Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Quiet, Peaceful Life at Home

More than once, I've woken up (not from sleep but from unconsciousness), become aware of how much Chris and I have as a couple, and thought how fortunate we are that both of us value one of the things that is most important to each of us as individuals.  Months ago, I wrote a post about what I believe accounts for the success of Chris and my relationship, but I neglected to add one aspect without which I know we would not still be together nineteen years later:  we place the same worth on a quiet, peaceful life at home.

By contrast, for a short period in the mid-80s, I dated a fellow who was handsome, sweet, and well-meaning.  But, when I got know him better, I discovered how he thrived on drama, even attracted it because he couldn't seem to live without it.  His unusual roommate was a continuous source of drama--and I heard no end of what he put him through--as were members of his family, most of his friends, and all of his brief stints at employment.  At any given time, one or more parts of his life were in upheaval, the effects dizzying.  

Something always seemed to be going on, and, while he loved it, I found it disconcerting and exhausting.  Comfortably from the sidelines, I watched, shook my head in disbelief at what befell him each time, and wondered what could possibly happen next--all the while the realization reinforced that at least in this one way we were so different, we'd never make it as a couple. (There were other issues between us, too, but that was one of the major ones).

Then several years ago, Chris and I became friends with a gay couple, one of whom was a colleague at the company where I worked at the time.  We liked this couple because they were vibrant, clever, and a hell of a lot of fun (plus, we'd always wanted to be friends with another gay couple, who shared common interests with us so we could go out for coffee, walks, dinner, and the like).  For a short period, we enjoyed each other's company socially.  Sometimes, when work brought my colleague to Victoria, where Chris and I lived at the time, he'd make a weekend out of it.

Late on Friday afternoon, his partner took the ferry over to Vancouver Island, and we'd all get together for dinner on Saturday, later walking around James Bay, enjoying refreshments at the Ogden Point Cafe, taking in the beautiful view of the ocean and Washington State's Olympic Mountains from Dallas Road, strolling through Beacon Hill Park, and, toward the end of the evening, hitting a coffee shop/eatery on Government Street.  We enjoyed some good times and hearty laughs together, which I'll always remember with great fondness.  

Regrettably, we lost touch over the years, I suspect because, in at least one significant way, our lives and priorities were so different.  Where Chris and I believe strongly in home-ownership, first getting into the real estate market in late 1994 and owning one home or another ever since (except for a short period upon moving to Victoria for work in mid-2000, when I wasn't expected to be there more than two years), this couple has been together a decade or more, continues to rent an expensive apartment in Vancouver's Yaletown, and spends the majority of their time, money, and energy travelling around the world.

I rarely access Facebook, but, whenever I do, invariably, this couple is yet again on another trip--to somewhere in Europe, Turkey, South Africa, wherever their hearts take them.  While I'd talked to my colleague numerous times about the advantages of investing in a home--even, at one point, suggesting he and his partner consider purchasing the condo Chris and I bought in '94 and renovated thoroughly before listing it in August 2007--he was firm about maintaining his lifestyle of travel and experiencing the world at whim.  That penchant continues to this day.

Chris and I like to travel, too, and, over a long period, we've visited a number of different places. But neither one of us would ever sacrifice a quiet, peaceful home life for the continuous upheaval of three days here, a week and a half there.  Call us settled, call us staid, call us dull, but when it comes to priorities, from day one, among ours was home ownership (which has benefitted us financially, more than we ever could have imagined).

And, if that meant having to forego extensive and repetitive travel in order to buy a place we loved (or could afford, as the case may be), turning it into a beautiful, comfortable, and secure sanctuary where we'd spend the majority of our time together, then so be it.  Different strokes...


To see the post titled 'Thirteen Reasons Why "This Gay Relationship" Works,' click here.


  1. What I've leared about relationships is that they are like babies, that need to be nurtured on a daily basis. It might be something as simple as bringing your partner a morning coffee. To simply live in it and let it be what it is, is never good enough. And it's rarely 50/50. We are fortunate, indeed, to find a partner with similar values, dreams and goals.
    By the way Rick, if that's your house in the photo I wanna know who's doing the landscaping -- beautiful!
    Alison in Victoria
    PS: Dull isn't so bad either!

  2. What you call nurturing, Alison, I call respect and love. When you respect and love someone, you want to do things for him, you want to put him first.

    Since I'm a stay-at-homer, looking after and organizing our household and working on my writing, I take as many home responsibilities away from Chris as I can, so he can focus on his long workdays (twelve hours in length including long commutes into Vancouver), thereby freeing up his time so when he's home he gets to do things he wants to. In other words, my focus is on Chris and adding to his quality of life.

    With this, and a few other posts I'm working on, what I really want to do is show just how normal and ordinary most gay relationships are, particularly those that are long-term. We may be two men living and loving together, but, honestly, we are like everyone else. Wait until you read the next post. You'll see exactly what I mean.

    Yes, the house and yard in the picture are ours. Chris and I have done the landscaping ourselves. While some of the larger bushes were already planted when we bought the place, we moved them out and extended them into the larger landscaped areas we opened up. I wish you could see the rest of the yard. We've put a lot of work into it, but passersby tell us we have the nicest garden on the block. (Secretly, I know we do.)

    One person's dull is another person's heaven--perhaps one of the points of this piece.

    Thanks so much for your interest in what I have to say. I appreciate your comment.

    (By the way, there are posts throughout my blog with pictures of Chris and me, the outside of our house, and the inside. Check out July's 'New Pictures of "This Gay Relationship"', May's 'Garden of "This Gay Relationship"', and February's 'Home of "This Gay Relationship."' Let me know what you think.)