The Other Half

Over the last year, I have been engaged in a romantic relationship with Richard Spencer. He is my friend, my companion, my boyfriend, and my opposite in many ways. As we have grown to know each other, I have been at the mercy of Nina Kouprianova and her various attempts to reinstate control over Richard and their marriage after their separation. I have faced threats, harassment, and the creation of libelous websites. She has contacted my friends, employers, and even my hair salon in order to gain sympathy while making me feel cornered. These do not sound like the actions of a woman seeking to exit an abusive relationship.

I understand that through this process I was often faced with the decision to cease seeing Richard in an effort to regain what I once had in my usual life: job security, certainty of my safety, and better search results online. I have faced countless questions from people across the political spectrum who do not understand my relationship or my happiness with it, but to this day I am convinced that my relationship is an example of an ideal America — a crossroads of conflict and ideas that are overcome through friendship, care, and conversations aimed at understanding, not proving a point. I am living my own example, and everyone’s disgust reaffirms the need for friendships and relationships like my own.

As everyone has quickly noted, I self-describe as a liberal, though unlike some of the polarizing writers and personalities of today, I entertain different stances on varying issues, often making me difficult to place or put in a box. For many of Richard’s supporters, my agnosticism and egalitarianism are appalling positions. For those in my home camp, my relationship is evidence of either an absence of convictions or the enabling of white supremacy. To all sides, I would like to point out that aside from Richard’s stances on racial identity and immigration, the majority of his positions on social politics are decidedly liberal. We do not spend our days locked in combat or debate over his more controversial ideologies. And we clearly prefer it this way.

Like any couple does, we do have arguments, some of which are quite heated, but none of these exchanges have ever made me feel unsafe. Though we are two individuals filled with passion, and though our jagged edges sometimes create friction, our altercations are brief and have never remotely pointed in the direction of physical violence. He is a remarkably collected person with a limitless amount of concern for everyone in his life, especially his children, and we have kept most of our relationship private for the sake of them and consideration for Nina. It has never been our goal to cause her any pain beyond that already caused by the divorce proceedings, and I reiterate that my relationship did not begin until after their separation and decision to spend their lives apart.

Just two Cubs fans freezing at Wrigley.

I understand that this public statement comes with risk and nearly guaranteed decimation of my normal life, though because of the last year and Nina’s attacks on my professional and personal existence, that life is already on its deathbed. I understand that I am about to face hatred and condemnation the likes of which I have never experienced, but I publicize this statement because I believe we all deserve to define ourselves, to get beyond our votes, and to venture outside party lines. We keep talking about the “other half” of this nation as something in need of redemption, but the reality is we must first redeem ourselves.