Through the years many people have expressed that it seemed like my marriage to GK was more real than I seemed willing to admit, that we 'belong together' and that the possums are our kids. I can see why they would think that, but I would like to offer a detailed explanation of my own stance.

I married only for the right to stay in Australia, which is not to say that GK and I did not have a real or important relationship.

For me, the wedding itself was brutally awful. The reason for that was that I really did not want to do it. I made an effort to find a dramatic and symbolic way to express parts of what I still hoped to find in a relationship some day. I was making a statement through my appearance - although one perhaps only GK and I were consciously aware of, since I had agreed to be silent about myself in meeting his friends and family. A few members of his family had been somewhat briefed on my background, but most people there had not, and this led to some very uncomfortable moments during the wedding/reception.

There was no dancing at my wedding.

The decision changed my life and made possible a lot that would not have been possible otherwise, and I can't regret the decision. I was trying out an alternative therapy. My friendship with GK is real and enduring, but we are not right for each other in a romantic sense and for several years we have had a platonic relationship only. In many ways, the situation is that I am in a charitable asylum run by GK. I do not like this state of affairs, and he himself would like the chance for a new relationship, but neither of us seem able to rush our personal development.

It is not about refusing to work on a relationship when there are rough parts, it is about not having a real enough foundation upon which to work - for an ongoing romantic partnership.

GK wants to live in the suburbs and have a long-term partner, but even with possums here, I do not want to be here. However, while here I have tried to be as positive as possible - which is partly what the Possum TV website is about. I decided I could no longer keep trying to focus on possums, and GK took over the site in September 2008.

GK and I do not agree on certain fundamental principles or values, and while we do have other values in common, eventually the fundamental differences pulled us apart in a romantic sense.

I can't speak for GK, but my estimation is that our relationship is about supporting each other such that each of us can develop in areas that will eventually result in us transitioning to different relationships and/or paths, directions. We are both underdeveloped in certain areas.

People can have alternative relationships that don't fit a recognized mold but that can be extremely significant.

During the time I have known GK, I have had three other relationships that I consider extremely significant, that do not fit into any mold that society recognizes except perhaps 'friend', or 'lover' but IMO that would not tell the whole story. In all cases, I have been looking for my own 'primary' relationship. Through my entire relationship with GK, I have considered myself to be open to having contact with a new person whose values and wishes in life corresponded with my own.

I suppose that all of this could come across as a kind of rabid denial, but for me the issue is that I never want to have to pretend certain things ever again. When I was with my other long-term partner, I think everyone in my family got strange and misleading ideas of who I was as a person, which eventually was part of what left me too reluctant to socialize with everyone. In the years since I have moved away, I have not avoided contact out of anger, but out of the feeling that who I am as a person is just too much for people to have to deal with. I suppose the thoughts expressed here are a good example of that sort of thing. I do not want to inflict it on everyone, but at the same time, I can't go back to being silent about things that are important to me. I want people to know who I am as a person, and either accept it or not, ask questions if they are curious, or let it drop if it is too much for them - but I want to at least offer them the possibility of knowing who I am.

I don't want to participate in perpetuating the idea that I am OK because a boy is looking after me. I can understand that it's best not to inflict my problems on others or make them worry unnecessarily, but I can't keep the peace by allowing others to have the idea that I wouldn't change the situation if I could. My patterns, which started with me having difficulty leaving the house from age 16-23, are extremely difficult to break, and do not mean that I accept my situation, or that I am not trying to change it.

From 16-23 I made a few significant attempts to leave home permanently, but for the vast majority of that time, I did not go outside, and my attempts failed before too long. My patterns became very entrenched and difficult to break.

This pattern continued in my two long-term relationships. When I was with my previous ex, I had no realistic resources for leaving. It is different with GK now, but it was not in the beginning, or for many years. It is still extremely difficult to leave due to my longstanding patterns. I do keep making efforts to leave, and it is necessary for me to at least attempt to help others to understand where I stand. I do not have a job or any friends other than GK. I have no support systems, and there is still the issue of my longstanding patterns, and so leaving is not as simple for me as it might be for others. I do not assume that such things are easy for anyone.

So: I am still trying to work up to permanent independence.

OK, now that I have said all that, I also feel it's necessary to explain my stance regarding 'conventional' or socially acceptable relationships, since I realize that my perspectives regarding my own relationships and approaches to relationships might seem to suggest that I look down on marriage or commitment.

I think that every relationship is something individual, and that the significance and meaning of each relationship depends on the individuals involved, their life experiences and what they believe in and what is important to them. I think that more people should feel they have the option not to marry or have kids, but that doesn't mean I think that it is right or good for all people to avoid those choices. Different options for different individuals.

I also think it would be a positive thing for more people to question patriarchal society and traditional relationship models. I often wonder if I can pull off a feminist attitude when for most of my life I have been supported by men or have seemed to just accept that I am too weak to look after myself, but I consider myself a feminist. I continue to work towards independence.

