Linda McKitrick – Commitment

“It’s a matter of trust.”

I didn’t work for about a year after I got out of the service. I had some medical issues and they got resolved. I had a partner and we were only together for about a year—almost two years. Then I wasn’t with anybody for about five years. Then I met Wanda. She was a nurse at the VA, and we were together 10 years. Then I didn’t date anybody for a long time, then I met my [current] partner.

I have a long-distance relationship. A real long distance relationship. She lives in Ontario, Canada. [We travel to see each other.] Her cell phone is free after 8 p.m. She is three hours ahead of us. So, after 5 p.m. our time, she can call me for free on her cell phone. I talk to her every day. We talk on the computer with MSN instant messaging. [I’ve been with Beth for] five years. If anyone was to move, it would have to be me, because she is very close to her family. Her family does not know that she is gay. She says she thinks they have an idea that she is gay; she has never come right out and said, “Linda is my partner.”

[Beth] lived in Arizona at the time [we first connected] and worked at the Mayo Clinic. She is a nurse. We talked [online] for about six months or so—maybe not even that long—then I asked her if I could call her. We started talking to each other [by phone]. I got these phone cards that were really good for $20.00. What I’d do is send her the PIN number and we would talk to each other. I went down to visit her in Arizona three times. Then she moved back to Canada.

We just hit it off really well and we’ve been together ever since. It’s harder sometimes, especially during the holidays. I went to visit her last month for her Thanksgiving. They have the same kind of Thanksgiving that we do, but ours is a little bit different. Ours is a big family thing. You know, people travel long distances. They don’t do that in Canada. It’s just the immediate family, but they have the same kind of food that we have.

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I found that going to the bars as a couple is not a good idea. That is where your relationship can falter, because there is just too much temptation there. But then, there is temptation if you invite a bunch of people to your house . . . Anything could happen; you’re just in a different atmosphere.

[I think that’s why committed gay couples] start going to movies and such, socializing with straight people. I think it’s a trust issue. If you can’t trust the person that you’re with, then that is where your problems begin. You have to be able to trust that person, that they are not going to cheat on you, that they are not going to do this, or whatever. It’s a matter of trust.

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Source: Interview with Maureen Nickerson, 22 November 2006; held in the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture.