Couples Chronicles — Interview 11
I Love Him and He Loves Me
First published in January 1988
© January 7, 2018, Demian
Dale, 36, and David, 28, have been partners for seven years [in 1998]. They live in Vancouver, Washington, where Dale is a district director of operations for a health care corporation. David is an orderly in a nursing home.
What did you first think of each other?
David: We met at work. I was very impressed and attracted right away. I enjoy a professional person. Well, one thing led to another.
Dale: One evening we worked very late and I broke my cardinal rule by asking him if he wanted to go for a drink — the only time I’ve ever done that with an employee, before or since.
David and I were attracted to each other from the beginning. Because he was so much younger and I was in a management position, I had been reluctant to do anything about it.
We met in February and formalized our relationship in April. We used a document in a book on gay couples — I think it was the “Legal Guide for Gay and Lesbian Couples” [For legal books, please see Reasources in Print: Legal]. We pledged our love to one another and signed it. It hangs in our bedroom.
I was a little worried in the beginning, since I was David’s first love. I was afraid that after he got to know the bar scene and more gay people, he would take off. But it never happened.
David: My father just ignores my being gay. My mother is passed away. People like my sister and a few uncles and aunts, who are closer to me than my father, have no problem accepting it.
Dale’s parents have been accepting and nice. When they write letters, both our names are on them. In their eyes we are really married.
Dale: We’re always invited to my folk’s house for holidays and there’s never any question about our sleeping in the same bed. My mother always takes David aside to see if I’m eating right and that sort of thing.
My grandmother, who died last year, was also fond of David. She used to tell him things my mother didn’t even know. That surprised my mother and I think it helped our relating to my parents. David: It pleased his mother that her mother didn’t care that we lived together. Even though she accepted it, she didn’t know if her mother would. She comes from a very Catholic family.
David: I come from a Catholic family.
Dale: So do I.
Now we both belong to the Liberal Catholic Church, a denomination based on esoteric principles. It was founded by members of the Theosophical Society.
In form, it resembles the old Catholic Church before the Vatican Council, but in teaching it’s very liberal, not at all like fundamentalist Christianity. Basically, it aims to provide people with strength and a knowledge of themselves, rather than teach a doctrine.
David and I are very religious and we’re very devoted to the Liberal Church precisely because it teaches things like being good to yourself and to others.
I’ve been a priest in the church for five years, though right now I’m on a sabbatical.
Dale: We both are. I’ve always had a picture of David on my desk. No one has ever questioned it, they ask how David is. When people from the corporate office come for meetings and there are dinners, David is invited.
When they moved us here, they unquestioningly included David’s plane fare and all of the rest.
Dale: There are none.
Dale: We actively support various animal rights and gay rights organizations. We belong to People For Ethical Treatment of Animals, plus several other similar church groups. We support them not only with financial contributions, but with our buying policies. We try not to buy anything from Gillette or anything that we know is tested on animals.
We support National Gay Rights Advocates, your group by subscribing, and we’re looking at Couples, Inc. The magazine we like the most is RFD, because that fits our lifestyle and our way of thinking. We tend to be new age folk.
Both of our sisters are single parents and we’ve helped them raise their children. We were sort of surrogate parents. David quit work and raised them full-time while the children lived in our house.
Dale: One. That was plenty.
We were in the delivery room when one baby was born and we had him through his second birthday. My sister lived next door. It was a nice experience of parenting.
David: I think it was wonderful. If I could have children, I would. When we lived in San Francisco we tried adopting, but it didn’t work out because of our changing residence.
Dale: We were willing to take a physically handicapped child, but we realized that neither of us had the temperament for a mentally handicapped child. Last year we had a foster child for a few months until his mother took him back.
We have a very high income and we’d like to share that with somebody who doesn’t have anything. We’d like to help a child be raised.
David: Oh, yes.
