Should I Change My Status to Domestic Partnership?

February 22, 2011 at 7:32 am | Posted in Relationship Woes | 11 Comments
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I was out to dinner recently with a couple girlfriends, catching up. We talked like girls do about our boyfriends — each of us at different but overlapping points in our relationships.  One of the girls was saying how her and her boyfriend have been fighting a lot lately.  We started to comfort her, saying it’s probably just a phase. Couples fight.  We’ve all been there. To which she of course asks the question, “you guys still fight over stupid stuff? Like what?”

The other girl and I start ranting about how our boyfriends are messy, or clean, except for that one thing they do that doesn’t make any sense.  That they go to bed too late or wake up too early, and in both instances, we wake up with them.  We argue about who is going to take out the garbage, maybe we’ll argue about the bills or who is going to walk the dog.

And when we took a second to breathe we realized that nothing we argued about had anything to do with our relationships.  The difference between our relationships and our friend’s was that we lived with our boyfriends.  It’s a blessing, my friend said, because it makes things easier, which I agreed with, but it doesn’t make everything easier.

Because we are no longer just “in a relationship.”  We have unknowingly entered into a domestic partnership.

So when I saw in the news that Facebook was adding two new options to their relationship status, I was intrigued.  I know that this decision was made to accommodate our LGBTQ friends, but doesn’t this status pertain to me too?  Yes, I am straight, but I am living with my partner, just the same as a same-sex couple would.

But the problem with the phrase “domestic partnership” is that it takes away from the intimacy of the relationship.  A domestic partnership to me sounds more like two people getting together for convenience, like Hillary and Bill Clinton. You can’t tell me there’s love in that relationship.  And our LGBTQ friends have just as much love in their relationships. But right now they don’t have the same rights to declare their love as straight people do, so we gotta do what we can to help them describe their relationships while our country catches up to our social reality.

So what does this all mean for straight people?  It means we shouldn’t forget that we have the right to express our love the way we want to.  That we shouldn’t forsake our relationships once they reach the level of domestic partnership.  That we should continue to love and not mistake domestic disagreements for relationship problems.

And hopefully, in the lifetime of a 20 something, we will see that we don’t really need all of these classifications related to sexual orientation.  That love is love — not some box you check off on a form.

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