Hernan and Carlos: Separated by DOMA, United by Their Love For Each Other and Hope for the Future
Our love story began three years ago when I was logged on to my Facebook account one day and noticed a “friend request” from Carlos, someone I did not know. As any Facebook user knows, friend requests are a fairly constant feature of social networking. I don’t usually accept the friend request of a stranger, but on that day something made me want to know more about this person. At the time, I had no idea that the face staring back at me from the screen would become the love of my life, the man I want to spend the rest of my life with. Those realizations came later. On that day, I accepted his request and joined his friend list.
Days went by before we happened to be on line at the same time and we started talking. I was nervous but curious. I greeted him and asked who he was. He introduced himself to me in a way that caught my attention; he was very captivating. With time, our conversations became more frequent and it got me wondering why he had sent me that friend request in the first place. Turns out, a complete coincidence, and luck brought Carlos to my Facebook page. My first name and last name are the same as one his relatives, and he had sent the request mistakenly thinking I was that person. That didn’t matter much, as soon as we started to get to know each other were glad the coincidence had brought us together.
It did not take long for us to realize there was a very strong chemistry between the two of us. We kept on talking over the internet and got to know each other better and better. Later we got to exchange telephone numbers and were able to communicate via Blackberry Messenger and Whatsapp. And, little by little, what had started as a friendship (since neither of us had even acknowledge yet to the other that we were gay), started to get more intense. And we would talk all day, up until late at night. The direction our friendship was heading to made me develop feelings for Carlos. Even though I did not know him in person, ours chats felt as if we knew each other throughout the whole life. And since we became good friends, I felt like telling him about my sexual orientation. One day, while chatting I told him: “Carlos, I am gay. I hope that does not bother you.” I was anxious to know what he would think about it, when he replied: “Do not worry…me too.”
This was a very special moment for the two of us, it felt as if it was meant to be. We were now talking daily and I couldn’t keep my feelings to myself any longer. I told him: “Carlos, you know what? I like you.” I did not know what his reaction would be, but he replied instantly: “I also like you a lot.” He asked if he could call me and I could not resist to his request, I had to listen to his voice. When he called and I answered the emotion that took over us was mutual and we decided that it was about time to go on Skype. We set up a date and saw each other. Ever since that, we keep in touch through web camera, we meet every time we have some free time and share everything together.
We went on like that for days, talking whenever we had a chance, getting to know each other better and better. We started dreaming about meeting in person, and this was exactly what happened. Thanks to Carlos’ job which allowed him to travel to different cities in the US frequently, we got to plan our first date. He had to travel to Washington, DC and this trip presented our first opportunity to meet in person; I waited anxiously for that day until it finally happened. I took three days off work to go to DC. That day, Carlos arrived in the morning and I got there in the afternoon. He was waiting for me at the airport. We could never forget that moment, when our eyes met for the first time, when we first hugged without being able to say a word such was the emotion. All we did was cry, happy to know that we were now together.
Those were the best three days of our lives, we were always happy even though we knew that the moment to say goodbye would come sooner than we could imagine. During those three days, we went for walks, had dinner, and shared beautiful moments which made us decide that we would start a formal relationship, without caring about the distance that would separate us. The final day came too quickly, and we had to say goodbye. His flight going back to Colombia was scheduled for the morning and I had to go back to Boston in the afternoon. That was a very hard and sad moment, we did not want to let go of each other but we knew that was how things had to be. Later that night we spoke again on Skype and it was even harder to see each other on the computer. Ever since that day, we sleep with our cameras turned on so that we can feel that we are close and that we live together. For the past two years, we have had the good fortune to be able to see each other every three months or so, either I go to Colombia, where Caros lives, or he comes to the United States. Last Thanksgiving he suggested that we have a wedding in Colombia which was a very special occasion. We started to plan when would be the best time to do it.
On January 17 of this year, I went to Colombia to attend our wedding which was to take place the next day; and then 3 days later we had to say goodbye one more time. Like all binational couples, we experience repeated heartbreaking separations. The goodbyes at the airports are always so hard and emotional, and this one, coming right after our wedding celebration, was no exception. These are unending moments, leaving our hearts anxious and uneasy, almost as if they were taken out of us. The loneliness of having your loved one far from you is truly indescribable; although we have the constant faith that we will meet soon again. The experience of spending time together and then separating again, has tested our relationship and has made it stronger. Our desire to be together and to build a happy future here, in the US, is bigger than any barrier that we encounter in our way.
Our wedding in Colombia is recognized under Colombian law as a de facto marital union (“Union Marital de Hecho”) which is performed with public notary and is similar to “common law marriage.” This provides the same benefits as heterosexual marriages in Colombia.
We hope that one day soon that we will be able to end this separation and live each day together in the U.S., building a home and a life together just as all other loving couples.
We thank The DOMA PROJECT for the great work that they have done and the support they have given to make come true not just our dream, but also the dream of all of those couples who are on the same situation.