A year with Rose

On this day last year, my girlfriend Rose became part of my life. We first met online and started dating shortly after meeting in person. She’s a beautiful, generous, complex person I feel very privileged to know and love.

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Photo courtesy of Marja Flick-Buijs http://www.rgbstock.com/gallery/Zela

We’ve dealt with a lot over the year. We’ve both had health troubles. We’ve found ways to support and care for each other, to navigate the challenges of having two trauma histories and find joy in each other. I found myself reflecting upon a quote today:

Mama used to say, you have to know someone a thousand days before you can glimpse her soul.

Shannon Hale, Book of a Thousand Days

365 days today. I’ve glimpsed a little and what I’ve seen moves me.

Dating as a multiple is… interesting. Different parts have different relationships with Rose. Some date, some are friends, some more like colleagues, or little sisters. Each takes time and effort to cultivate, each brings something different to the relationship. Where one is tender and nurturing, another is mischievous and energetic. There’s a lot of adapting, and a lot of talking things through. It takes an extra special effort to be honest and authentic. Friendship is the foundation.

We’ve been talking about moving in together for a while now. It’s exciting but also stressful. For both of us, we risk losing our secure housing in a gamble on our relationship lasting – or at least our friendship lasting. As we’ve both been homeless, it’s a very raw area. One thing adds a sense of urgency to our plans, which is that we both want children. Considering the challenges of conception in a woman/woman relationship, health concerns, and our desire to have settled into living together long before we start trying, there’s a certain keenness.

When I met Rose, she had been trying for a baby as a single woman. She’s been pregnant and suffered losses before, a grief that is still very fresh for her. I, on the hand, as a sick single woman approaching 30, had all but given up on my own dream of children. Last year I started reading books on grieving infertility. To my surprise, I was given a clean bill of fertility earlier this year. With Rose’s deep love for children, and my sister back in the country, my own health limitations no longer seem such an impediment. I visit my delightful goddaughter Sophie almost every week and fall more deeply in love with her. We’ll keep dreaming and talking, trying to find a balance between pragmatism and optimism.

Falling in love with Rose has been amazing, maddening, glorious, exhausting, healing, and deeply satisfying. She’s the first woman I’ve fallen in love with, and she’s been a gentle and caring partner, laying to rest my anxieties that perhaps I was mistaken in thinking I was attracted to women. I’m now very settled in my identity as bisexual, or queer. I’ve ended many years of choosing to be single, which was the right choice for me at the time. Being in this relationship has given me so many opportunities to grow and learn, and unlearn, to share and celebrate life. It’s been eye opening to realise how much difference it makes to have such support, little things like watering the garden when I’m ill, big things like supporting my efforts in business. We’ve made the most beautiful memories, that I’ll always treasure. I’m grateful and I feel blessed.

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