So the Newser headline is “Maria Bello Comes Out In NYT.” I thought I knew what “coming out” now means. And, sure enough, Bello revealed to her son that she is “romantically” involved with another woman.
But Bello did not exactly come out that way. She entitled her column “Coming Out as a Modern Family.”
It’s hard for me even to define the term “partner.” For five years I considered my partner to be a friend then in his 70s, John Calley, with whom I talked daily. He was the one who picked me up each time I had a breakdown about another failed romance. Because we were platonic, did that make him any less of a partner?
And I have never understood the distinction of “primary” partner. Does that imply we have secondary and tertiary partners, too? Can my primary partner be my sister or child or best friend, or does it have to be someone I am having sex with? I have two friends who are sisters who have lived together for 15 years and raised a daughter. Are they not partners because they don’t have sex? And many married couples I know haven’t had sex for years. Are they any less partners?
My feelings about attachment and partnership have always been that they are fluid and evolving. Jack’s father, Dan, will always be my partner because we share Jack. Dan is the best father and the most wonderful man I’ve known. Just because our relationship is nonsexual doesn’t make him any less of a partner. We share the same core values, including putting our son first. My more recent ex, Bryn, remains my partner because we share our activism. And Clare will always be my partner because she is also my best friend.
So basically there is no family anymore. Everything is smudged into friendship with bed-sharing from time to time. She concludes by affirming her son’s “wisdom”
So I would like to consider myself a “whatever,” as Jackson said. Whomever I love, however I love them, whether they sleep in my bed or not, or whether I do homework with them or share a child with them, “love is love.” And I love our modern family.
Maybe, in the end, a modern family is just a more honest family.
No, Bello, it is not a family at all. It’s an arrangement that a few uncommitted and non-committal urban dwellers can manage to make work for a few years and then preach to the rest of us in flyover country.
Bello makes it clear from the memory she recounts that she’s stuck in the idiot junior high school dating mentality with its serialized relationships. In her world, a man and woman giving themselves exclusively to each other for life, body and soul, is not even a consideration. Romantic fatalism is always the master and we are always the slave of relational forces that we must enjoy and never resist.
It is a vision that an army of bureaucrats firmly believes in. It is a world without any families and without any legal reality binding children to their parents. It is based on the dogma, without any secular justification, that men and women are interchangeable and that children aren’t meant to grow up with their parents as a unit.
And I don’t mean to be gross here, but why can’t this sometimes-sexualized “partnership” ethos be extended to Bello and her son, or both of them and their family pet? Already bizarre stuff is happening. Bello gives us no boundaries at all other than her “fluid” feelings.