6 Stages Every Gay Couple Should Reach in Their Relationship
You will obsess for days if they don't respond to your request to register as 'in a relationship'. For your own mental health, I advise you to switch. Change. Relationships go through stages; things will not stay the same, and, how we handle these transitions determines the future health of. Some gay men put up with a lot in their relationships. couples counseling if you need help in making the changes to create supportive, healthy relationships.
Early attraction often involves the physical attributes of the partner and include things like outward appearance, body type, interests and personality traits. Couples generally do not have much conflict at this stage of the cycle as each is really trying hard to impress the other person. For women especially there may also be a desire to figure out where the relationship is headed. Going slowly in making any decisions about a relationship are more likely to be better ones than moving quickly unless it is clear that the relationship is not a good fit.
Both halves of a couple will notice weaknesses and differences or flaws. Some of those perpetual issues or differences such as free-spending or frugal, neat and orderly or sloppy and disorganized, interested in lots of time together or more involved in outside activities begin to emerge.
At this stage of the relationship, couples will take note of the differences and may even begin to complain or attempt to problem-solve. As intimacy develops between the two people, more self-disclosure emerges, both verbally and nonverbally as couples act in ways that are more like how they are in their daily life.
This can be a very difficult time for couples, in that two men may both be socialized to be decision makers, bread winners, and "the dominant one" in the relationship. This can cause great difficulty negotiating decisions, coping with a partner who makes more money or has higher status, and learning to admit a need for and to rely on the support of the other. This last point is especially salient, as Gottman argues that becoming overly "worked up" during arguments is especially likely to undermine effective communication.
Nesting - Stage 2 - Years 2 and 3 The second stage is marked by "homemaking," or strengthening the commitment the couple has.
They find compatibility though acceptance of each other's personality differences and styles, strengths and weaknesses, and needs and goals. The loss of limerence or the "end of the honeymoon" is common during this time as well, but is paired with a more realistic view of the relationship and the partner. The "eye opening experience" this marks is not the experience of only gay couples, however.
Benjamin Franklin said, "Keep your eyes wide-open before marriage, half-shut afterwards. Thus, gay couples may accept some degree of negativity in a relationship, and be more reality based in their view of their partner. Kurdek offered that years two and three were often the most stressful on gay relationships, and many reported they felt less family support for their relationship when compared to straight couples. They may be denied the "wisdom" many mothers pass to their daughters and many fathers pass to their sons about successful marriages, as well as support for rituals, building and home and life together, and personal growth through this time.
Maintaining - Stage 3 - Years 4 and 5 The third stage is when the couple balances their own individual identities against the couples' traditions and rituals. This can be a difficult time, as each may return to making friends outside the relationship, may begin new hobbies or interests, and may want to renegotiate previously set relationship rules.
Waite and Gallagher argue that the religious, social, financial, and familial structure around straight marriages is what prevents them from dissolving so easily during a similar stage. During this time, the stress of parenting, the demands of career, and the need for time alone seem very strong, and if unbalanced, these needs can lead the partners to develop a sense of emotional isolation from each other.
Gottman discusses his idea of Positive Sentiment Override PSO which basically means that when couples are happy, they tend to ignore the small difficulties and focus instead on the positive experiences and aspects of the relationship, sometimes in a ratio of noting 20 positive experiences for every 1 negative experience. Kurdek found similar results in that, on the one hand, when gay men were happy in their relationships, they consistently related the benefits of the relationship as high, the costs as low, and the temptation of other possible partners as weak.
On the other hand, when gay men were generally unhappy in their lives, they reported lower relationship satisfaction, higher cost, and a stronger temptation to find another partner, and this held even when there was no obvious stress in the relationship. Building - Stage 4 - Years 6 through 10 The fourth stage is marked by the settling of any left-over issues from Stage Three, and the couple is left with the sense that their connection is "dependable" and that they know each other very well.
Interestingly, Gottman in his research on straight couples see link has found that the beginning and ending of this stage is often the time when straight couples divorce.
If they do not resolve conflict at the beginning of their own Stage Four between five to seven yearsthey are prone to divorce to end their unhappiness, and seek satisfying relationships elsewhere. If they fail to rebuild their connection at the end of their own Stage Four 10 to 12 yearsthey are prone to end the marriage due to loss of intimacy and connection.
Some have noted that gay relationships are more likely to be non-monogamous, arguing that this marks gay marriages as being nothing like straight marriages that show "real commitment. One response would be to correct this erroneous notion. While women were half as likely as men to have affairs in the s, in the last 30 years they have "caught up" to men in terms of infidelity.
Thus, to discuss gay and straight couples, but focus exclusively on non-monogamy in gay couples, is blatantly misleading. A second response would be to return to what matters with regard to relationship satisfaction. Kurdek found that relationship satisfaction was more related to social support and similarity between partners with regard to emotional investment and expressiveness. This held true for gay, straight, and lesbian couples.
Monogamy, however, was not related to relationship satisfaction for gay men. Thus, even if monogamy was a key difference between gay and straight couples, it may not be one that gay couples place great weight on, and so may not matter.
How to Have a Gay or Lesbian Relationship - wikiHow
Other research has found that in regards to relationship satisfaction, the details of the gay couples' agreement about sex and fidelity may not matter, but the adherence to that agreement does Bryant and Demien, For those reading this with shock now, a similar argument for straight couples might go as follows.
The stage model also provides positive normalization for gay couples and could be helpful to couples of other sexual orientations and relationship styles as well. The anecdotal stories and case examples in the book also provide helpful supportive illustrations of points made and could be deemed inspirational and validating for couples.
Another relationship model I like that speaks more toward heterosexual relationships, though it has some relevance and applicability to gay relationships, is the Knapp Relational Stages Model.
Here is an article that describes the stages in this particular model.
Gay relationship psychology, changing attitudes: Stages of relationships
How does this model resonate with you? What are your thoughts about relationship development stage models? How can this help you navigate your relationship journey ahead?Gay Therapy Center: How To Keep Sex Exciting in Long Term LGBT Relationships