When people get married, they are making a statement in front of family and friends, and to their communities and society that they choose each other and are committed to this one special relationship. Not everyone has the same kind of marriage, and many marriages may be very non-traditional. The main issue is that the people involved are making a commitment to each other that is significant enough that they want to make it in a way that links that commitment to the world, society around them - not shutting out the world, but committing to the idea of working within it and its laws, with a person who shares their most important values. Only people who have truly made that commitment can know what it means to them, and perhaps have some idea of what it means to others who have undertaken it.

I did not ever make such a commitment, and do not believe I have had in my life the kind of relationship in which it was right for me to make a comparable alternative commitment that had personal significance or meaning.

Once kids are in the picture, I think every effort to support their development is absolutely essential. The focus should definitely be in trying to help them to achieve their potential, but more importantly to find ways to live fulfilling lives. I am awkward with the idea of it, and reluctant to get involved with the lives of children partly because I don't think I could contribute something positive to their development, partly because I am not content or fulfilled in my life. Children need to be prepared for the diversity in life, good and bad, but it may be a good idea to avoid particularly confusing or contradictory messages too soon.

I do not believe that everybody should be the same, I do not think that would at all be desirable.

I am not trying to shove my life (I do not believe anyone has ever done this to me, either), my 'kids' (possums) in everyone's face, or trying to say I deserve more attention than everyone else by having a website: I am trying to find an alternative kind of therapy because I haven't been functional enough to attend regular types of therapy, or to find those most suitable for me. I honestly wanted help and was open to giving therapists whatever info necessary such that they could help me to help myself. But in practice, I could not develop sufficient trust with anyone I had contact with, and in each individual case my assessment was that the therapy would not be complex enough to have a realistic chance of 'working' in my case. When I have made attempts in the past to seek therapy, I have discovered that what is offered or available doesn't give me the hope that I can be helped - the impression it gives me is that it is an activity to perform in exchange for money (disability). In relationships in which I was supported financially, I found that I at least didn't have to pretend, I didn't have to tell people what they wanted to hear (yes! I really want to get better and become a productive member of society!) - I could be myself.

I avoided contact with family since coming to Australia partly because I did not want to start talking about my travel, marriage or possums, or things like that just to try to make myself and my experience seem more legitimate. When a couple of family members emailed me a few times, I deliberately avoided mentioning anything along those lines. My marriage was not real, I was not enjoying my existence, and it seemed wrong to try to give misleading impressions by listing the occurrences in my life since I left. But it's difficult to avoid the pressure of the structure of conversation, the long ago pattern that was established.

There is no predefined category I fit. I am not exactly a textbook case of mental illness. I have managed to live for many years outside the mental health professions' grasp, and do some things that unmedicated and untherapied individuals such as myself might not normally do.

But am I just a regular person trying to avoid seeing that I am a regular person, and just choosing to be lazy or not take responsibility and join society?

Am I just a chick who married for money because I didn't want to work?

Maybe all people who have been put in these types of categories are not as easily defined or dismissed as most people would like to think.

In my case, I have serious difficulties with functioning and with enjoying life. I don't want the things that other people want out of life. I am not normal. I have sought my own alternative treatment.

Throughout history, long before present day antidepressants and the like, there have always been melancholics, alcoholics and people who didn't fit in for various reasons. Often these people were either pushed out of society or of their own accord took to the fringes of society. Sometimes fringe societies come together with mutual interests or experiences and members of such societies can find help with each other. Sometimes weaker members of mainstream society just metaphorically go off into the woods to die, so as not to be a drain on the resources of the tribe. Some of the outcasts comment on society at large and areas in which there is room for improvement. Some are even respected as 'wise' hermits.

Others, like myself, just do not really fit any role. I am sort of cursed to see what's interesting in everybody's life (including my own) while not being able to enjoy my own, or find satisfying practical outlets for my insights or creativity. I am proud of all of the members of my family and the lives they have created for themselves. However, it can be difficult to be considered the defective one of the lot while I am still aware, perceiving, thinking.

How can I be introduced in any situation? How can any person describe what 'I' am if they're in a situation which requires them to speak of me?

It is easier if I am part of a couple. I then have a kind of instant social validity. Xesce is with GK, who is a contributing member of society (and an extremely intelligent and nice guy!)

I would rather make a conscious choice to shun all such validity and try to assert my own individuality. If all I express is considered irrelevant to everyone except myself, so be it. If I am dismissed as out of touch with reality rather than as a unique individual who does not fit any current recognizable role, so be it.

If people need to categorize my relationship with GK, ie, we 'belong together', it saddens and frustrates me, although I can understand why it might be natural for them to do so. But it feels like yet another cage. I would like to have a new relationship, while remaining friends with GK. I don't believe that because of my situation I don't deserve to have a new relationship. I have been open with GK from the start about who I am as a person, and about what I want in life and in love. I can understand that others may not understand how serious I am about all of this until I manage to leave permanently, but for me the current state of affairs does not negate all I have expressed. It is slow going, but I have continued to take steps through the years to outwardly express the internal assessments and aims.

As for the possums being our kids, that's a valid observation. However, there is not the same kind of responsibility, commitment and involvement required. Possum populations near GK's place have redistributed themselves frequently, so we have not always had contact with the same possums. Possums are independent enough that they can survive when human contact stops. They are ideal pets for me, since I can have contact with them while I live in the suburbs, but will not have to worry that my absence will have detrimental effects when I leave.