When my future spouse, RJ, slid into my DM’s, something told me it would be leagues different than any other relationship I’d ever entered. Maybe it was the fact that we could talk for equivalent of a shift at work without one person pulling the weight of the conversation more than the other. Maybe it was the way our dates didn’t feel like an exposure therapy for social anxiety.
Maybe nothing was different with our relationship itself, just me since the last time I tried to cultivate a romantic spark with another human.
Regardless of the source of this decided dissimilarity, I dug it.
This may sound cliche, but from our first conversation, I felt like I’d known them my whole life. As we shared our traumas, tribulations, philosophies, and political views, we discovered a wide stretch of common ground. Short of our ethnic backgrounds and the places we’d lived, it was like our paths had run parallel until they converged.
From our initial interaction, we made an unspoken commitment to complete openness. Within a week, pretty much all the major skeletons spilled out of our closets. We talked about everything and anything; the major events that shaped us and minor annoyances during the day. Nothing was too great or too insignificant to share.
Dating as survivors of severe trauma meant that we wanted more than a few fun dates and hot hookups in between. Trust doesn’t come easy to us. So when our walls fell down after just a few minutes of conversing, we ran with it.
My philosophy went like this: If you’re going to love me through the flirtatious banter, you’ll have to love me through the flashbacks and the sleepless nights. If you enjoy my carefree present, then you’ll need to understand the hell that brought me here. They shared those sentiments, as well.
Hauling our realest and rawest selves to the table since day one made our relationship stronger from the get-go. We validated the wrongs that others had done to us and the rights we had done for ourselves. This facet of our relationship continues to be one of my favorites.
The more I learned about RJ, the more interested I grew. It didn’t come off as oversharing, or “too much too soon.” He was like my new favorite book; I couldn’t stop turning pages. Nor did I want to.
The feelings were mutual for RJ.
As we quickly got acquainted with each other, we quickly fell in love. There were only a few days between our first talk and our unofficial first date. I would have invited them to my place the day we started talking, had I not second-guessed the propriety of meeting up with a stranger from the internet.
After all, we connected on Messenger, not Tinder. Our mutual friend introduced us so that we could swap resources and hope, not impulsively explore a budding crush. Though all signs pointed to liking each other as more than friends, we proceeded with caution.
It wasn’t until we had the exact same dream two weeks after we met about introducing each other to our parents as one another’s spouse that we acknowledged that we were smitten.
Once the proverbial cat pounced out of the bag and our emotions were common knowledge, our pacing picked up speed. Neither of us paid a whole lot of heed to social conventions in terms of timing a relationship. It took us a whopping two-and-a-half weeks to define the relationship and become significant others.
Almost automatically, we slipped into the stereotype of two lesbians “U-Hauling” after the second date. Well, technically, the third or fourth date for us.
Hey, stereotypes exist for a reason. When it’s right, it’s right. And for us, it was the right person, right time, and right place.
Due to circumstances colliding — RJ started renting an apartment that could have a second tenant added to the lease and I was at my breaking point in my sketchy, dangerous studio — I moved into his place not too long after we changed our relationship status.
I never intended to “move in together” with a partner. The concept seemed to scream “risky,” given the fact that breakups can be messy enough without legal obligations to untangle.
Also, I heard the “statistic” that Christians love to pull up about how couples who share a home before they share a marriage licence are more likely to divorce in the future. I don’t know how true this statistic is, practically speaking.
Besides the whole hypothetical heightened divorce rate, I’d avoided shacking up with partners in the past for religious reasons. When I was a Christian fundamentalist, I held onto the belief that “living in sin” led to irresistible temptation to have premarital sex.
The “relationships” that I entered before RJ were heterosexual, so I felt zero temptation to sleep with my partners. I thought I was either exceptionally pure and filled to the brim with the Holy Spirit. Or maybe utterly asexual and devoid of any semblance of a sex drive.
When RJ walked into my life, my sex drive spiked. With him, the bedroom became a healing space instead of the harmful place it had been up until that point. Uncovering my sexual side made me realize that I am not asexual, nor am I incapable of experiencing attraction. I’m just more attracted to AFABs and require an emotional connection in order to make a sensual one.
After living my life erroneously identifying as a heterosexual, I found the correct language to describe the way I love. I now identify as demisexual. In terms of where I fall on the spectrum of sexual orientation, pansexual feels like the most accurate term for me, with an inclination towards nonbinary humans.
Along with my personal stance on premarital sex, I never saw the loss of my religion coming. The Christian values I’d held onto so tightly came into question because they suddenly conflicted with my experienced reality.
Evangelical Christianity told me that my relationship was wrong, unnatural, and demonic. Contrary to these accusations, our love was the greatest good to ever cross my path. Loving them felt as natural as could be. And with how perfectly our interests, ideologies, personalities, and paths aligned, we seemed nothing short of a match made in heaven.
I did all the things I swore I’d never do with RJ. To my pleasant surprise, I found myself all the better for it.