Kim (52) and Brenda (55) have been together for going on 30 years. They have married each other three times, have raised a daughter together and have two grandchildren. Below the Plainfield, Ill., couple share more about their marathon love:
Black Lesbian Love Lab (BL3): How did you two first meet?
Kim: We met in 1984. We became a couple in March of 1985. We [worked] at the same printing company. We had lunch with coworkers one day, hit it off talking and Brenda asked me if I wanted to go out for a drink. Then all of Brenda’s “friends” said, “You do know she is a lesbian, right?” And Brenda was like, “Okay.”
Brenda: I went after Kim. I’ve just always been me. I never denied or admitted anything to anyone. I’ve always just been who I am. If people figured it out, cool; if not cool.
Kim: We went out for a drink and we just had a great time talking. Nothing happened that night. Then we just started hanging out in early March of 1985.
BL3: What intrigued you about each other?
Brenda: It was refreshing to meet someone who I could actually have intelligent conversations with, somebody who wasn’t trying to impress me by being something that she wasn’t. She was real.
Kim: It was pretty much the same thing for me. The ability to have an intelligent conversation wit someone was rare. There are so many phony people out there. She was not one of them. She understood me; she got me pretty quick.
BL3: When did this become real for you?
Kim: I knew it was real when I was out of town and needed a ride back and none of my friends and family could pick me up. I was stranded [at the airport]. I took a chance and called Brenda and said, “Help!” Brenda said, “I don’t know if I’ll be able to come because my car might not start.” She went outside and her car wouldn’t start. She didn’t come pick me up, but the fact that she was willing to come, resonated with me.
I was dating someone at the time and it was one of those relationships where you break up every week. Brenda and I weren’t even dating at the time but there was something there. I remember that I had a birthday party and wanted her to come, but because she was in the military, it was her drill weekend. My girlfriend at the time didn’t want to come, but Brenda woke up at the butt crack of dawn, came to my house and stayed and then drove out. We wound up being there for each other very early on and that works.
Brenda: I had been previously married and divorced and had been single for a couple years. When Kim and I met, I was dating on and off and my daughter was four. (My daughter is 33 now.) She understood that if we were going to have any type of friendship or relationship my child was part of the package. We never had any issues with that and Kim kind of adopted her earlier on and over the years.
I hate the phone, but we would talk on the phone for two, three hours some nights and eventually realized it would be easier if she came over. For the first few months of our friendship, we just talked before we actually dated. We spent a lot of time getting to know each other and found we had a lot of things in common and a lot of things not in common and still seemed to gel together.
And when we did start dating it wasn’t weird; it just worked. Friends said how strange and weird we were because we got along so well. [In our previous] relationships there was so much fighting and making up I had gotten to the point where I was so sick of it. We were able to communicate with each other and have never had a fight.
Kim: We don’t always agree on everything. We literally just talk about it. The yelling and screaming and throwing things? We don’t do that. Life is too short and time is too precious to waste on BS like that. Our mindset is, “We said we wanted to do this, so let’s do it. Let’s not fight; just work it out.” It’s counterproductive to fight. We are pretty laid back. I’m probably the more excitable of the two. If I get mad, it’s very short lived. We don’t take it out on each other, there’s just no need for it. When problems arise, I tend to ask myself how big is this problem and is this a deal breaker? And 99.9999 percent of the time, it’s not a deal breaker. I also ask the question, “Do you love her? Is what we have worth saving?” And for me the answer is always, “yes.”