Let me start with our separate histories...
I dated men for years, and some of them were awful experiences, and some of them were wonderful. I can look back now and say that at least three of those guys would have made wonderful lifelong partners... but even these great guys somehow weren't quite the right fit for me. I even married one guy, and we were an exceptionally bad match. After all the pain involved through all the years, to get cheated on and lied to by many, and slowly learn to trust enough to try a relationship again, to only be hurt yet again in one way or another... it weighs on you.
Sarah's experience was very different. She dated the same guy for 7 years. She waited for him to take the next step and finally propose and instead of that happening, she got a Facebook message from a girl she'd never met before who told her that she'd been dating her boyfriend for the last handful of months. They had met on Tinder and he was telling her all the same stories he'd told Sarah for years, about having children and building a house together to raise them in. She was crushed...
I was that girl. We met because we dated the same sh*tbag guy at the same time and then found out about each other. We developed a friendship that then grew into a love relationship. Neither of us had ever dated women before, but both of us were open to the idea. Neither of us really bought into the idea that a relationship should fit into a labeled package. Love is love, no matter what.
She was there for me emotionally in a way no one had ever been before. We understand each other so completely, that even when stress levels or hormones rise, we have wonderful deep conversations instead of fighting. This is by far the best relationship of my life, and I hope it stays that way for the rest of our lives.
Sarah and I both feel very fortunate to have lots of loving support from all of our parents. Telling my family was easy, and I am thankful. One of my parent's long term friends was a gay woman, and there was never anything strange about that. My parents were very careful in cultivating a deep sense of self. My father used to say things like, "Question everything, even me, especially yourself." My mother taught me to respect and cherish myself by saying things like, "What's the matter, your legs aren't perfect? But you have legs.. and they work; good for you. Not everyone is so lucky." I will be eternally grateful for these lessons.
Sarah's mother and sister and stepfather are wonderfully welcoming people, they were overjoyed to see her so happy. She was only nervous about telling her father, who she feared might be judgmental. When she shared this fear with me my response was "Don't worry, We are pretty fantastic together, and if he has a problem with us, that is his problem." When she saw her father next, he immediately noticed how radiantly happy she was. That was all that mattered. He's been very welcoming and sweet since the day I first met him.
I did have a surprising problem, however with my "best friend". As soon as she found out Sarah and I had moved from supportive friends to lovers, she decided this was unhealthy and not okay because I wasn't gay. She refused to accept her in any way. This absolutely broke my heart. Couldn't my "friend" see how good she was for me? Apparently not. But like I said to Sarah regarding her fear of telling her father, we are fantastic together, and anyone who has a problem with that... that is their problem. I understand completely that my "friend" is harboring negative feelings, and these come from inside her. They have nothing do with the fact that Sarah is the most amazing match for me.
If you are in love with someone, and you are both good for each other, it's the most beautiful thing in the world. When you have this kind of love in your life, it makes every facet of your life better. Any parent, sibling, or friend who doesn't support a relationship that makes your life better in every way, doesn't have your best interest at heart. That really feels awful. So if you find yourself in this situation I challenge you: do you have legs (love)? And your legs work (love works)? Good for you... not everyone is so lucky.
Salon owner Betha Wood is the Director of Hair for Style Week Northeast. Working with fashion designers to design hairstyles for runway shows, Betha and her team of session stylists create inspiring fashion forward hairstyles seen in multiple fashion publications and fashion blogs.