Report from a Relationship

Here’s what it takes

Julio Vincent Gambuto
4 min readMar 31, 2023

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All it takes is one person being hot and one being cold. At any and every living moment of the day and night, one needs a blanket and the other needs the window open. I’ve learned that and more since November 2020, when I met my boyfriend. It was — and remains — an odd time in the world to find love. But it comes when it comes. And it’s probably because it is such an odd time that I was really ready for it. The pandemic closed me and opened me at the very same time.

Love came after a decade of being single. Some people are fine with being solo. I was not one of them. I smiled. I covered. I made everyone believe I was totally fine. I made myself believe I was totally fine. I wasn’t. But I looked. I dated. I swiped. I hooked up. It was all pretty awful. I did meet some fantastic humans, too, but our pairing wasn’t in the cards. By 2020, I had given up. And then in walked a partner.

We’re two and a half years in now, and here’s what I have learned: it takes one person to love decorative bed pillows and one to loathe their very fucking presence. It takes one person to eat dinner while watching Hulu and the other to set the table with a tablecloth and play Adele. It takes one to ask for the manager — request, insist, demand — and the other to hang their head in embarrassment.

It takes one to want to go to bed at 10pm and the other to scroll til three. One to love The Golden Girls and one to change the channel. “What is so funny about these old ladies?” “They’re not even old. They’re like 55!” It takes one to keep Seamless in business and the other who thinks he’s Rachael Ray. It takes one to avoid cocktail parties and shrink at the mere invitation, and the other to dress in his finest and hold court.

At least in our house, the contrasts circle around at some point to complement one another. He cooks. I clean. He grocery shops. I organize the bills. He divvies the recycling. I take it out. While I read political non-fiction, he sits next to me reading about his dragons and wizards. And when I’m spinning, he calms me. When he’s bottling it up, I push him to talk. When I drift into…

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Julio Vincent Gambuto

Author of “Please Unsubscribe, Thanks!” from Avid Reader Press at Simon & Schuster // Speaking at SXSW in March // juliovincent.com