I’m dating someone. I’m in love in a way that I haven’t been before. It’s the kind of love in a way that makes me stronger, the kind of love that I wasn’t looking for when I unexpectedly stumbled into the arms of an incredibly attractive enby who actually likes me back. But in the less fun things that come with navigating my first romantic relationship, I also have to deal with the uncertainty: it’s not that I doubt that they love me – I know they do – but I do know they might not love me forever.
Content warning for discussion of mental illness and excessive cuteness. Further note: partner’s pronouns are them/they, and their nickname on my blog is NBae.
That doesn’t mean it’s not good right now. In fact, it’s brilliant right now. If I’d made a list of the qualities I thought my ideal partner would have, NBae is all of those things. They’re queer, a writer and an activist. They’re non-monogamous and a kinky switch. They make me laugh and they make me wet and they inspire me to be brave and to be the most authentic version of myself.
They’re also ok with me writing about our relationship on our blog, which at this point in my sex writing career might be a deal breaker for me.
I’ve always told myself (and others) that a relationship wasn’t a waste of time just because it ends – but that’s a bit harder when I’m actually in a relationship. Even if my enboifriend breaks up with me tomorrow, I’ll have learned so much from our relationship, and I won’t have failed because we don’t stay together forever. I know that in theory, but accepting the reality? That’s a lot harder.
I’d go so far as to say we’re unlikely to stay together forever: we’re both enthusiastic sluts in our early twenties who practice solo polyamory. We both fuck and date other people. We’re hardly the protagonists of a romance with a romantic ending, even if we weren’t both very queer. We take great delight in saying ‘fuck you’ to societal conventions, and it’s not a relationship that’s going to end with ring and a proposal – unless it’s a cock ring, of course.
However long our relationship lasts, I know it will be important to both of us. We’re still together, five months after I knocked over my hot chocolate while trying to kiss them for the first time. And yet I know it might not last forever.
When we started dating, I didn’t want to make the assumption that we’d be together for longer than a few weeks. It wasn’t just that it felt too good to be true – I also wanted to pretend that I wouldn’t fall so hard and so fast. If I kept reminding myself that our relationship might not last, I could stop myself getting too invested in a relationship that might not last. I didn’t want to fall in love with someone who surely wouldn’t want to keep dating me once they really got to know me.
Being in love is scary. Scary in a good way, though: exhilarating in a way that almost leaves me breathless. Every day I wake up with a little glow inside me, because this is the healthiest relationship I’ve ever had, and the first time my romantic feelings have been requited. It’s brilliant. But realising just how in love I am with NBae means I have to embrace the fact that our relationship comes with uncertainty and an undetermined end-point.
Maybe everyone feels this awful uncertainty, but the knowledge that I love someone who one day might not love me is terrifying… mostly in a good way.
To my depressed-ass self, the lack of major fuck-ups feels like magic. We haven’t argued or disagreed, we’ve learned from each other and had each other’s backs. It’s not only incredible sex: I trust them with every part of my body and my mind, and I hope I support them as much as they’re there for me. I know part of the air of perfection is NRE – New Relationship Energy – enhanced by the fact we’re in a long distance relationship. If we were tripping over each other’s shit and not treating every moment we have together as though it is special, things might be different.
You don’t meet many gender non-conforming queer couples who met at a spoken-word smut event in their twenties and are still in love at sixty. I love them a lot, and that love can exist alongside the knowledge that we might not be dating in another forty years. Or four years, or even four months. I hope we are, though. Debilitating mental illness aside, I’ve never been happier. It’s hard to hold that in my head while knowing there will be fuck ups and our relationship will end.
But maybe that’s part of it. Maybe being in a relationship is all about living with that uncertainty, and loving what you have because it’s special and might not last forever. Maybe this is what people mean when they say that being in love is vulnerable. It’s not that I think they’re going to break my heart, but I can’t hide from the fact that one day they might. Or I might break their’s – a relationship of any kind can’t exist without us hurting each other.
Maybe jumping in knowing that I’m not going to get a happy ever after is a good thing; maybe being in love is exciting because it’s uncertain, and accepting that is healthy.
This year I’m joining in with January Jumpstart, which is run by the brilliant Violet Fawkes. Click on the badge to see how everyone else is starting their sex blogging this year.
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Quinn Rhodes (he/him) is a freelance journalist, sex writer, and professional transsexual. His work focuses on dismantling shame and queering sex.