Almost every day, I make a decision at least once, of how much I disclose, what are the risks, is this a safe place. I specifically mentioned Jay in an email to a person at work that I interact with a couple of times a month. He replied that he finally understood that Jay is my husband. I knew that he had one, I had apparently been ambiguous to the point that he had never understood.
When talking about the love of my life, do I say my husband, do I say my spouse, do I say something even more ambiguous.
What pronoun do I use when describing my spouse. Is it safe to say he is my husband, or is this person going to judge me, or treat me differently because I am who I am, and I love the person I love.
I was closeted as a teenager, I figured it out in my early teens, I was making progress in self acceptance with help from a skilled counselor at school, then she left and the mother of one of my classmates, one of the biggest bigots and gossips in town, the wife of a school board member was hired. That door slammed shut. Fear set in about what might be in my file.
I was closeted as a young adult. I hid in one of the ultimate closets, getting married. It didn't work. It didn't change me. It didn't make either of us happy. It was a mistake, and I knew it was a mistake when I did it. I ate and drank heavily for a few years, then went in the opposite direction with an extreme diet and exercise routine.
Finally in my late 20's, I decided that happiness was more important than acceptance. I told her she wasn't happy, and I wasn't happy and we both deserved happiness, split things close to down the middle. Ending even an unhappy relationship is not easy, but it was worth it in long run.
I met Jay a few months later, a few months after that we joined our lives. 20 odd years later we married. He makes me happy, I hope I make him happy. As all relationships are, ours is a little weird in it's own way. That is how and why we work.
And yet, every time I encounter a stranger, I my mind runs through the mental calculus of disclosure. It is exhausting at times.