Jeffrey is one of the ‘regulars’ on the site and every Friday he checks out the Friday Guys, not for himself but for his husband Fred (at least that’s what he says). 🙂 I have always been impressed by Jeff who has a great sense of humour, why else would he live in Western New York? He never lets the winter weather bother him because he’s tough, not like those folks in other parts of the state. lol. When he told me that this is his and Fred’s 19th anniversary I asked him to write a post about how they met and their secret for being together almost two decades. This is what he wrote:
Fred and I had dated a number of different guys before we got together. There were problems with each of those attempts and we had both gotten discouraged with meeting anyone. We had independently thought of leaving our very secure jobs to move to another city because we had reached the point where we never thought we would meet anyone where we lived. One night changed that.
On February 13, 1992, there was a meeting of an LGBT organization for our profession that we both attended. After the meeting, a group of six of us headed out for ice cream. Fred and I wound up sitting next to each other that evening and we had a wonderful time. At the end of the evening, I got stuck settling up the check because I was the “math guy.” When I did that and headed outside, Fred had already started to head off and was about a half a block away. I quickly yelled out “BYE” and started to wave my hand over my head. He turned around and did the same thing. I knew something was up because I don’t do things like that. Fred later admitted that he doesn’t do those things either. But we had clicked that night.
We decided to take things slow. We would spend the weekends together but we lived apart during the week so we talked on the phone every day. Even today “it’s Friday” is our code words for being in a romantic mood. After a year and a half, we exchanged rings sitting on the living room floor – no ceremony just us saying how much we meant to each other. It was another year before we moved in together full-time. And it wasn’t until June 2009 when we formally and legally were (able to be) married. We got a dog when we were together about six months and had Barney until about six years ago. He was a wonderful dog and a great part of our lives but we really aren’t ready to have that responsibility again right now.
We both can’t believe that it’s been 19 years. We also both can’t recall a time when we weren’t together. It all seems so right. We rarely argue because we both see the value of compromise. We also see so many things the same – politics, religion, finances, housework, etc. We don’t have a showplace home – we have a lived-in home. The living room includes the normal furniture along with a treadmill and exercise bike and the sunroom has a weight machine. It may be non-traditional but the equipment gets regularly used because it’s where it is. We don’t have really strong roles around the house. We do what we’re good at and we pay people to do the stuff we don’t want to do such as cleaning and cutting the lawn. We don’t try and surprise each other. At Christmas, we decided on something we need for our house and that becomes our present. No worrying about buying the perfect present. It’s all about nest building.
One of the many pluses of our relationship is that we do see things the same and can reinforce for each other that we’re o.k. – it’s just that “they” are crazy. But we also recognize that others probably see us as the crazy ones and we’re fine with that. We also enjoy pointing out hot guys to each other – as we say, “Just because you’ve ordered dinner doesn’t mean you can’t still look at the menu.”
Friday nights are “date night,” which starts with a wonderful dinner out and is typically followed by grocery shopping. Because it’s easy for us to disconnect because of the demands of our jobs, we take weekends where we “unplug” and get away from everything but each other. Spending time together reinforces how much we add to each other’s lives. We’re not joined at the hip so having time dedicated to us helps to keep our bond strong.
Over 19 years, we’ve established our own traditions for the various “holidays” through the years. Many include my mother and close friends but a few are just us two. New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day are typically spent quietly at home over dinner (with a night out dancing afterward on NYE). We find that going out to dinner those two nights is too crazy because there are so many people out who don’t normally do that.
When she asked me to write this, Wave suggested I include “how you keep the love alive without killing each other.” For me I think it comes down to recognizing that Fred loves me unconditionally and he has my back when things aren’t so good. Just being with him still makes my heart flutter. Keeping the love alive is really all about keeping us connected. Card companies love us around holidays because we can never say what we feel with just one card. The anniversary and Valentine’s Day combination typically results with about 30 cards we’ve exchanged of varying types from romantic to sexy covering the mantel. I find that I drive faster when I’m coming home than when I’m going to work and I realized the other day it’s because I’m coming home – coming back to my home with Fred – my favorite place to be.