[The author is a hypnotherapist registered with the Washington St. Dept. of Health. This article is based upon opinions and experiences of others as counseled by author.]
Unlike straight couples, sex is usually plentiful and wonderful with gay couples. So, unlike straight couples, sex is often not the problem with relationships.
The purpose of this article is to help you identify and look at ways to make your relationship better. It will do this by singling out problems and then sort out the roots so you can effectively solve the problem rather than make it worse.
The most common problem I have seen in relationships is jealousy. This is a feeling; it is very strong, very negative, and very unhelpful.
Jealousy has the unusual problem as it is often dealt with as a matter of mistrust by one partner of the other. But it is, instead, deeply rooted in the low self-esteem of the person feeling this emotion.
Now, being in the Tri-Cities, a small area in southeast Washington state, growing up Gay or Lesbian is often a war of self versus an untamed (and often brutal) environment. But others have grown up in areas that are freely accepting of Gay Culture, and so these people have far less emotional wars to battle.
A person who has jealousy is often faced with a deep fear. "How can this person love me?" Once the relationship begins to blossom, jealousy is often felt not because the partner has done anything, but because the person feeling this emotion is afraid that the other will leave. Unfortunately, the jealousy itself often destroys the relationship.
The person who feels jealousy needs to understand that it is just a feeling and this feeling is THEIR problem, not their partner's problem. Just like with feeling sad or angry, the best way to get over jealousy is to identify that you are feeling it, and tell your partner, "I am feeling 'jealousy.' Please ignore me while I go and deal with it." Then sit down and relax. Take a deep breath and focus on relaxing and letting the stress that the jealousy causes out of your system.
If, each time you feel jealousy, you take this mode of defense, the emotion will lose strength, and eventually (about two weeks), you will overcome it. Instead of reacting to the feeling at your partner, you will react to the feeling yourself, and let it go away.
We Never Talk Anymore
One of the most common problems for couples is time. Events in each of your lives eat away at the time you share, and often, communications break down.
If you are feeling that your relationship is not what it once was, take a look at how much time you were spending together versus how much time you are spending together. I will bet that you have let your independent lives eek away at your together time, and now are seeing each other almost in passing.
One of the biggest mistakes most couples make at one point or another is to think that they know what the other is needing, and so they do more and talk less. But we are not "adults" as much as we are "grown children." And as children, we need attention, love, and variety.
As adults, we seek variety to make life interesting. Sometimes the time spent in variety can all but eliminate the time spent together if you do not make time for each other.
I wish to add that telephones are not included in this equation. You need to feel, touch, and hug your supporting partner as they need to do this too. As children, it is this closeness and touching that is an important part of being human...and feeling wanted.
Please, schedule time together and do not stray into your separate lives during this time. You both need to see and be with each other as much as you need to be away from each other.
Partnering does not make two people into one person...it makes two people live in much closer space, with less privacy and more commitment, but in the end, you are still two people.
One of the most difficult problems that is often chemically based is mood swings. These are generally due to hormonal levels and can affect a person at the most inconvenient times.
The problem with mood swings is that they cannot be simply changed by working out a problem. Instead, life has to be molded around these times to deal with them when they happen.
The most important thing that can happen in a partnership is "responsibility of self." Just like with jealousy, if you are having a mood swing, you need to know that, when your partner tells you that you are having one, you need to trust and believe them, rather than react to them, and take the time to work out or through your emotions.
As long as you are doing the best you can for your relationships -- lover, friends, and family -- you will understand how important it is for others in your life to do the same for themselves as well.
Life is a human partnership. It functions better as long as everyone works together.
Well, actually, there are problems with sex, but often these are combined with other feelings. One of the most common is not being in the mood when your partner is.
Having sex when your partner wants it, just to fulfill his or her need is not exactly the best feeling you can achieve. Sometimes it even feels like being used.
As we are being "grown children," we need many things in our relationship. Sex is an adult need, not a child need, and so may actually be a substitute, temporary solution for the real problem, but the real solution still needs to be found.
Talk. Express your emotions, what you are feeling, and why. Your ability to share your feelings will get these emotions out of your system, which will heal you. Your partner is here to help you and protect you from the world just as you are to them.
This most simple and small word is also combined with the most complex and powerful emotion that the human body can create. This one emotion is a powerhouse in your body that can motivate you, can make you do things you know are a risk of your life, and give you inspiration that you have never had in any other way. But it is learned.
If either or both of you had a rotten childhood, before you do anything else, you need to think through your life and find someone, anyone, whom you have felt the most love for, and felt love from. It may have been a parent or family member, teacher, a friend, or even a neighbor. This person is your love anchor.
From this point in life, to the present, you can always just think about this love anchor person and fill your heart with love. Your memory of this special person is helpful if you do not have much love for yourself; there must have been some reason for this special person to be in your life. To this day, you can draw upon your ability to love them, so you can spread these emotions and fill your own life.
Love should not be the only focus of your relationship. You actually have many needs, including privacy, companionship, nurturing, support, and, oh yeah, sex. You should build your relation on all of these tiers, so that if one breaks down, you still have a foundation to build upon that will support the relationship.
There is an excellent book by Jerry Jampolsky called, "Love is living without fear." I am a firm believer in this concept. The more you learn to give your love freely, and do not place as much importance upon it being returned, you are more able to learn to love.
Love is like a muscle. It needs to be exercised, and it strengthens with use.
Don't be afraid to be loving to others. If they do not appreciate it, there is a whole world of people left to meet. Loving makes you a better person, too.
Mind Games or Head Games
With all of the world going crazy into chaos around us, our relationship is our little oasis of sanity in an insane world. To support your partner to the maximum levels, know that you need to talk and listen.
The only way to win at mind games is to not play. If someone is trying to manipulate you, be very firm and tell them that if they want something from you, to ask you nicely, but if they want to manipulate you, you are not going to listen to them, and if you must, you will break off relations with them.
It is important that you do not participate in mind games. These are the most emotionally crippling forms of relationship destroying behaviors, and must be eliminated.
Keeping Your Relationship
In the end, it will be just you and your partner throughout life. You deserve the very best, so be the best you can for each other.