I didn’t ask for the experiences I’ve had in the past year. Neither did my partner. But holy shit I am glad he’s been with me through this journey. They say that every partner we choose to share our lives with, teaches us something about ourselves. Most importantly, they teach you what your ‘absolutes’ are. Throughout my dating adventures, I’ve learned so much about myself and my absolutes. But I never imagined what kind of person I would need for a partner after being raped.
Counselling has challenged how I behave in relationships and what my expectations are. What I thought was equality between two people was shrouded in sexism. My current partner has had to move through the motions with me as I changed. I approached every new change with hesitation as I expressed to him something new that I needed him to try to understand with me.
It was nerve-wracking. So many aspects about the way I thought and the way I lived my life were now being challenged. It was hard enough trying to accept and adjust myself, but to try to convince a partner as well, was something I worried about. This definitely had the potential to end our relationship if we couldn’t grow together.
Each concept took time to implement and evoked a thorough conversation about why it was important and the meaning behind it. Most relationships are entrenched in traditionally sexist values – especially sex. Having both been brought up in relatively the same space, we both held these traditional values and we both questioned the validity of making the changes at times. But once we made them, our relationship formed into something I could have never imagined. The depth of our relationship goes beyond anything I have ever experienced before.
On more than one occasion, I’ve been able to sit quietly as my partner speaks on subjects that I’m extremely passionate about. I’ve listened as he eloquently explains his opinions on racism or sexism as if he was taking the words straight from my mind. We’ve become incredibly aligned and it causes me to feel a sense of security that I’ve never felt before. He is able to nourish my passions while supporting me in my life’s mission to be a change-maker. I know that if I feel it’s necessary to speak out, he will have my back, and never shame me for my opinion or embarrass him.
He has been so caring, kind, and compassionate. He has welcomed the changes with open arms. Many men would have struggled with this. Challenging sexism from a feminist perspective is often equated with challenging masculinity and male ego. My partner could have easily rejected everything I brought forward and refused to question himself. Instead, he recognized aspects within himself that he wanted to change and did so right away. He started paying attention to his language, the media, television shows, movies, and pointing out the sexism in them before I even had a chance to say something.
His willingness to be the best version of himself only enabled me to be the best version of myself. I was able to truly heal, knowing he was right by my side every step of the way. He stood beside me knowing I did not need his protection, I needed his understanding and support. I couldn’t be more thankful to have him in my life. I also couldn’t be more thankful for who he is as a person.
It was his spirituality that first drew me to him. His outlook on life and the world completely aligned with my own. Now, we have an element to our relationship that I’m not sure if I would find with anyone else. Our perspectives changed together through this whole experience and created the most equal and respectful relationship I have ever known.
To my precious partner: Through all of the sleepless nights, tears, confusion, and anger, you have managed to remain a constant source of light. I love you.