In response to my last post I have decided to be open about who I am living with. Moving in with my partner has been the best thing I've done this year, and I'm really happy about it. There was never any conflict in our minds that this was the right thing for us to do and the right time for us to do it. Sharing my life with him in a new way is precious to both of us and an important part in my life now. To not mention it would be hiding it.
Friendships and relationships are only possible if we actually know who we are friends with, and that means being willing to share our lives openly with others. Several years ago, a good friend of mine came out as gay to me, fearing my reaction. She had tried to hide it from me, fearing that I would be disapproving and we were both aware that we were both acting suspicious and cagey as a result. Her coming out was liberating for both of us. The new found honesty brought a new depth, closeness and freshness to our friendship. This weekend I'm driving to London to meet her new girlfriend :).
Her honesty also gave me the opportunity to do some coming out myself in choosing to support her, flying in the face of my conservative church background. I remember going to church not long after her coming out and the pastor giving some nonsense about the perversion of homosexuality. I had a long debate with him afterwards and finally decided that it was the final straw and it was time for me to move on. And yes, it was a very happy moment :D!
If I hadn't reacted well, I suppose we would have lost our friendship, and it would have been my fault, not her's.
The friends I am writing to were leaders in the church I went to back home in NI. They have since moved to the south of Ireland to set up a church plant there and although we kept in touch with letters about once or twice a year, we haven't done recently. They are wonderful, caring and gentle people and have been very supportive friends to me in the past. I value their friendship, they are good people and I have a lot of respect for them.
I do not expect that they will send a 'congratulations on your new home' card, but I do feel that if we are going to be able to continue our friendship then I cannot try to hide something that is now such a wonderful and important part of my life. I won't pre-empt a negative response - I shall hope to be pleasantly surprised! I'll simply mention it as I report back on lots of pieces of news that have happened to me of late. It will leave the door open to our friendship continuing in the future. If I get unlucky and they react really badly (which I would be very surprised by I should say) then so be it - I have plenty of other friends!