As I have tried to think through why talk of marriage to my partner continues to cause a level of anxiety I have landed on the wedding kiss as one of the key triggers.
My partner and I have never kissed in front of my family and most of our friends. While I think we do display affection for each other in public there is a line I have not crossed. Thinking of standing in front of my family and friends and kissing my newly minted husband fills me with a level of anxiety and discomfort.
And it is not just a kiss. It is the idea of being watched as we walk down the aisle or dance together for that first dance as married men. All of these things make me uncomfortable.
So when I think of all the fear I got past to reach this point, is getting married just one more fear hill to climb? I do not know. Getting married is not quite the same as coming out at work or to family. It is a big step for the rest of your life.
So here’s my list of wedding discomforts:
- The very public kiss after the wedding ceremony
- The first dance as married men
- Being the center of attention in this very public way as I marry a man
- Walking down the aisle — what does that even look like for two men?
- Getting wedding presents as a 62-year-old man
- Making my wedding this public display.
- Somewhere I feel silly having a wedding with all the trimmings at my age.
- Fear of looking silly–is it attractive when older men show public displays of affection or something that makes for discomfort in people?
- When my mother suggested we just go off and get married, it brought up in me her own core discomfort, even while she says all the right things, it triggered my own discomfort.
Is this an example of internalized homophobia? Why do I see my wedding to a man in a different light than I would see a heterosexual wedding?
I think my family, particularly my siblings, would be cheering me on. I think my mother, who may have some discomfort, would none the less be supportive. My friends and my partner’s friends would certainly be loving and supportive. As Elaine Stritch would say, “So what is the problem?” I think it is me. As much as I have grown and changed and climbed many fear hills to get to this point, this really is one more big milestone change that pushes barriers and goes up against old stereotypes.