Thursday, 14 June 2012

Speaking as the Strong Silent Type

When Sarah put up her post earlier this week about her parents (read it HERE), we didn't expect such an out pour of love and support - we honestly can't thank you all enough for your advice, shared stories and experiences, comments, tweets, posts, texts, and messages. You've made us feel like we aren't alone, and given us a lot to think about. We will definitely handle this differently than we would have if we hadn't had your input - and that is what is so wonderful and valuable about sharing our story on this blog like we have.

I wrote this at 3am the night after Sarah came home upset at what had gone down - and even though I know a lot of you have already given us amazing advice, I'd still like to put up my point of view. It's a lot about me, and is a lot more angry than Sarah's was (just a warning haha), but it's stuff I feel you need to know to understand where I'm coming from, and at this point I don't have the heart to change it!

When I was 14/15, an overly emotional, shy teenager with all sorts of high school drama, my Dad's advice to me was simply 'Don't worry about it - none of these people will matter in 3 years time.'

At the time, of course I thought that was the worst advice ever. What did he know, these high school people will always remember me for this one slip up I made, my 8th grade perm, or my bad outfit choices. He obviously doesn't understand me, or how big a deal this all is.

As much as I hate to admit it, my super logical Dad was right - I left high school, and all of a sudden, none of it mattered anymore. I still have some great friends from those days, who stuck by me through all my somewhat questionable decisions, and the judgements that resulted from them (namingly dating a compulsive liar and closeted gay, who came out of the closet right after we broke up, but that's another story) - and I can't thank those friends enough. But those who said mean things to me, or behind my back? I hardly even remember who they are! And since I realised just how true my Dad's words were, I haven't looked back.

When I left university to move to London (without a degree, queue the shock/horror) I was told by a friend that I was 'wasted potential'. I'm sure a few people felt like that, but I powered on through, and can easily say that moving here was the best decision I've ever made (besides snatching up Sarah of course!).

I now live my life more or less by that phrase, and because of this very 'black and white' attitude, I've been told I have high expectations when it comes to the people in my life. And I readily admit that I do. But I don't see why I should waste my time worrying about people who don't care about me, have common decency, and want me to be happy. If they don't, then I don't waste my precious time (that I could be spending with Sarah or my wonderful family or my lovely friends who DO care and appreciate me). Generally, my rules are simple. 1. Be reliable. If you say you will be somewhere, or do something, be there/do it. Or at least let me know if you can't so I can make other arrangements. And 2. Don't knowingly hurt me or the ones I love. Is it really so difficult to do those two things?

Maybe it's high expectations, or maybe just because I can't stand to see the woman I love in pain, that I just don't deal well with being a partner to homophobic and hurtful parents-in-law. It makes my blood boil. If you've seen our Twitter lately, you may have noticed that we've been making strides with Sarah's Mum. Or so we thought. Imagine my surprise then when Sarah came home this evening close to tears because her parents have more-or-less reverted to what they were saying when she first came out to them.

They dread being invited to weddings and functions because if we were invited as a couple, they wouldn't come. Sarah's Dad wants a family function for Father's Day, and has invited Sarah's cousins' partners, but won't invite his daughter's partner. I've been around over twice as long as one of the boyfriends! Even though her Mum's been making an effort, they will never be happy for us, and Sarah's still ruined their lives and broken their hearts.

We have been together for almost 3.5 years and they have known about us for well over 2. There comes a point where it is THEM who are breaking Sarah's heart, and THEY are disappointing HER - NOT the other way around. We didn't expect everything to be magically better, but after we've both made a massive effort to accommodate them, for god's sake, I've gone out of my way to hug the woman, it's a kick in the teeth for her to recite the same lines she did in mid-2010.

Growing up, you are in a bit of a bubble, you think your parents are the best thing ever and always know whats best - it must be so hard to realise that all the promises they made you when you were born have exceptions. Unconditional love? Wanting your child to be happy?

The worst bit of all is her Mum's 'excuse' for not letting her tell anyone in her family. The be all and end all, the giant awful thing that she is afraid of happening if everyone finds out her daughter is with a woman? She can't take getting 'judged by the family'. This made me think of my high school days instantly. This is apparently news to her, but everyone judges everyone else. It's as simple as that. All the time. When she's judging one of the fam up in Scotland for having an affair, who they chose as bridesmaid at their wedding (or didn't choose), or having a baby out of wedlock, they are already judging her, for not visiting enough, for something put on Facebook, for anything. Though the family will still be there in 3 years time, the gossip won't matter - they'll be moved onto a new drama or scandal. And if they are already gossiping, what does it really matter?

The worst bit is that I have no real say in any of this. If it were black and white me, I would have kicked them all out ages ago - told all my extended family/friends about my relationship, and if they didn't accept me, then they weren't that great in the first place. Of course I'd give them a grace period to get used to the idea, but is it really worth spending all our time worrying about what some people we only interact with over Facebook think about our relationship? I may think that one of my friends 'married down', but it wouldn't change how I feel about them, or what I said to them when I saw them.

And hopefully when my scared-of-judgement parents saw how insignificant this all was, they'd come around and stop being so damn dramatic. But if not, you know what? After 3 years I would stop trying. Stop worrying about it. The best way to get them to come around is to just live our lives the best we can, enjoy ourselves, and sooner or later they'll no doubt realise that wishing their daughter was in an abusive relationship with a rich man instead of a woman who loves her and treats her well, is just insane. And if they don't ever come around? Her life won't be worse off. When she is old and grey, she won't wish she had spent more time trying to please or convince her prejudiced parents. She'll wish she hadn't worried what everyone else thought, and spent more time with the people who do love her and want her to be happy. On the same vein, when they are old and grey they will probably wish they enjoyed their daughter and her wife while they had the chance - before they moved away and wised up.

But what can I do? I can't make the 'screw it, lets just tell everyone, no more secrets, and the ones that matter will stick by us' decision for Sarah. I can't try to speak to her parents about it (if only because with three years of pent up anger and protectiveness, I'm bound to either be really aggressive or cry, and either way make things worse). I can't force them to see all the hurt they are creating and all the things they are missing out on. I mean, Sarah speaks to my parents more frequently than she speaks to hers, and is much more excited about it - can you blame her?

All I can do is comfort Sarah, be proud of the progress she is making in standing up to them, and secretly dream of the day she gives them the ultimatum - accept us or be cut out. I am going to have to get used to being the strong silent type.

Love always, Laura xo


  1. Laura I emphathise with your position having been in a similar position. My ex and I were never 'public' for fear of her parents finding out and it meant I felt like she didn't value what we had. I appreciate a lot of it came from how I was feeling and not what she was saying but it still hurt. in tough situations it can always go one of two ways - bringing you closer or tearing you apart. stay strong and I from what I have read in your blog you certainly look strong. Long may it be!

  2. You've been so strong through out this all though I know it must hurt like a bitch, but really you CANT take it personally. All they can see you as is the woman who's corrupted Sarah, they can't see you as a person. I personally would want things to be out there on Facebook and not care anymore but I know its not just as easy as that! Though there does come a point when you decide who you are living your life for. Your parents aren't happy about you& laura a regardless if it's on fb or not..

    Much love xxxx

  3. More people should just say it like it is... I could care less what anyone thinks of what I do... I 'dated' a couple of guys that were half my age. Do I really care what anyone thought of that, no... We were all adults and made our own decisions. I agree with you Laura, you think her family would be happy that she was with someone who loved their daughter and not some abusive jerk.



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