Editors' Note: Guest blogger Robyn Greenspan is a social media and executive careers expert and writer, but most importantly, happily and legally married.
Friday nights are the hardest.
After a long week in the office, it used to be the night when we're both drained and we'd unwind at a sushi bar or with a pizza on the couch and catch up on Project Runway or Mad Men.
It's also the dawn of a weekend together; 48 hours of endless possibilities ahead.
Instead, when you have a spouse who travels 50 percent for work, Friday is when the tick of the clock becomes loudest; a reminder that the next two days when others are coupling off to the dry cleaner and grocery store, having date night and are snapshots of domesticity in sweatpants, I'm a third wheel, or home alone, online, eating gummy bears for dinner.
Thankfully, we have a lot more modern technology to stay connected than when we first met on AOL in 1995 debating the merits of PageMaker and QuarkXpress as platforms for desktop publishing. (I bet on PageMaker). Back then, AOL was $2.95 an hour and long distance phone calls weren't free. Eventually I got a 30 minute per month plan on a mobile phone.
Comparatively, I'm now spoiled by random smiley face texts, a photo of a sunset, a quick video chat, and phone calls to say good night from any time zone.
We get through the separation lately knowing this is the home stretch. The company is moving to Florida at the end of the year, along with the job. There was a relocation offer but it's not an option for us.
Because in Connecticut, the state where we live, we're legally married. In Florida, we're not.
In Connecticut, we are afforded all the same rights, responsibilities and protections as other legally married couples; in Florida, we are legal strangers.
In Connecticut, we can quickly make healthcare decisions for each other. With one of us a breast cancer survivor, this is undeniably important. In Florida, "close friends" are given some authority but only after attempts to reach blood relatives are exhausted.
Florida is also one of the 29 states where it's still legal to fire someone because of their sexual orientation.
We can stay in Connecticut or move to one of the other places where same-sex marriages are legally performed: Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Iowa, Vermont and Washington, D.C. or legally recognized: New York, Rhode Island and Maryland. However, we're still denied the 1,138 Federal benefits, rights and privileges like Social Security and joint tax filing. There's also that annoyingly unfair extra "gay tax" on health insurance.
One sentence in the New York Times today provided the motivation to write this. "'It Gets Better' Starting Now for Gay Youth" explores the challenges of a couple of really young gay kids and the impact of the recent suicides of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi and others.
After watching some of the YouTube videos initiated by columnist Dan Savage's It Gets Better campaign designed to inspire hope in LGBT youth, 12-year-old Daniel Derraugh said:
"But he was in college. I thought it was supposed to get better after high school."
"It" does get better. "It" can be the external conditions and treatment from others, but "it" is also our internal coping mechanisms.
Everyone can help make "it" better. What can you do to ensure others don't have to grow up with messages of inferiority? Or even having to face difficult choices about where to live or work? Start right now by becoming involved with The Coming Out Project. Contact your legislators to repeal DOMA and pass ENDA.