Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Following Your Life Partner

I have a new appreciation for what Chris went through when we moved to Victoria in August 2000. In a previous post, I may already have written about how Chris didn't want to move, and how I told him that I had no intention of going to Victoria without him.

Some men in gay relationships may have decided to go their separate ways at that point, claiming they had grown apart and developed separate needs. But, in the end, after we had been together eight years, Chris followed me, demonstrating his love for me and the importance of our relationship to him, and, for that, I will be forever grateful.

Both of us recognize that Victoria was good for us. It's here that we earned relatively good incomes that allowed us a high quality of life. It's also the move to Victoria that allowed us to own a townhouse there and a rental property in Vancouver. We sold the Vancouver condo when the real estate market was red hot, which made us a lot of money so we could pay off all of our debt, and so that I could quit my job and pursue my lifelong dream to write. Had we not moved to Victoria, we wouldn't be in the financial position we are now.

From the beginning, I knew that Chris paid the steepest price for our move to Victoria. In the end, he spent most of nine years away from his mother, his sister, and his niece and two nephews, visiting them once in a while when he went there or they came here, but not seeing them near enough. Now, we're about to return to the Lower Mainland, when it will be easier for him to spend time with his family members, but we'll still live some distance from each other, and it won't always be convenient to get together.

I'm not attached to anyone in particular in Victoria (other than Chris), at least no one that would make me question moving back to Vancouver; however, there are many aspects of the city that I love, and, admittedly, I probably always thought we'd stay here indefinitely, even as I said to people that we'd likely move back to Vancouver sooner rather than later.

Victoria has it's charms, that's for sure. I love the slower pace, the beautiful setting, the generally more hospitable weather, the friendly people, and the home we've made for ourselves. It will be some time before I feel that anywhere else is home as much as Victoria and our townhouse are.

As I ponder a change of lifestyle in a new and strange place, I find myself thinking about the sacrifices people make all the time when they follow a spouse or partner or loved one to another place to set up life.

This past weekend, I spoke to my mother in Kelowna, and I asked her how she felt when my father was transferred many years ago through his work, and she had to follow him to places she never dreamed she'd live. She said she wasn't thrilled about it, but she went because she was married, and she had two little babies to take care of, and that's what people did and do all the time. She spent several years in Grimshaw, Alberta, and Trail, B.C., away from her parents and her in-laws--just her, my father, and my sister and me. It couldn't have been easy.

When Chris and I talked this past weekend, I'm afraid I may have led him to believe that I was drawing a comparison between my mother moving to places she didn't want to go to back in the early '60s, and me following him to __________. That comparison is not appropriate--in fact, there's no comparison between Grimshaw and __________--and I had no intention of hurting him with what I said, if in fact I did.

I always knew the day would come when his career would take off, his opportunities would be elsewhere, and I would be in the same position he was back in the summer of 2000, finding the courage to move to another place to start life anew. Unfortunately, I haven't handled it with as much patience and grace and love as he did, but I'm working on that. I know I need to be supportive, that this is Chris's time, and that we have a great opportunity ahead of us.

I don't know why things happen in life the way they do, but I know nothing happens by accident. There are good reasons why this opportunity came up for Chris in Vancouver, why we bought a house in __________, and why we're leaving Victoria at this particular time. I don't have perspective on all that yet, but one thing is for certain: I can't think of a better reason to leave Victoria than to follow Chris, a man I love dearly, to see what life holds for us as a couple at our new home.

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