“I had that ‘I love you’ feeling right away.”
Marie was “actively looking” for a girlfriend when she met Brenda, and she says she found more than she’d hoped for. “In a way,” she says, “even though I was married [to a man], this is the first relationship that I feel prepared to commit to. We’re in love and we’ll be together forever.”
The “forever” part is new, Marie says. “Whether that’s a function of getting older and the feeling that I’d better do it now, I don’t know. My mother is 91 and I expect to live at least that long. I don’t expect to be as active at 85 as I am now, but now I am very active.”
Brenda B., Marie’s partner, is a school teacher. At 52, she’s about 18 years younger than Marie. Brenda was definitely not looking to meet anyone at the time she found Marie. “I was done,” she said. “I didn’t want to go through talking about myself again, I was tutoring, and I had no free time. I was teaching, working at the bike shop, riding a lot, and I was taking care of my [family member]. My life was full.”
The day she met Marie, Brenda says, “I was forced to go out by one of my friends, because I was single and she wanted me to meet people.” When she got to the potluck at the end of her long bike ride, she says, she noticed that, “There were a lot of women there, maybe fifty! It was mostly an older crowd, but I tried to relax and talk to people. I moved around; I talked to several people. When I made my way to the kitchen, Marie sat next to me. I asked her some questions and she asked me some questions, and next thing I know she showed me a video of her tap dancing! I thought it was really neat that she would be so open.” What attracted her most to Marie, she said, was her warmth and openness.
This is Brenda’s second relationship with an older partner – she once dated a woman some 25 years her senior. “But she wasn’t out as much, and I was very out at the time, so for me to be forced to be closeted – I couldn’t do it. There were other issues, too. She said ‘I love you’ right away and I didn’t have that feeling, so I wasn’t comfortable saying it back to her. But with Marie it’s so different. I had that “’I love you’ feeling right away.” The age factor didn’t come to mind, it wasn’t an issue at all. She was just someone I was attracted to right away.”
Marie and Brenda started dating after that party, and soon fell in love. Brenda has often thanked her friend for “dragging” her that party.