Couples Chronicles ó Interview 26
A Very Satisfying 16 Years
First published in May 1989
© 1999, Demian
Gerry Blunt, 35, and Ed Fortier, 46, have been partners for 16 years. They count the beginning of their relationship from the day they first met in a bar. Gerry had just turned 19 and had been out for only about six months. He now has an MBA and is employed as a controller. Ed, who quit high school, is a purchasing agent. They co-own a home in central Massachusetts.
What did you first think of each other?
Gerry: I was attracted to Ed, especially his beard.
Ed: I didnít know how to get rid of him. I was over in a corner, wanting to be by myself, and this little preppie was bouncing on a stool next to me. I was 30 and it was flattering.
Gerry: Iíve always been attracted to older persons. I tried to strike up a conversation.
Were you able to?
Gerry: I guess so. Either that or he still hasnít figured how to get rid of me.
Ed: Actually, I invited him to my place for coffee, which he agreed to right away. After we got back to the apartment, he told me he didnít drink coffee.
After sitting and talking a long time I asked if heíd like to stay over night. He said, ďSure!Ē And he jumped up and ran into the bedroom and got undressed.
Gerry: Having just been out a short time, I suppose I was looking for more experience, however you want to put it.
Ed: He was looking for action.
And it turned into a friendship.
Gerry: Yes, we started seeing each other regularly. Even though I wasnít living in the same city, I spent many evenings at Edís apartment. The more time we spent with each other, the more comfortable we got.
Ed didnít realize my age at first. I have always looked old for my age.
Ed: I had always gone for people older or my age, never younger. It was a shock when I did find out his age. I had never asked.
Has your age difference been a problem?
Ed: Not for me.
Gerry: Not really. Others mention it to us.
What did you have in common?
Gerry: We found that we had a fair number of common interests. We compliment each otherís knowledge very well and form a very compatible team.
Ed: We havenít been apart very often since the first day we met.
When did you first know you were gay?
Ed: I probably realized it when I was 12 or 13. Back then, you felt you were the only person alive who was gay, and that you shouldnít have this attraction for men. The thing to do, at that time, was get married in the hopes it would change everything. Of course it doesnít change.
My marriage, at nineteen, lasted three years. I have two children by my ex-wife, with whom I am very good friends. I also have four grandchildren.
Gerry: I always had my attractions toward men, but as Ed is apt to tell me often, I am naive and a little bit numb. I never put a label to it until my first week in college when I met a guy who brought me out.
Do your blood relations know you are gay?
Ed: Yes. My parents found out I was gay when my wife and I got a divorce. Back then, divorce was a no-no that ruined a family name. I told my wife I was gay, so thatís what she told other people; however, she didnít know what it was until one of my sisters told her.
Gerry: Iím not exactly sure how my parents found out. I think I left out a letter from Ed. Initially they wanted to send me to a psychiatrist. But my father is a lot more level headed and compassionate than my mother; they went to the psychiatrist instead.
Whatís their level of support now?
Gerry: Itís very good. My mother took a little while to come around. For about five years Ö
Ed: Ö twelve years Ö
Gerry: Ö she was not the friendliest person to Ed. I had previously been very close to my mother. Now, both parents are fine. We took a vacation with them this past year.
Ed: They are very supportive of us.
When my parents were alive, they were supportive. Every place they moved to, they made sure there was a room for Gerry and me. Weíve never had any problems, itís come naturally for us.
Our employers also know weíre a gay couple and thereís been no problem. Weíre fortunate we havenít had any harassment anywhere. Everyone has accepted us as a couple.
Have you drawn any relationship legal papers?
Ed: We have wills. Weíve also been meaning to get the power of attorney set up. Itís one of those things you never get around to.
Have you had any areas of conflict within the relationship?
Gerry: Weíve had three things that caused some sort of stress, in varying degrees. One was my mother. She created quite a little stress when she and Ed were in the same room and she wouldnít talk to him. It got to be annoying.
At times my work habits get in the way. I get very diligent, very work-oriented.
Ed: Heís a workaholic.
Gerry: I even have a computer at home so I can keep working at home. At times I cannot pay as much attention to Ed as I want to or would like to because Iím more involved with work. That still comes up, though not as much as it used to.
The third item is that 1987 was not one of our banner years. That was the year that Edís mother died, Ed had a triple by-pass operation and we moved into this house ó we had all sorts of problems getting it built.
Ed: Plus, we had trouble selling the old house. Those were all stressful moments.
What did you do to deal with the stress?
Ed: I was in the hospital. They kept me un-stressed as much as possible. Gerry was extremely supportive all the while. No matter how much stress there is, we always stay very close.
Gerry: And we both have a good sense of humor. Somewhere along the way, one of us will make the other one laugh.
What other factors aid your relationship?
Gerry: The majority of our interests are mutual. We both enjoy the theater and like to travel as much as we can afford it. We both enjoy the house and home ownership. We work to ensure that itís a very homey, friendly and congenial atmosphere.
We enjoy spending time together, but we also encourage each other to spend time away, or alone, or developing other interests. For instance, I get very involved with computers and belong to computer and accounting groups. Ed is good at household and mechanical skills.
Ed, what other interests do you have?
Ed: Drink. I also like woodworking and yard work. I take care of the house more than anything.
The big thing in a relationship is you have to give the other person room to breath.
How do you do that?
Ed: When you walk through the door, donít have ten questions. Have faith in the other person. For instance, I enjoy going to the gay bar in the afternoon, having a drink, talking to a few people. Gerry doesnít care to go, yet he doesnít stop me. It doesnít bother him.
Does your drinking bother him?
Ed: He doesnít say so. (pause) Iím waiting for his answer.
Gerry: Generally not.
Ed: Depends if Iíve had too much.
I think Edís tolerance of liquor has somewhat decreased since his operation, but he realizes it and is pretty good about it.
Any other difficulties?
Ed: One thing that is difficult is getting to know other gay couples. A lot of couples donít go to bars or anything. Weíve wanted to meet other couples, but so many times you just donít want to get involved because they seem to have more problems than Carter has liver pills.
Gerry: Itís the insecure relationships of which we are not tolerant. If all youíre going to do is bicker all the while youíre out with others, why bother?
Ed: We donít argue ourselves and we donít like other people arguing, having their problems with us.
What do you see as the future of your relationship?
Gerry: Over the years, our relationship has gotten stronger and more secure. We rely on each other, and tell each other more than we used to. I donít see myself being without Ed. After this many years, I consider him even more a part of me than my brother.
I know our age difference is something Iíll have to face one day. Iíll probably be without him.
Ed: I see the future basically the same as Gerry. We think so much alike, itís actually scary.
Gerry: I consider us very fortunate to have found each other and recognized that we were compatible. Itís been a very satisfying 16 years. Weíve seen each other grow and become much better friends. Also, weíve gotten to know each other better sexually because we know what makes each other tick. Weíve had sex less frequently, but we have gotten better at it.
Do you have any agreements regarding monogamy?
Ed: Weíve never really talked about it. We just always have been.
Gerry: We just enjoy each otherís company. Thereís never been any competition between us either. Weíve never felt the need for one-upmanship.
Ed: We love each other and weíre not afraid to show it.