There’s a question that we’ve been asked a few times and there are different variations it. It can take the form of “Who’s the wife?” or “Who’s the husband?” We’ve also heard “Who wears the pants in the relationship?” I’ve even had someone ask me who the man is in the relationship.
Well…surprise! We’re both the man! That’s kind of the point of a same-sex relationship.
People who ask this, I believe, are genuinely curious and well-meaning, but don’t realize that these types of questions stem from not really knowing what a same-sex relationship looks like. And, though I usually try not to take it this way, it can come across as a little offensive at times. We are so accustomed to looking at gender roles as completely binary that we get stuck in the idea that every relationship has to have a “male” and a “female”. And that’s just not true. Josh and I are a living, breathing example of that.
There may be times when one of us performs a role that is traditionally associated with the woman in a heterosexual relationship, but we’re both men. So our marriage will have two husbands. And in our relationship, we work together, balancing and playing to our strengths and weaknesses. More and more these days, heterosexual couples operate the same way, but we might have it easier because we don’t have the traditional gender roles to fall into. If I’m better at something or enjoy it more, I do it. If Josh is better at something or enjoys it more, he does it. I like the house staying clean, so I’m in charge of cleaning. Josh likes numbers and spreadsheets, so he’s in charge of budgeting. We definitely offer input and help the other out when needed, but as we continue to grow and continue to know each other better, we’re astounded at how well we balance each other.
As we have learned to recognize each others’ strengths, we’ve also become more reliant on leaning on those strengths. For example, I’ve always been pretty tech savvy and could always figure out how to work technology as needed. However, since I’ve been with Josh, I’ve become extremely reliant on him to know those sorts of things; he’s an even bigger tech nerd than I am. I always default to him when it comes to most tech related things these days, and I don’t even know how to fix our internet now when it goes down. So there are definitely pros and cons to this, but it’s reality. It’s strange how, after time, you start functioning as a single unit, using one person to keep track of certain information and the other to keep track of other things.
I’ve also had people ask who is more gay between the two of us. When people ask this, I think they’re really asking “who is the more effeminate one?” Well, I love showtunes and am definitely the more emotional one. But Josh can’t go a day without listening to Britney, Mariah, or Celine. On the other hand, we’re both pretty avid fans of our sports teams (Ryan = OKC Thunder!, Josh = San Fransisco 49ers!). The reboot of Queer Eye is our totes fave (Helloooo, Antoni!), but don’t ask us about Ru Paul’s Drag Race; we’ve never seen it. We both fit into gay stereotypes at times, and we both break those stereotypes at times. We’re different balances of socially constructed femininity and masculinity at different times and in different situations. And honestly, that’s how most gay people are. It’s probably how most straight people are, too, for that matter. It’s just hard to go against the grain of what’s expected sometimes.
So to answer the question, there is no wife. I’m Ryan and he’s Josh. We’re two men who love each other very much. And that’s all that should matter.