Lynda and Betty Gates
How long have you been together? We’ve been together for twenty-three years and married for 21 years as of September 6, the day after Betty’s birthday.
How did you get together/meet? Lynda: We met over the Memorial Day Weekend at St. John’s Night club in San Jose. I introduced myself, offered to buy her a drink, which she turned down because one was her limit. That excited me and I struck up a conversation. At the end of the night, I walked her to her car and asked for her phone number. Having no pencil or paper, she repeated it twice. I remembered it and called the next evening and here we are!
What was the initial reaction? Lynda: For me it was lust. From cross the room I eyed her headlights discreetly from under the bill of my hat. Little did I know then but women with big breast always know when you’re staring at their breast. Anyway, I had been single for a while and was looking to nest. Ms. Betty, with her sexy feminine self had my full attention!
Betty: I saw her across the room. I wasn’t sure if she was a man or woman but I knew she was handsome. And to my amazement, when she approached me she was quite nice. Plus, I liked her big legs.
What would you say is the key to success in your relationship? Betty: I love catering to my wife and she loves being catered too. It’s the little things that I do for her that makes my heart smile with love.
How do you define catering? It is the little things. I like taking care of her like running her bath, massaging her head, serving her breakfast in bed, etc. I like to do things that make her feel good, and making her feel good makes me feel good.
Lynda: We’re old school with a lot of old school ways. Betty is my cougar but we see things almost eye to eye. I’m an ole’ school butch and I believe in roles. I am the head of my household, provider, shot caller and the responsible one. I know my job and I accept my role; I’m in charge. Yet ultimately, I’m a baby who wants to be taken care of so I hooked up with an aggressive femme who is smart enough to get her way while letting me think I’m in charge! When I first met Betty, she was the better part of my mother. She was actually what my stepfather said when he married my mother: a woman determined to have things with or without me. So I guess it was her ambition that was attractive along with her wit and sexy body!
Discuss how you deal with and face challenges that might occur in your relationship? Betty: Some challenges are too hard for me to handle and that’s when Lynda steps up and handles them and vice versa. Sometimes there are things that she doesn’t want to deal with and I step up. We share.
Many couples struggle with sharing? At first it was a tug-of-war but then I realized how strong she was. I feel blessed to have someone so strong in my life.
Lynda: We both grew up with a strong religious foundation which has helped us build our moral foundation. We believe our union was blessed from the start and that good KARMA has continued to bless us each and every day. We have been through a lot. Betty has buried her father and grandmother and just found out last night about another death in the family. I have buried my grandmother, brother and father. We have taken care of my mother with Alzheimer’s for the last ten years physically and assisted financially for five years prior to that. My honey has opened three restaurants and has gone through four career changes. I have gone through a few career changes myself. We purchased our first homes together. We’ve raised a few of my nieces and nephews. We’ve employed and helped a lot of people along the way and despite all the ups and downs we have still survived!
You have been through a lot as a couple? Many couples are not able to survive some of your challenges. What’s your secret? Lynda: I listen to the girls on Facebook saying that “I wouldn’t tolerate this or that”, “I won’t take that” and “I won’t do this or that”. I believe that to survive you do whatever it takes. For me, whatever it takes for us to be happy, I will do.
How did you support each other during the career changes? Betty: My “hersband” is a motivator and she motivated me to go back to college and convinced me to get my degree. We motivate each other. You have to motivate each other to have a partnership. You have to believe that you are in it together and whatever benefits one, benefits both of you.
What role has sensuality played in your relationship? Betty: After all of these years we still make love because we are still in love with each other. We still look for new tools and ways to keep it exciting. Sometimes when the other is not in the mood, that’s when love and patience comes into play. We are in it; we are in this thing for a lifetime. Lynda: We are still open-minded and eager to please. We are still curious. As we age, our bodies’ and appetites have change but not our willingness to explore, adventure and experiment. We continue to be creative.
What advice would you give other couples? Betty: Be patient with each other. Love each other not only during the good times but the hard times too. When you don’t see eye to eye, give in even when you’re right and especially when you’re wrong. Lynda: Never enter a relationship saying what you won’t do. Try to do what you can. You don’t always have to be right. Sometimes you have to lose to win. And most importantly, choose your battles wisely. Happy wife, happy life!
What has your relationship taught you most about yourself? Betty: That I’m not perfect. I am nowhere near perfect. I need to accept constructive criticism to be able to grow! I need my wife in my world and I love to be needed. Lynda: It’s not my wife’s responsibility to make me happy; that’s my job. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that I have to work harder at being patient because it no longer comes naturally. I have acquired at temper over the years which I also must learn to control. I have become less tolerant of bullshit these days and I want to learn to age gracefully. And when all else fails, I’ve learn to just be still and you’ll see everything will be okay!
What do you most admire about her? Betty: I admire her ability to let go. She has helped me and taught me how to let things go. All of my life I had a problem with that. I also admire her ability to express herself. I have learned that it is ok to say what you mean because most of my life I hid things. She lets me know it is ok to say what I feel. Lynda: I admire her determination. She is going to finish whatever she starts. If you are not with her, just get out of her way.
If you could thank her for one thing, what would that be? Betty: I would thank her for being in my life and for staying with me. Lynda: I would thank for loving me the way she does; she loves me unconditionally. I would thank her for accepting my terms. For example, she knew that I would be responsible for taking care of my mother. She accepted that and also helped me take care of my grandmother. I am grateful for that.
What one word describes/characterizes your relationship? Both: Blossoming. As we get older, we are changing with each other. We have changed how we feel, touch and communicate with each other and we continue to grow. We love it!
(Interviewed by SharRon Jamison)
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Imani Evans and SharRon Jamison