“Are there any other married lesbians out there?”
In January 2004, Lora Ceperley put that message on a fan site for “The L Word,” a lesbian-oriented TV series. She was 41, married with two children, living in Kansas City and wrestling with the realization that she was gay.
Dana Buckner, 40, answered her. Dana, who had recently come out as a lesbian, lived in Seattle and was married with one child.
The two women emailed for four months, then began talking on the phone. During this time, Dana and her husband separated on friendly terms, continuing to share a house. Lora struggled to maintain her marriage.
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As their communications continued, Dana and Lora realized their friendship was deepening and they were in love. In August, Dana flew to Kansas City for a business meeting and they finally met in person.
Dana: “I felt so comfortable with Lora. We’d been speaking for eight months and we knew everything about each other.”
Lora: “We never ran out of things to talk about. I knew Dana was the right person.”
The unfolding: After returning to Seattle, both Dana and her ex-husband decided to relocate to Lee’s Summit. Even before Dana moved to the Kansas City area in August 2005, Lora’s husband learned about their relationship. He served Lora with divorce papers.
Dana and Lora lived apart but spent much time together, along with their children, who grew to know and like each other. Eventually both women got divorced. In June 2010, Dana proposed. She and Lora were married that October in Des Moines. In July 2011, they finally began living together.
Favorite shared activities: They love to play Buzztime trivia at Buffalo Wild Wings in Lee’s Summit, go to movies, and cook together. They enjoy serving on the board of LikeMe Lighthouse, Kansas City’s LGBT community center.
Careers and family: Lora works for Quintiles, managing clinical trials. Dana works for the Department of Housing and Urban Development as director of community planning and development. They live in Lee’s Summit; two of their three children live at home.
What keeps their relationship strong: Their friendship remains powerful and they keep their communication going, making sure they have time to connect.
The qualities they most appreciate in each other:
Lora: “Dana is very levelheaded. She’s a beautiful soul and always there for me. Plus, she challenges me.”
Dana: “Lora has a heart of gold. She’s smart, and we connect on an intellectual level that is invigorating.”
Deborah Shouse is a freelance writer. Suggest a Love Story couple by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.