The greatest love story doesn’t even know it’s a love story.

Micael Marie Monroe Photography

The greatest love story doesn’t even know it’s a love story.

by Micael Marie Monroe

I met my first husband John when I was 17 and he was 16.

It was an instant attraction. We met and then we were just inseparable.

It was the summer and I was visiting Utah from Pennsylvania where I lived. I had a boyfriend at the time so it wasn’t a sexual relationship but it was a really strong friendship with a little bit of sexual energy.

I ended up having a baby at age 18 with my boyfriend, whom I had no interest in staying with.

I really wanted to be with John.

When my son was a year old, I moved to Utah. John and I moved in together and starting raising my first born together. He would wake up for all the 3am feedings and was basically the dad that I wanted for my son.

When my first son was 16 months old, I became pregnant with my second son. We were poor but honestly, we were a real family. We did activities with my brother, with his sister, with his mother. We had a network of people and it felt whole.

Although, I always knew there was something missing between us.

Flashback to when I first met John. My first impression was that he was gay. He was beautiful. This half-thai and half-German genetics produced this gorgeous boy; all dark skin and high cheekbones.

He had some effeminate characteristics but we were street punks and I dated men who wore skirts and makeup. So…. there’s that. I didn’t think twice once he reassured me he wasn’t gay. He also pursued me.

Over the next few years, I could feel a hate brewing between us.

Not that I hated him or he hated me but something was being hated. We were young. It was hard for us to even identify what we hated about our lives.

I would move away to my mothers at one point, taking the kids and then coming back. We would get back together but in the end, we decided to divorce and part ways.

I knew he would always be a great father. I hoped we would always be friends.

In the great history of my amazing decision-making skills, I ended up moving to California to be with a guy I just met. I quickly became pregnant because that’s my MO.

I of course knew I didn’t want to be with this guy and left him as quickly as I came.

During this whole time I was pregnant, John had moved to Austin for grad school. I was living in Utah and he was living in Texas. He invited us to come to Austin. I knew he missed his boys and John was basically home to me. So we packed up everything out of storage units/apartments and came to Austin.

When I got to that apartment, I showed up with my two small boys... and this brand new baby, Phoenix. John always loved babies. Honestly, it’s one of my favorite things about him. I could see, he really wanted to hold him. I just waited and watched, smiling because I knew he couldn’t resist a baby snuggle.

Eventually it got the better of him. He told me to start going out, having friends and a social life. He would watch the baby. Of course he would. He started watching my baby one night a week so I could go out, network and make a life for myself.

When someone loves you, they do that for you. They make sure your whole soul is being fed.

John and I were not a couple, we didn’t behave like one. We co-habitated and raised babies together. We didn’t fight. We didn’t fuck.

John was now fathering two of my kids that weren’t his. But I could tell there was a part of him that was sad, lonely. I hated seeing him like that.

When you love someone, you want them to live their truth. I knew in my heart of hearts that he was gay.

One day he asked me to get back together with him. He asked me though with his head down, he couldn’t make eye contact. This wasn’t uncommon for him but I knew now why.

Living with me, not being able to live his truth was kind of killing him. I told him I was not going to get back with him and that one day he would thank me for letting him go so that he could find someone who he is truly meant for.  Of course I didn’t say it was going to be another man. But I knew it was.

I moved out and we co-parented the kids between our two households. He continued to take Phoenix for visitation. I eventually met and married another man.

One day, John asks if he can take me out for coffee. Yes. I knew this day was coming. I’ve known for almost 10 years. We get our drinks, sit down and he is visibly nervous. He starts telling me that he’s having someone move in, this person has been and will be around the kids. Ok. Then he tells me what I’ve known since the first 5 minutes of meeting him, that the person he’s chosen as a partner is another man.

I smile. I know. I’ve known. It’s ok. I’m happy for you.

I eventually get to meet this other man and he’s perfect for John. He’s smart, loving, fun, silly, cool, passionate. He also loves the kids. In fact, he was in school to become a school teacher.

As the years pass, John and his husband (yes, they did eventually get married) have continued to be an very active part of the boys lives. They now live in Washington DC and take Phoenix every summer, giving him amazing experiences traveling and learning.

Love is love. It looks different for everyone. It doesn’t have to mean (and rarely does it) romance.

It’s not a fairy tale. It’s wanting the best for someone, even if the best isn’t you or a certain part of you. It’s wanting to see someone’s dreams come true.

When he graduated grad school and became a PHD, I wrote him a letter saying that I was so proud of him and thanked him for being such a beacon of light for me in my hardest times.

When I get asked if I’m angry about how all this ended. How can I be? We were young. We raised each other. I knew he was gay but he wasn’t ready to come out, I wanted to protect him. If that isn’t love, then nothing is.

About Micael Marie Monroe

Micael Marie Monroe is a mother of five amazing children and a fine art portrait photographer currently residing in Round Rock, Texas.

Check out her epic photography below (she’s the one who shot all the photos for my site!).

Guest ContributorJudy Tsuei