Friday, May 07, 2010

Bottom Line for Love

With respect for my very close friend which I have gained inspiration for this post today, I will not mention names, but will give my two cents on a situation she got herself into, or perhaps, got her heart into. I will include my own experiences from the opposing side so that you know I am not speaking from a bias point of view. Maybe with suggestions and your comments, it’ll help her one way or another. This is a true story...

“Bottom line” is what my friend always says right after she puts her heart out there explaining how she feels. The “bottom line” is usually followed with a “logical” standpoint; a factual basis on why she shouldn’t continue this relationship. “What about your heart? What does your heart say?” I asked, hoping her bottom line would soon be a bottomless pit of hope and undying love. Mind you, in my own personal opinion, “bottom lines” are only meant for those who are either verbally or physically abusive. Situations are different, depending all on what “you” can handle. I believe that anything can be worked out if both people love one another. Everything in the middle “just is” - deal with it, work with it, handle it with care.

“Kelly” started dating a woman who was in the process of a divorce. Her husband still lived at home at the time because of their daughter, who just became a freshman in high school. When Kelly met “Sally” (ok that was really bad- bear with me here) they fell madly in love. Sally laid her cards out on the table about her entire situation, and while they both knew about their challenging journey, their hearts were taking a leap of faith. While Kelly knew the entire situation, she was also informed that she was Sally’s very first lesbian relationship. For us old timer lesbians, this is a huge red flag because most “seemingly straight” women who fall in love with a lesbian usually trek back to the other side of the fence. It’s quite normal due to the confusion and drastic lifestyle change, especially after years of dating men.

As their relationship progressed, it was kept quiet to Sally’s daughter about who Kelly really was to her mom. Kelly was just a “friend” that came around to keep her mom sane while going through her divorce. Even when Sally’s husband moved out of the house, it was still on the ‘hush hush’, until the daughter asked why her mom was spending much more time with her friend rather than with her. When her mom explained who Kelly was, the daughter was mortified. “You’re a lesbian!??” She now had to go to school worrying about “if” her peers would find out. The stress on the daughter had a ripple effect, and caused stress on all three parties involved. Little by little, Kelly and Sally’s time together were getting less and less. Kelly felt a little slighted because she missed her girlfriend, yet understood. The tension between Kelly and the daughter became evident.

"The Other Love Triangle"

Kelly came to me about her concerns. We talked about it and I had told her that no matter what, her child will always come first. That’s just a given. “Give her some time and space so that the daughter knows she’s the most important person in her life, since having lost her dad in the household.” We both nodded in agreement but it didn’t make life easier for Kelly. Things then started to get better, with a surprising proposal of marriage by Sally this past February. Long story trying to be short: Sally decided to break off the engagement at the end of March. Her confusion was evident, between Kelly, her daughter and this new life of hers ---what direction was it taking? Is she really a lesbian or is she going through a phase? She had stated she has never been in love like this before. The fact that Sally was already in love with Kelly made the situation even more confusing, because she didn’t want to lose her connection with her daughter, as well as have the neighbors and community find out about this new change of lifestyle. With confusing signals on Sally’s part, she was telling Kelly she loved her, but then only calling on her terms only along with MIA statuses.

Give her time...

I related to Kelly’s story on a much different level. I told her how Madelene and I met and how challenging it was for Madelene. I was only 20 years old and still dating men. I was confused, but I knew deep down that I was always a lesbian. I dreamed of having a husband, a few kids, a house with the white picket fence, etc. - but all the passion was missing from it. I remember a few months into our noncommittal relationship, I had written her a letter telling her that I needed to break it off because I wasn’t sure if I was willing to change my lifestyle and become a “full time lesbian”. I also had the middlemen involved: my family. I didn’t want to disappoint them, especially my parents. I didn’t want to embarrass the people who loved me so much. That was a huge concern for me. So I sacrificed, and took the risk of breaking it off with Madelene, yet I kept finding myself calling her periodically to check up on her, to see what she was up to, and the occasional, “Do you wanna grab a drink” type of calls. This is what Sally is doing to Kelly right now.

Taking a standpoint on Sally’s situation, I told Kelly that the time Madelene gave to me in order to clear my head without any pressure, was when I figured out I couldn’t live without her. I totally believe in “whatever you resist will persist” - especially denying who I was, who I am and who I loved. Kelly kept saying, “Bottom line, her daughter’s always going to resent me and Sally is only calling me on her terms.” There is no bottom line. The bottomless pit of hope will tell her that yes, the daughter will always be there, and will eventually see what a beautiful person Kelly is after some time. Sally will eventually come to terms (or not) with her lifestyle and her love for Kelly, but she has. to. give. it. time. There’s something to be said about a logical point of view and having a backbone, but when does it come to the point of chucking each brick of vulnerability down onto the ground? Kelly said, “My brain says to cut all ties,” ----then I interrupted and asked her, “But what does your heart say?”

“I’m still in love with her. I love her so much, Deb.”

We’re supposed to be sensible, logical and strong as a bull when it comes to dealing with relationships and love. We need to show that we have a backbone so no one will walk all over us. "We can't get hurt again." While that’s a great concept in order to protect ourselves with, I also think it’s good to realize that everyone has a complicated life, to which they have to make decisions based on whatever, for personal reasons. In my own personal opinion: with a logical mind and a strong backbone, how can love penetrate through that? While Kelly and Sally are taking a break from their relationship due to all this conflict, what do you think Kelly should do? Should she wait for Sally because she is still in love with her? Or should she take “the high road” and scram?

What’s the “bottom line” for love?