I’ve heard this SO many times that it’s not funny, usually by people who don’t even know any of us personally, let alone the inner workings of our relationship. It would be amusing if it weren’t for the fact that this is a nearly IDENTICAL slur thrown at ALL of us in same sex relationships by members of the conservative right. “Two men aren’t a marriage, they’re just friends that have sex.”
I’ve even heard the same people argue in the same breath that sex isn’t everything in a relationship, and try to use that against those of us in poly relationships. If sex isn’t everything in a relationship, why is it that our sex lives the only thing they want to discuss about our relationship?
Let’s discuss the fact that “The Bear’s” 20 year old daughter views me as much a father as her mother’s husband (If not more so) because I’ve been there for her helping to raise her since I first met her father nearly 15 years ago. Let’s talk about all of the events I attended that neither her mother nor her maternal stepfather did. Let’s how the cub and the boy have become family to her in the 6 and 1.5 years they’ve been here. Let’s discuss my mother asking to make sure that none of us are left out in “family” decisions. Let’s discuss the bear’s mother referring to all of us as her sons. How about the way all of us drop everything to help anytime one of us is in real need. Hospital stays? I might have had to choose between my job and taking care of my mom last year if it weren’t for all of the guys. When was the last you used sick time for a friend, let alone a friend’s mother?
It wasn’t that long ago that we had to temporarily take care of “The Boy’s” younger brother until he secured a decent place to live, and found a job to support himself. If it were JUST me and the boy in the relationship, I’m sure that would be evidence to the “realness” of the relationship. But since there are four of us, and their argument is we are just friends or roommates, then we were just helping a friend. Let me assure you, while I will do what I can to help a friend in need, I would NOT put out the kind of cash that we did to get him on his feet, for a “friend’s” brother.
If those things don’t make a relationship, then what does? I would venture to say that if you could truly get to the heart of the naysayers’ arguments, I bet it would come down to being two people. Period. It’s an argument just as rigid as the conservative right’s one-man-one-woman argument, just removing gender. It’s a textbook case of the oppressed becoming the oppressor to those who don’t fit their mold. I would argue that love and the desire to share your life and their life/lives is what makes a relationship, that’s certainly been at the core of the pro-LGBT movement. If we expect people to respect the way we love, we need to respect the way everyone loves, regardless of gender, number, or relationship style of those involved. I don’t down anyone who chooses monogamy, and I demand the same level of respect for my relationship.
Our relationship, is as much a relationship as any relationship out there, and there is nobody in the world outside of the four of us who has any right to say differently.
Mike is a 40 something bear in the great Metropolis of Fort Wayne, IN. He lives with his 3 partners and works in the retail home improvement industry. He has been active in the gay community in Fort Wayne and online for 20+ years, having volunteered for a gay/lesbian helpline, been involved in multiple LGBT community groups, and worked as a DJ in multiple gay clubs. His Gay Open Poly Bear quad blog can be seen at http://gopbqfortwwayne.blogspot.com/.