Did you hold your sweetheart's hand shopping on Boxing Day this year? Lay an arm behind them on the couch on Christmas Eve while you chatted with your parents? Stole a quick kiss without being terrified that someone might see you?
I did, and I didn't. I could only do so with one of my two partners, and it sucked.
This year, my husband and I have welcomed a third person into our relationship. She's funny and smart and beautiful, and we both care for her very much. We don't think of her as a third, as someone disposible or extra - she's extremely important to us as a friend and a lover. But to the outside world, to our family and friends, she's just a friend. Not someone I should be holding hands with at the mall, or that my husband should be kissing whem the ball drops at midnight.
It was excruitating to have to limit our contact with her when friends and family were around.
All three of us are affectionate people who have always expressed their love through hand holding and ass smacking and frequent touching, so I don't think it's the flush of new relationship energy making us want so much contact. Especially at Christmas, when everyone is expressing their love so openly with parents and children and friends and spouses.
Have you ever had to keep love hidden? Maybe a partner you knew other people wouldn't approve of, for reasons valid or not? Because of the logistics of ex-wives or custody battles or because of alternative lifestyle reasons? Does it get easier?