Dale: We still buy all their clothes and a lot of their toys. We have all these toys around here and a nice bike for somebody to grow into.
Another thing I’ve been checking out is caring for an unwanted child who has AIDS. So far, I have only been hitting dead ends.
How do you set up your personal finances?
Dale: We share everything and always have. There is a big disparity between our incomes. We decided in the beginning that we would never let that be a barrier to our relationship.
Dale: I think that’s a common area of concern. If it’s something large, over $100, we usually talk with each other about it.
David: Other than that, we just buy it.
Dale: David likes and buys a lot of clothes. I spend about the same on books. When it comes to purchases for the home, we always do that together. We own all our real estate together.
Dale: We have wills, durable powers of attorney and living wills. Even if I’m well, David can sign for me, and vice versa. We did that on purpose because we didn’t want any friction. I told my parents about my will and expect them to abide by it, which they said they would.
Money and property were not our biggest concerns. Rather, if one of us should become ill, we don’t want either of us barred from participating in health care decisions.
Dale: Yes, after we were together about three years.
David: We saw a counselor a few times. It was a real tough period. We both wanted to see what else was out there. We went through three or four months of being unsure of each other’s love. But after that, this is the closest we’ve ever been.
Dale: It was a good period for us.
David: It was a time of adjustments. It was unsettling at times, but it worked out better than you could imagine.
Dale: We dated other people.
Dale: Yes, we’ve never had a “monogamous” relationship. The most important values in our lives are honesty and respect — both respect for ourselves and for each other. When we have had sex with another individual, we don’t flaunt it or lie about it to each other.
David: No bragging.
Dale: Our relationship has always been based on love, not sex. I see sex as recreation more than as an expression of deep and everlasting love.
David: If I go out with somebody and have sex with them, it’s not just to have sex, it’s a personal thing — does this person find me attractive? Dale can tell me all he wants that I am attractive, but I need to hear it from other people, too.
Sex is not an issue and never has been. There are other things, companionship, love, and respect, that are more important than a sexual relationship. You can’t base anything on sex, no matter how good it is.
Dale: What we’ve discovered is that love is basically compatibility, being able to get along with each other, having a lot of the same views, tolerance and respect. There’s got to be something that keeps people together after all the sparks are gone.
Dale: When we had relationship difficulties we separated ourselves psychologically, though we still lived together. Interestingly enough, we continued to put money into the same account.
When we went to the counselor, he asked us “why do the two of you stay together?” We said, “I guess because we love each other.” He said, “That’s got to be the only reason.” — because we were so different.
Dale: David does not show affection physically. He shows it to me in many other ways, like always making sure my shirts are pressed and I have food to eat.
I’m very demonstrative and it drives him nuts.
David: It’s something I was never used to. Dale was raised that way: when you come into a room, you give someone a hug and a kiss. We had a major problem.
Dale: We’ve each come to realize how the other shows affection. Now, I can’t imagine living without David.
David: Well, it would never happen. We’ll be together till the day we die.
David: I’d never been to a gay bar, but perceived myself as a gay person since I was 12. My family didn’t know, so my moving in with Dale was a real surprise. I thought, if my family loves me, it shouldn’t matter who I live with.
I had been married to a woman when I was 17, but was divorced after about nine months.
I’m sure my mother suspected I was gay. She had said, “Why don’t you live with somebody and never get married, because you’re not the type to live with a woman or get married to one.”
Sex was never spoken in my family’s house, it was a taboo.
Dale: Yes, I had a lover for a year. We broke up a year prior to my meeting David. I had dated a lot because I had been out for years.
Dale: It’s changed in importance. When we first got together, nobody thought we were compatible. Now I find we’ve grown so close that a change would break my heart.
Dale: Let things go, see where it leads you and treasure it.
David: No matter what mistakes the other person makes, it doesn’t make a difference, because they’re only mistakes. There is absolutely nothing Dale could do that would ever cause me to leave him.
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