Because marriage is an ever-evolving experience, we constantly shift, change and, in some cases, start over. In It’s No Secret, couples share thoughts about commitment and tell us what they have learned, revealing their secret to making it work. (Answers are edited for context and space.)
Who Daisy Eagan, 42, and Kurt Bloom, 53
Occupations Ms. Eagan is an actor; Mr. Bloom is the operations manager at Guitar Center, a musical instruments retailer, in Monetary Park, Calf.
Married One year, 6 months and counting.
Through the Years
The couple live in Los Angeles with their son Monty, 8. They were married May 6, 2020, in Anaheim, Calf., at a Honda car center, where a makeshift marriage station had been set up. “It was Covid, everything was shut down,” Ms. Eagan said. “We walked to a kiosk and this clerk of the court married us. My sister was our witness. It was very bare bones. The Cheesecake Factory was our wedding meal, which we got to go because only their drive-through was open.”
A Zoom celebration followed on May 24 with 30 friends and family who watched remotely. “We exchanged vows we had written,” she said. “That was very special.”
Ms. Eagan met Mr. Bloom in 2008, while both were studying writing at Antioch University in Los Angeles. She was 29 and he was 40. “I did a reading of his play for his final,” Ms. Eagan said. “We were outside smoking and he complimented my acting. Then he walked away. He was giving me validation, which I needed, and he was funny.” Mr. Bloom was unaware Ms. Eagan had won a Tony in 1991 for best performance by a featured actress in a musical for “The Secret Garden.”
Soon after, they found themselves in several of the same classes. This led to study dates, which led to a relationship. In 2010, they moved in together; two years later they broke up. “We were very unhappy,” Ms. Eagan said. “All we did was smoke cigarettes, drink and watch TV.”
A few weeks later she found out she was 10 and a half weeks pregnant. “I was staying in a hotel and we met to talk about what to do,” she said. “Kurt said, ‘I want to have this baby with you.’ That was the moment I realized I wanted to as well.”
They got back together. Monty was born in May 2013. Things did not improve. “We thought a baby would fix us. It didn’t,” she said. “We were scared and not ready to work on us. In 2015 they called it quits again. In 2017, Ms. Eagan went on tour for over a year with both “The Secret Garden” and “The Humans.” Mr. Bloom took Monty to Seattle so he could care for his terminally ill father.
When Ms. Eagan returned from touring and relocated to Brooklyn, Monty came with her. So did Mr. Bloom. “Because we couldn’t afford separate places, Kurt moved in with us.” she said. “He lived in Monty’s room. They had bunk beds, I had my own room. We were co-parenting and roommates. It was awkward, but it also felt normal.”
They got back together in December 2018 when Ms. Eagan returned from touring. “Once we were physical, feelings and emotions came back — I realized I loved this person,” she said. By July 2019, the threesome returned to Los Angeles; Monty had his own room, the couple had theirs. After Covid hit, Mr. Bloom was furloughed and lost his health insurance. Ms. Eagan had hers thanks to SAG-AFTRA. She proposed in April 2020 while the couple were having dinner in their apartment.
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What They’ve Learned
Ms. Eagan We have a traditional untraditional marriage. I’m in a straight relationship to the outside world, but because I came out in my late 30s as queer, I didn’t get a chance to explore that as much as I would have liked. I identify as she/they and we have an open relationship. I don’t know if I would act on it, but knowing the door is unlocked is a comfort. It helps me in my queer identity. I might like Kurt to have a companion. That doesn’t worry me. There’s a level of respect and acceptance that comes with understanding your partner’s sexuality.
Being married does feel more permanent. Love is a commitment and a decision you make everyday. It’s an agreement to work as hard as you can together. Marriage means I’m there for Kurt in a supportive, financial, emotional, parenting, friendship and companionship way. And he’s there for me. We are equal partners, which seems rare. I hope to have that for the rest of our lives.
I love him very much. He’s the person I want to be with. He’s supportive, funny and smart. He’s a wonderful parent and partner. He makes me laugh in a way no one else does. He’s the constant, the calm in the storm. I respect him. I love watching him parent. He kisses me goodbye every morning and I think about him all day. He comes home from work and I’m excited to see him. He’s my favorite person.
I’ve learned I spent a lot of my life settling. I didn’t know who I was for a long time. Part of the evolution of this relationship is that I’ve come to understand who I am. Kurt loves me completely, not a future version or a theoretical one, but me. I never feel I have to compromise any of myself to make him happy or comfortable. That’s a gift. He’s taught me to love and respect myself in a way I haven’t before.
Kurt got sober seven years ago for Monty. But that’s a product of me having boundaries. He’s learned to tap into an emotional place that he was covering up. Now he’s a connected, reactive, responsible partner. It’s allowed me to feel I have a present partner.
There was a time when I couldn’t see the positive in him. All I saw were things I decided were flaws. From the beginning of our relationship we were two separate people living together. I didn’t know him or myself. I’ve learned to appreciate him, and what we have created. Life is hard but it’s easier to live in because we have created our own little universe.
Mr. Bloom I identify as he/him. I’m comfortable with Daisy identifying however she’s comfortable. Her identity has evolved as she’s evolved. As someone who loves someone you learn to listen, accept, understand and evolve with them.
We don’t have a traditional view of marriage; we just have marriage. Having a successful, open relationship means our communication has to be open and honest all the time. Having that, I don’t mind Daisy being with someone else. I don’t feel abandoned or left alone because she still wants to be with me, and how lucky is that? I’ve been lucky since the day I met her. I have a son with her and co-parent with her, and no one else has that, with her.
In this marriage, I’ve learned we are family. I’m an integral part of a team of three. We rely on each other for laughter, food and entertainment. We spent a year and a half of plague together, which we survived intact, stronger and more in love with each other than we were before.
It took me a long time to get here. I was always told where my place was; here I found my role in this family, in my partnership and as a parent. There’s a sense of relief, of not being judged or ridiculed. I’m appreciated, loved and heard. I feel seen. I give that to Daisy. She lets herself be seen and I see her. That’s why this works.
I bring practicality and pragmatism. I bring safety and the ability for people to express themselves. I’ve taught Daisy that she doesn’t have to do everything, to let me help, and to be open to that help while assuring her she doesn’t have to carry everything.
When I got sober, I got on a path to recovering who I was. Growing up, I wasn’t given the tools to get what I wanted and needed. I’m accumulating more tools now. I’ve learned how to communicate, to be patient and more sensitive. To be present minded. I’ve learned to be less hard on myself. There is room for mistakes; I’ve learned to learn from them.
The way we designed our marriage would not work for many people, but I can’t imagine anything more wonderful than what we have. It seems simple in words but this takes practice. I wouldn’t change a thing.