- I never thought I would be with a cisgender man again after years of dating women.
- I thought there wasn’t any room for a middle ground or expansive sexuality.
- Eventually, life happened and I had to let go of everything to move forward.
Everyone had the same question: Was I gay or straight? I had to choose because anything else made me a flight risk when entering a relationship.
The women I dated had all been burned by someone identifying as bisexual who never fully committed to the relationship because they had one foot firmly planted in heteronormativity. I understood because it happened to me too in high school.
When the opportunity came up to publicly discuss my relationships for a magazine, I took it because I thought it would shut down speculation and put my girlfriend at ease.
The interview took more than an hour. Every so often, the interviewer would “clarify” by saying something along the lines of, “It’s so great that you’re coming out to us.” And I would answer, “Well, I’m not coming out. I’m just talking about my life.” Her response was the same each time, “Oh, so you’re saying you’re straight.” Again, I’d say no and we’d continue on until it came back around.
Ultimately, the cover of the magazine read in big, bold letters: “Clementine Ford Comes Out”.
It felt true, truer than anything else I had ever said, but I was still uncomfortable
Even though I didn’t like being backed into a corner and my actions being misrepresented, the truth was, and still is, that I prefer the company of women in all ways romantic.
I don’t know how to explain what happened.
When I met the man who is now my husband, I was playing both his sister and his mother in a play. Most everyone pointed out how good-looking he was, borderline pretty even. In response, I shrugged. One night, we went out meaning to work, but all we did was talk through dinner, during a walk around the block, and well into the night on the phone. It was as if we had 32 years of life to catch up on even though we’d just met. It was purely platonic.
I fell in love with a man, and it was confusing
Then, during a late-night rehearsal involving shadow puppets, I looked at him and felt something different — something I’d never experienced. “Being in love” was the closest I could come up with, even though it was so much more than that. I wanted to fuse with him, to be attached to him always. I was ashamed, angry, and confused. I spent a lot of time wondering what was wrong with me that I was becoming involved with a cisgender, heterosexual man. I felt like I didn’t know who I was. All I knew for sure was him.
Six weeks later, we were engaged and living together. One year after that, we were married. Eleven months later, we welcomed our first child. Two and a half years after that, our second. In April, we will celebrate our 10th anniversary, and while I am still working through the shame and privilege, I don’t worry about the why or how anymore.
I am a whole person who met a whole person and built a life beyond my wildest imagination.