GWM would like to share Jack and Scott’s story with you; just one of the touching love stories from Gay Life After 40.
How We Met:
Jack: Scott’s partner of 13 years and my partner of 25 years died 3 months apart and we met online approximately a year later in the gay.com Fort Lauderdale chat room. Scott saw my profile in December 2001. He had just celebrated the first anniversary of his partner’s passing and I was facing the same within the month. He reached out to me and told me how he celebrated his late partner’s life on the anniversary by having a party in his honor the weekend before and the day of he walked one of their favorite beaches.
Scott: We talked almost every night after that by in chat and on the phone. I invited Jack to my home on New Year’s Eve for a drink but he decided at the last minute that meeting someone at my home wasn’t a good idea since he really didn’t know me. We met at a bar a week later. Jack walked in and he was talking to a mutual friend of ours (there’s your sign!). We hit it off immediately and dated for year. I wanted to leave Florida and move back home to Winston-Salem NC where my family was and Jack decided to make the move with me so we could start a new life living together. We’ve been together now for a little over 13 years.
We married September 12, 2014 in the UCC church that I ( Jack) was raised in on Long Island, New York since gay marriage wasn’t legal in NC. Approximately 60 people of both our families and friends celebrated our joy with us that day as our two families became one. Our wedding party consisted only of relatives from both sides of the family signifying the union between both families. Both of our families were united in showing their support by providing advice, making the wedding cake, providing the topper for the cake, helping decorate the venue, doing almost all of the photography, etc. and basically just loving both of us. My 91 year old dad (retired judge) was supposed to perform the ceremony but at the last minute couldn’t. He was, however, able to read a special poem for us at the beginning of the ceremony. One of the highlights of our ceremony was having a picture of our late partners with a candle on each side of the altar to remember and honor them as well as thank them for bringing us together. We lit the candle for each other’s partner and then used those candles to light our unity candle. Shortly after that, we became legal in NC. People ask us if it’s different being married. Yes… not sure exactly what it is but there’s a different feeling knowing that we’re truly and legally committed to each other.
What We Learned from Past Relationships:
Scott’s relationship with his late partner was unique in the fact that, not only were they deeply in love, they were in sync 99% of the time. They shared many of the same likes and dislikes and rarely argued.
My relationship with my late partner was very loving but extremely volatile at times. When he passed, I decided that I needed to find someone who wasn’t anything like him and someone I could depend on.
What we’ve had to learn to do is bring both of our long term relationships together as one… not easy. Just bringing the two homes (including 5 sets of dishes) was a challenge – LOL. We each had certain expectations when we started our relationship that we’ve had to adjust quite a few times. Over the years, we’ve tried to put into “real time” that that it takes two people, willing to accept the best and worst in each other, working constantly at building a life where a lot of baggage has been brought along. We’ve learned to make our differences work to our advantage making it not about us as individuals but us as a couple. Do we make mistakes? Of course we do but we learn from them, don’t dwell on them, and move on to the next mistake. LOL. Okay… not a mistake… it’s a learning experience.
What advice do we give to other couples?
Young people have so many wonderful opportunities ahead of them living in a world that accepts gay life instead of living life hiding who you are. First of all, don’t jump into living together. We took our time dating and getting to know each other before we decided to take that step. Be open and honest with each other although sometimes it makes no sense. Good communication is the key to any successful marriage as well as being open to changes and making them work to your advantage. Be totally there for each other through good times and bad and always be willing to take that extra step to make the relationship stronger. If you make the relationship stronger, you make each other stronger and happier in the process. There are going to be little quirks in each other that you will need to overlook and learn to laugh at because they’re not going to change. Just accept it! As they say, choose your battles wisely and don’t sweat the small stuff. Remember to give each other space to do your own thing… doing things apart brings new experiences into the relationship… major plus! Above all, always take the time to just touch, hug & kiss each other. On an added note, one of the things we do from time to time is give each other little gifts and put them in different places where we’ll find them when least expected. They don’t even have to be expensive but have some meaning of how you’re thinking of them at that time. Best advice is to love each other as you want to be loved…. seriously works!
WHAT WE LOVE MOST ABOUT OUR RELATIONSHIP & PARTNER:
We both agree that the thing we love most about our relationship is having someone in your corner 24/7 that loves you unconditionally. We can count on each other to always work as a team and where one leaves off, the other picks up.
Jack: There are many things I love about Scott but I think the one thing I most admire about him is his talent and passion with his painting, sketching and photography. He has a knack of noticing the little things in his art as he does in our life together. He has a heart of gold that shines, not only to me, but to our relatives and friends as well… not to mention our five kids (three dogs and two cats). Lastly, he always makes me laugh. I can be having a serious discussion with him and he comes out with something that is so off the wall that it makes it very difficult to continue the seriousness. Gotta love the man!
Scott: Jack balances my life. He does all the little things to show his love. He meets me halfway when I know he doesn’t want to, listens to all my ideas and thoughts and keeps us connected on an emotional level. He tries to promote my art career although he doesn’t quite understand the art… yes… doing my best to teach him. He’s fun to be around and does his best to remind me that life isn’t meant to be all serious. I love our friendly bantering in public which our friends and families think is a hoot. He completes me in many ways which bonds our lives together.
GOALS AS A COUPLE:
As we head into our retirement years, we need to make sure we have the money we need to do whatever we want and live comfortably. We hope to do some traveling and doing things we haven’t been able to do due to our work schedules. As we discovered when I was unemployed, we also need to find ways of not getting on each other’s nerves when we’re together 24/7 – LOL. Ultimately, our goal is to keep striving to enrich our relationship, keep each other happy and live out our lives with as much love as we can handle.