Where do we go from here?
(Note from Nick: Though this is written in Gwenn’s voice, we worked together to write this post, and all words and thoughts represent our collective thoughts. We kept it first-person for ease of readability.)
Early in our time in Haiti Nick and I learned the necessity (for that line of work) of living a public (within our circles anyway) life. Authenticity and transparency became our “brand,” so to speak. And if I’m honest, we came to love it. When everyone knows everything, there is nothing to hide. There is so much freedom in that. It’s so beautiful to live the same life whether at home, alone, with family, or friends, or in front of a crowd. It’s one of the reasons that we decided to share about my orientation publicly. It allows us to live one life, out in the open, in front of everyone.
There’s a tension that Nick and I are managing right now though because, on the one hand the specifics of our relationship and where we go from here is our business. On the other hand, people talk. People speculate. People judge. People think they know something they do not know. And so, because of our deep desire to live one whole life, out in the open, we have more to share. So, here’s the deal.
At this point, Nick and I are not discussing separation/divorce. We love one another. We hope we can forge a new kind (to us) of marriage as platonic partners and best friends. We believe in and stand by the family we have built. We are proud of it.
We also both understand that (for us) part of embracing this reality means that we will almost certainly desire the kind of companionship that we are not able to offer one another. And so, are leaving space for that and recognizing that as valid, and normal, and good. We are both open to each other exploring that. To be clear, I am okay with Nick pursuing friendships, companionship, and even dating other women, and he is okay with me doing the same.
Some people may think this is sudden. Like we are moving too fast. But remember, my identity is something we have been working on and wrestling through for 5 years. This is not new to us. Sure, being out about it is new to us and new to others. But we’ve been privately holding this for a long time. This kind of arrangement is something we have been open to for quite some time now—probably more than 2 years. We haven’t shared it with too many others (although we have shared it with some people) because, well, it’s nobody’s business and we know that people have lots of opinions about non-traditional arrangements.
So then why are we sharing this now? For the very reason I lay out above. We want to live one life--without fear of being “discovered” or “found out.” We are sharing this now because we don’t ever want people to make assumptions. If someone sees me in public hanging out with a woman, I don’t want people to assume that I am “stepping out” on Nick. And the same goes if someone sees Nick out with a woman. He’s not cheating. It’s not a scandal. Remember that you don’t know what you don’t know.
Nick and I have an extremely close relationship. We tell each other the details of things that many (most?) couples would never discuss. Nothing has transpired (or is transpiring) without the other being fully aware.
We recognize there are other ways to live in a mixed orientation marriage. Some of those ways may be more comfortable for some people. But a guiding principle for us right now is that we want to add and multiply love in our lives, not subtract and divide (isn’t it cute the way Nick turned that into a math equation?). So, the idea of one or both of us living anything less than a fully embodied life is unacceptable. And we have been there—that’s the entire tenant of purity culture—that you ignore and cut off parts of yourself. Nick and I do not see a way forward for our marriage where he can be fully himself and I can be fully myself without also acknowledging our potential desire for romantic companionship within our respective orientations. And we believe that’s something we can navigate.
We know a lot of people are not going to be okay with this. That’s okay with us. We know a lot of people will think, “There’s no way this will work.” And maybe, ultimately, they will be right. Or maybe not. We do not know what the future holds. But when we look ahead, this is the way we believe we can fight FOR our relationship and FOR our family. And we have always believed there are a lot of good, and right, and valid, and honest ways to build a family. This is one of them. And this is how our family is navigating this. Full transparency with one another and with any potential romantic partners. We are adults. No one will be uninformed. No one will be in the dark.
Finally, this is probably the extent of what we will share publicly on this issue. We wanted it out there because we never want assumptions/rumors made about us in the future that we are unfaithful to one another. Because nothing could be farther from the truth. This is how we remain faithful to our very real and true love for one another.