Are you wondering how best to keep the connection between you and your spouse alive? Are you looking to improve communication and feel heard in your relationship? Or even committed to making your relationship last until you grow old together?
Well, just like straight couples, gay couples experience challenges in their relationships as well.
So, what happens if you have growing concerns about your relationship and feel you’re growing apart? Perhaps it’s time to seek help from a gay or lesbian relationship counselor.
We know it can be challenging, especially if it’s your first time going to counseling. Worry not. This article will be your ultimate guide to finding couples therapists (see lesbian couple therapy post).
Can Gay Couples Counselors Help Rebuild A Relationship Foundation?
Gay relationships, just like heterosexual relationships, have relationship issues that require the intervention of a therapist. Rebuilding a relationship is not easy, especially if there is a severe breach of trust. In such a case, a gay relationship counselor who understands your sexual orientation struggles is needed.
Here is a list of things gay therapy will do for your same-sex relationship:
- Provide the encouragement needed to come out of the gender identity process more assertive and more confident.
- It helps lesbians and gay men define their expectations in the relationship. (Things such as parenting, sexual satisfaction, and fidelity).
- It equips clients with knowledge on how to navigate through discrimination, intimidation, and harassment.
- Recommend qualified medical practitioners in case a partner has a condition.
- It helps couples manage emotions and rekindle their love, passion, and romance life.
- Guide you on ways to improve communication and deal with different emotions.
What Causes Conflicts Between Many Gay Couples?
Lack Of Trust
One of the fundamental aspects of a healthy relationship is trust. When trust is gone, one partner disconnects from the other, and intimacy dies. What causes a lack of trust between partners? It could happen when one partner commits to someone else without setting clear boundaries.
Also, the desire to have an open relationship without notifying the other party may mean a lack of trust. In such a situation, the aggrieved partner may feel stuck and uncertain about the future.
When a same-sex couple starts experiencing problems and fails to resolve them, a great rift appears in their relationship.
For example, couples navigating through open relationships for the first time find themselves in unfamiliar territory.
Mostly, partners withhold their feelings due to vulnerability, shame, or guilt. As a result, issues that could have been solved amicably through communication become complex and cause more damage. According to therapists, healthy communication and comfortably talking to your husband/wife is a perfect recipe for a successful relationship.
Same-sex couples have a unique problem uncommon to their straight couple counterparts, stage discrepancies. To fully commit to a same-sex relationship, each party should first undergo a complete personal identity growth.
Personal identity growth prepares LGBTQ people to attain sexual identity and feel secure in their sexual orientation. Conflict sets in when LGBTQ people enter into a gay or lesbian relationship before completing the identity growth.
What’s unique about same-sex relationships is their belief in task-sharing. Traditionally, dominance and power represent masculinity. On the other hand, feminine stands for submission and dependence.
When a gay couple disagrees, who assumes which role may result in conflict and misunderstanding. Similarly, when one partner takes the masculine role, another person may struggle with fully expressing their sexuality due to socially acceptable gender roles.
Dating, Relationship And Marriage Counseling For Same-Sex Couples And LGBTQ Community
Some gay men and lesbians realize they are attracted to the same gender at a very young age. They fantasize about making their sexual preference known and try to find the best moment to come out. Most shy away from expressing their sexuality due to society’s perception that heterosexual relationships are the right coupling.
Most of these gay and lesbian youths grow up believing that same-sex relationship is a sin until later in life. Others have been attracted to the opposite sex all their lives, but a single encounter with gay men or lesbians redefines their sexual preference.
Regardless of your coming-out point, a majority of same-sex couples and the LGBTQ community face similar challenges.
How Is Dating For Same-Sex Couples And The LGBTQ Community?
The dating life for gay and lesbians is usually not easy, especially if they have had a prior traumatizing experience. Fear of rejection and discrimination has over the years controlled many couples from having a normal dating phase.
Luckily, dating sites have made it easier for people to find partners. According to a study, 55% of gay and lesbian couples have used online dating sites. Although this is an outstanding achievement, people have become more vulnerable to finding undeserving partners.
Dating Tips for Gay and Lesbian Couples:
- If you are dating for the first time, seek help from a gay couple therapist– Learn how to deal with anxiety.
- Date someone; you are in the same identity stage- Both of you should be emotionally ready.
- When looking for a long-term relationship, choose a partner in social gatherings. Avoid online dating sites.
- Be open about your expectations, likes, and dislikes.
- Take time to get to know each other- Do not rush into moving in together.
Marriage And Relationship Counseling
Marriage is not only about sex and intimacy. It is a lifetime commitment that requires emotional and financial decisions. Like straight couples, same-sex and LGBTQ couples should never decide to get married on a whim. and should seek guidance in the form of LGBTQ premarital counsel (see also ‘How to Save My Lesbian Marriage‘ post).
Before making the bold decision, ask yourself if you are ready to start and commit to a long-lasting relationship. Also, discuss if you and your partner want to have children. What if your partner wants to have children, but you are not ready for a family?
Have you considered surrogacy, adoption, or insemination(for lesbians)? Do you know what the law states and the implications of each process? Do thorough research on all options and choose the best.
Solving marriage issues with respect and honesty is achievable with the help of gay marriage counseling and an ideal counselor.
How Do You Choose The Right Counselor?
First and foremost, look for a well-trained counselor in LGBTQ matters and with an emphasis on the Gottman method theory. LGBTQ counseling requires an in-depth analysis of the causes of conflicts, personal behavior patterns and develops a tailored solution. So, expertise in the field you need help in is ideal.
Secondly, do not overlook the therapist’s experience. Imagine talking to a counselor who has served gay couples with similar problems as yours before. It can be fulfilling to know you are in safe hands. Right? So ask questions and, if possible, request testimonials to back the experience claim.
Thirdly, seek the services of a counselor you are comfortable talking to at any time. Rebuilding a relationship is a matter of opening up about sensitive and personal issues. So, choose someone who will guide and listen, not judge and condemn.
These are some questions you should ask during your first session.
- How long have you been practicing? What is your experience so far?
- Have you published any articles related to your field?
- Do you undergo training programs regularly?
- What treatment options do you provide? Which do you recommend?
- Are you a licensed and certified Gottman therapist?
- What is your experience with gay and LGBT couples?
- Do you take insurance covers? Which other payment methods can I use?
- How much do you charge per session? Do you offer online services?
The Bottom Line
Love is a beautiful feeling, and every person deserves to be loved and appreciated despite their sexual orientation. Keeping that love alive should be every couple’s goal and aspiration in life. But, self-love and care should come first.
Going through sexual awakening is not an easy process. So many gay men and lesbians have experienced personal struggles, but they never gave up. Their persistence has yielded fruits as the population is slowly changing its perception of gay and lesbian couples.
Today, finding a gay relationship counselor has become easy thanks to technology. Online gay therapy has become the order of the day among same-sex couples. So, do not be left behind; talk to a therapist today and rediscover your worth.
Sex orientation should never prevent a person from achieving what they want in life (see life coaching for gays). Step up today and be among proud gay couples living a happy and fulfilled life.