It occurred to me today that the lesson learned from this needs to be applied to a situation I'm currently in--specifically, being in a relationship with a man who cannot make our relationship publicly known. No one forced me to be in this relationship. I knew what I was getting into. And I absolutely believe he's worth it. And yet I complain. Which is lame. So I resolve not to complain anymore. And to help me focus on the positive, here are seven things that I genuinely enjoy about being in a secret relationship (for the record, Clark prefers the word "privacy" over "secrecy," but I maintain my right to call it what I want, just as I respect his right to call it what he wants):
- It gives me reason to refer to him as "Clark Kent" online. Which makes me giggle with delight every time I type it. To be honest, dating Clark Kent is kind of sort of the fulfillment of a lifelong fantasy.
- By the same token, the whole secret identity thing is kind of fun. I don't mean to make light of Clark's genuine need for privacy (see? I even used his word), but thinking of it like a game transforms it from a burden into an adventure. The key is to make sure he and I win the game.
- Adversity makes us stronger. Dealing with this issue--which has been a greater source of tension in our relationship than just about anything else--has forced Clark and me to have some difficult conversations. I can't say I enjoyed those conversations at the time, but I do believe that working through them is helping us to build a better relationship in the long run.
- Realizing how much it bothers me to keep our relationship secret has forced me to ask myself why. Do I feel a sadistic need to shove my gay relationship in the faces of my socially conservative acquaintances? Do I want others to be jealous of my awesome boyfriend? Or am I just an exhibitionist who gains pleasure from displaying himself before the world? I honestly don't know, but asking these questions will inevitably lead to greater self-awareness. I'm practically halfway to nirvana already.
- Secrets make those who are "in the know" feel special. Do you know Clark's secret identity? Do you feel special? You should. (And I'm sure that those of you who don't know have something else that makes you special. Like maybe you can play the kazoo with your toes.)
- Despite how anxious my kids are for both me and their mother to remarry so that they can have three dads, it's probably a good thing that for now they believe Clark and I are just friends and roommates. In the last year they've had to deal with their parents getting divorced and me moving out. They can take time now to get to know Clark and his kids better as friends before getting used to the idea of them being family.
- Quite honestly, I enjoy having my bed to myself a couple of nights each week. Clark warned me the other day that he will likely want to keep his own room and sleep in his own bed now and then even after it's no longer necessary for the children's sake, simply because he likes to have his own space, and that doesn't bother me in the least. Cuddling with Clark is heavenly, but sleeping alone can also be nice.