Different types of relationships have different needs. For this reason, gay and lesbian relationships have some different challenges to those experienced by straight relationships.
Any intimate relationship can be impacted by conflict, arguments and acting-out. However, when same-sex couples seek couples counselling, they are often concerned about whether the counsellor will understand them.
Same sex couples may seek counselling for the same reasons as heterosexual couples, for instance, to deal with infidelity, intimacy concerns, or difficulties with parents or children.
However, in addition to these universal ‘couples issues’ there can be many that are specific to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people, including:
family and friends’ support,
being a couple together on the gay scene,
managing others’ expectations,
alternative forms of relationship and lifestyle including parenting,
and sometimes legal and health issues.
Gay Couples Therapy and the challenges of open relationships
Though not exclusive to same sex couples, the potential issues or difficulties around ‘Open Relationships’(monogamist [e.g. couples that swing] or polyamorous) such as jealousy, insecurity, sexual health concerns, to name a few, can really challenge the stability of many gay relationships.
Are you in or out?
Problems can arise when one partner is not out. Anxiety, fear and worry become overwhelming, and the bond between partner could be heavily damaged as a result of the pressures.
If one partner is not out to their family, friends or workmates, the other one can often feel dismissed, insecure or unworthy of love, while the one who is in the closet often experiences an enormous amount of pressure (as there many important areas of life this partner cannot talk about to his family, friends etc.) and might not feel understood by his partner.
All relationships are unique
These are just a few of the many challenges that same sex couples might face. And of course, every couple has different experiences and their choices and outcomes will be unique to that relationship.
If you and your partner wish to talk some of your issues through with a couple counsellor, we can help!