Welcome to another chapter of Grateful Heart Monday, where gratitude is always expressed in my writing to kick each week off on a positive note, which for today is for my eight-year anniversary with my partner Chris.
This date last year, I was frankly surprised I had actually made the seven-year mark with him. At that time, it was the longest I had ever been with anyone monogamously. Surpassing that with yet another monogamous year is most definitely something to be grateful for.
Why is monogamy so important to me? Well, beyond the fact I struggled with addictions in this department, did you know that in heterosexual couplings it’s estimated at least 25% of them will either cheat or purposely establish an open relationship somewhere along the way? But, in homosexual couplings, it’s estimated to be more than 50% will either cheat or purposely establish an open relationship somewhere along the way. That percentage is proposed to be even higher, possibly over 75%, in some of the gay subcultures such as the bear and leather-based ones, ones that I have some history with, which is why I’m so grateful to have remained monogamous with Chris.
Have I been tempted? Absolutely. I think everyone gets tempted to stray from time to time. But, the reward of remaining monogamous has far outweighed all of what I experienced in past relationships where monogamy wasn’t present. The reward I’m speaking of totally equates to the depth of love I feel for Chris nowadays. Love for all we’ve been through, for all those things we’ve done together, the many places we’ve seen, the numerous trips we’ve taken, the countless moments we’ve poured our hearts out to each other, the plentiful personal spiritual growths we’ve accomplished side by side, the repeated support we’ve given each other through our health issues and recovery from addictions, and most importantly, for us both having the belief that God is been the backbone that’s made this all possible. I never had this much appreciation for any of those I was with in prior relationships mostly because I was so mentally and emotionally divested into a number of side relationships I always had going on that constantly led to the end of monogamy and the downfall of the relationship itself.
Beyond monogamy, I also am quite grateful for the silly banter and humor Chris and I have now after eight years together. We’re very playful, almost like kids at times, and that helps to keep the kid alive in each of us. In addition, we tend to finish each other’s sentences more than not now and seem to know what each other are thinking. But most importantly, we’ve remained dedicated to working through any problems that have arisen between us, as rarely has a full day ever gone by where we’ve remained angry at each other.
I truly believe Chris and I make a great couple and while we’ve both struggled at times with being overly selfish and self-centered in our actions, we’ve consistently strived to improve our relationship with each other and with ourselves through 12 Step recovery, therapy, MKP, and just straight up honest communication about everything.
Through all this, I’ve begun to realize that much of my own unhappiness I’ve complained about Chris to friends, isn’t really about Chris at all, or our relationship, or anything to do with any of the eight years we’ve been together. It’s a lot more about that restless, irritable, and discontent person in me who used to buy into the belief that those sappy romantic movies with all those happy endings is the way relationships are supposed to always be. That isn’t the way they are though. Relationships mirror life itself.
There are ups and downs and when those downs come around, it’s not about having sex or romantically getting entwined with someone else to cope with them. It’s about working through those downs with each other and remaining committed to each other in the process, because in doing so, the love only grows deeper. And for that, I’m most grateful to have stuck by Chris’s side for eight beautiful years now…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson