The story of our romance began when, after 15 years of friendship, we discovered a deep, mutual, passionate attraction for each other at a time when we were both single. The turning-point conversation arose unexpectedly, as turning points often do. I (Dorothy) was lounging on my futon on an early Thursday evening in Seattle, following another frustrating day at work. Kelli was relaxing on her futon in her writing loft, 2,500 miles and two time zones away, in Austin. Our phone dates had become more frequent and we’d planned this one for two days after Valentine’s Day. We wanted to share how we’d spent that night, me with three good friends drinking wine, her with her girlfriend and possibly her girlfriend’s daughter. Things had not been going well in Kelli’s relationship since the holidays. I was eager to hear what had unfolded on the day insidiously contrived to remind singles they’re single and place couples’ unspoken disappointments in the spotlight.
We spent an hour recounting events and ruminating over unsatisfying relationships and unmet needs. We repeated our mutual intention to be with a partner who is able to be fully present in the relationship. We talked about how much we’d learned about what we now wanted in a partner by experiencing much of what we didn’t want in past relationships.
I casually and somewhat flippantly said, “Maybe you and I should be together.” I’d said “maybe you and I should date” and “maybe you and I should be girlfriends” a few times over the past five months, in moments when I noticed I was my best version of myself with Kelli, when it was easy to understand and be understood. She’d said the same thing to me, when she’d been frustrated with tense communication, misunderstandings, and lack of intimacy with her girlfriend. Truth be told, in October I’d confessed to a close friend that I was “crushing on Kelli” when she stayed with me in Seattle for a few days to attend a wedding ceremony. I noticed then how much I liked myself when I was with her, a dramatically different experience than I’d had with any girlfriend.
This time when I said it, without thinking, I quickly added, “Of course we don’t even know if there’s an attraction here.” Kelli’s response touched my ears and heart with calm clarity. “Dorothy, the fact that we keep mentioning it means there is.”
With those words we began exploring our feelings of attraction and desire.
We quickly realized each of us was the one the other had been longing and preparing for our entire life. Within three weeks, we knew we were life partners who had known each other for 15 years.
Our vision in writing for The Seattle Lesbian is to inspire couples and singles in their quest for and experience of an authentic, fulfilling, deeply connected, intimate partnership, by sharing the experience of our relationship as it unfolds. The crucible of our relationship, and our experiences in past relationships, will be the launch pad for our articles. We’ll explore issues of emotional and sexual intimacy, communication, trust, commitment, interdependency, family dynamics, and lifestyle. We’ll discuss our experiences with compromise, collaboration and the creative ways we navigate inherent differences without loosing our connection. We’ll describe the qualities that enliven our connection: clarity, awareness, kindness, humor, empathy, compassion, patience, understanding, playfulness, adventure, and alignment with core values. We’re calling the column “In the Midst” to highlight our commitment to loving each other well in the midst of both joyful and challenging situations.
We invite you to join us on the journey of and through our relationship. Let us know what topics are of interest to you! We look forward to our unfolding together.
Dorothy & Kelli
Kelli Williamson holds a Master of Arts degree in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling from The School of Leadership and Education at the University of San Diego. Kelli has extensive experience working with couples, children and families. She has worked in private practice and held leadership positions in non-profit organizations directing counseling services, supervising staff and interns, and providing training in child and family therapy. In addition, she consults with non-profit agencies providing organizational development and leadership training.
Dorothy (Bosteder) Emerson graduated from the University of California at Davis with a degree in Economics. She is a Senior Product Manager in the banking industry and has served on the board of directors for non-profit agencies serving women and children. Dorothy has expertise in building relationships by facilitating communication and collaboration while navigating complex systems. Dorothy is also the mother of two teenagers and offers clarity and focus on listening to and following one’s heart as a parent.
Dorothy and Kelli can be reached at email@example.com.