosexuals have. Things go a bit differently when you date a person of the same sex who isn’t out of the closet as bisexual or gay. Introducing you as their partner isn’t always an option. Sometimes this is a safety issue because you’re not in a safe place to come out of the closet (ie: you live in a very homophobic country or rely on others who are homophobic). Sometimes it’s because you’re unsure of how the other person feels about you and you don’t want to damage rapport with the other person. Other times, it’s because your world has just topsy-turvied and you flipped over into a new realm of existence that you are struggling to make sense of dating someone of the same sex.

I have dated a few women where I was their first girlfriend. I am used to this. Sometimes it doesn’t make it easier to hear you introduced to friends as their friend. When the conversation carries into dating realms and your girlfriends friends ask her “Have you met any nice guys?” and she will reply with “No.” I admit it is a bit hard to hear her talk like that and trying not to feel like you were a kicked puppy. After all, when you love someone, shouldn’t you have the right to show that person to the world like any other couple? But I know that her situation is one that I was once in years ago when I was first trying to find myself as a person so I am able to empathize.

She pulled me aside the other day after a similar conversation and told me that she was sorry that she wasn’t able to be brave, yet but she felt that she had a lot on the line. I know how she feels in a sense. I am not asking her to be selfish on my part and introduce myself as her girlfriend to the public yet. I know the courage to do that seems impossible to muster. Even now, I feel out people and introduce myself to them accordingly. If the topic of dating comes up I do not tell everyone I speak to that I date women, I just don’t see the point of putting the effort in; I am pretty intuitive and I can also perceive if people will positively or negatively and so I’m not honest with them all because I have had some pretty nasty and scary responses to being honest.

I told my girlfriend that I loved her and as long as she was honest with me, and the close people in her life then that was good enough for me. I know that she loves me in return by her gestures, behaviors and words. She shows her love for me. I feel it. That’s all I need.

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(PhotoCredit: The Feminist Wire)

For now, I leave the figurative closet door open for when she’s ready, however long that may take.

You and me + three: Dating a woman with kids

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As soon as I knew that I was falling for the woman I’m dating now, I knew my life would be different. I am not only dating her, but I am dating her children as well, in the sense that I am an adult involved in their lives.

I have never felt so conflicted. I feel inadequate, stressed and blessed simultaneously. There are times when I wonder what I have gotten myself into. I am in my 20s, and I still haven’t fully reached my dreams or what I want to do as a professional in this world. I am dating a woman who is older. I am dating a woman who knew what she wanted when she decided to have three beautiful children with her ex while I was still in high school.

Years ago, I had a feeling that I would never want children. I definitely knew that I would not be the one to birth them. I never and to this day still do not have that “Oooh, I want to make a baby” urge. I do not want to wait 9 months, carrying a baby in my womb and feel it grow inside me. Perhaps that has to do with my gender identity as being a tomboy or perhaps I just do not have that urge. I never really did even as a child. I would always play house as the provider. I’m happy for my friends who want to have kids and ultimately decide to take that courageous leap towards parenthood.

I’m not sure if I do not want kids of my own because I feel that I have lost the genetic lottery with some health problems I am battling or if it’s just lack of maternal instinct, or simply because I just want to change and impact the world in different ways. Perhaps it’s a combination of all of the above.

When I first began seeing my girlfriend, my instincts told me to cut and run because I wasn’t ready to handle acting like a second parent when I still have my own things to deal with and dreams that are waiting to be achieved. I fell hard for my girlfriend, and it was more intense than any connection I’ve felt with someone. We talk about everything. We share everything. We have incredible intimacy. We are both intuitive care givers so we both try to care for the other on our bad days and celebrate on the great days. I have not had the level of intimacy and care in past relationships that I have had in this one. I feel like I have a spring in my step. I melt and feel my heart skip a beat when I hear her laugh. Her smile is contagious.

Her kids are great. I always hear, “You missed dinner the other night. Where were you?” and get hugs. They always ask me to colour with them, watch videos on YouTube etc or go do things outside.

We still have to approach the issue of telling her children about our relationship. Some of them are old enough to understand what’s going on. The kids watch Glee and know that gay people are the same as any other person (which is great). My girlfriend has told them that I am gay. The kids know that I stay over quite often but it doesn’t seem to be an issue to them.

I was worried that it was going to be an issue to them seeing as I am a woman and I didn’t know how they would react to that. My girlfriend has raised them to accept other people and be compassionate even if they might have differences which is so great to hear. I have dated the odd woman in the past who had a child, but it was usually only one child. The other parent was usually in the picture and the kids would often be taken by the dad occasionally. This is a bit different. My girlfriend is a single mom, so the kids are with her 24/7 (unless at school). This makes things interesting when it comes to children coming into the room unannounced, or needing time from their mom. I am learning the boundaries of a different sort of relationship and it is a bit of a learning curve. But I love my girlfriend, and I am beginning to also have feelings for the other three people in my girlfriend’s life.

It’s a different kind of love. It’s one that I was not anticipating, but I am liking this different kind of life and I find that I miss it when I don’t see them all for several days.