How do LGBT couples maintain a happy relationship?

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Gay male couple at the beach

Good relationships require work every day

Researchers have spoken and they confirm the fact that gay relationships can be happier than hetero coupling. This may come as a surprise to you. Social stereotypes often portray gay relationships as fickle, dysfunctional and even unhappy.

Needless to say, building a stable relationship requires some work. It doesn’t matter what your sexual orientation is. Trust, communication and compromise will always be required to have a harmonious relationship with a special someone.

If you’re struggling a bit and you don’t know how to boost happiness in your relationship, the following guide will give you some practical tips. Don’t hesitate to address whatever isn’t working right now. The sooner you do it, the stronger your relationship will grow.

Healthy boundaries come first

Boundaries are universally important, whether you’re in a gay or a straight relationship.

Both of you should be on the same page as far as what’s permissible and what isn’t. Having a discussion about boundaries doesn’t limit self-expression and opportunities for happiness and spontaneity. On the contrary—boundaries create a healthy framework within which you can explore each other safely.

Many people think that boundaries pertain solely to sex but this isn’t the case.

Other important issues you’ll need to talk about include lifestyle, monogamy, problem solving and even finances. Chances are that you have different views on these important topics and you’ll have to work together to reach a mutually-beneficial solution.

Learn how to conquer the hard moments

Are you one of the people eager to get out when the going gets tough? If so, you could be missing on an opportunity to have something stable and exciting in your life. It’s essential to learn how to deal with the difficult moments.

If you find a way to make that happen, you’ll be rewarded in the end. Studies suggest that older gay adults who are married tend to be healthier and happier than singles.

Understand the fact that a happy gay relationship is not a conflict-free relationship. On the contrary, conflict gives you a chance to learn something new and to address situations in a constructive way. If you manage to do so, you’ll emerge much stronger on the other side.

Conflict resolution and handling difficulties is all about communication. And communication itself is about speaking and about active listening. Learning to put yourself in the other person’s shoes will reveal a side of the story you could have completely ignored before. So, try to keep an open mind and be patient. Don’t make emotional or angry decisions. Giving yourself some time to process and come up with a rational resolution will typically result in an issue that’s fairly easy to overcome.

Work on making your sex life better

Unless you’re asexual, passion and amazing sex will play a role in keeping your relationship strong. For many gay couples, it’s the glue that holds two people together.

Sex is often naturally great in the beginning of the relationship. As time goes by, however, the passion and novelty will subside. Unless you’re willing to undertake a proactive approach, sex can even get boring in a few years. If you’re committed to happiness, do focus on maintaining some amazing sex life.

Once again, this is dependent on good communication and getting to know each other well.

A willingness to try out new things and share fantasies will also contribute to higher levels of satisfaction. Don’t be afraid of bringing up the subject of using sex toys like a double dildo or playing out a fantasy. Chances are that your partner will be pretty receptive of such an idea.

Learn to respect and value your differences

Have you entered a relationship with the ambition to eventually change your partner and turn them into a “better” person? If so, you’re in for a major failure.

It’s not your job to transform someone and if that’s your mission, chances are that the relationship will fail sooner or later. Instead of trying to do a makeover, focus on respecting your differences. Your version of a better person isn’t necessarily the right one. You aren’t meant to be changing others. If you cannot accept your partner for who they are, chances are that you’re not a good pairing.

Differences are the salt of the earth and they make relationships exciting. Learning to value your partner’s uniqueness can actually make your relationship much more diversified and stable. There’s a reason why the saying opposites attract exists. As clichéd as it is, this saying does hold some validity.

Find a strong and supportive community

LGBTQ couples can often feel left out and socially-isolated. This social vacuum can be problematic, creating additional relationship challenges that straight people don’t have to face. Having a loving and supportive extended family is obviously great but if you don’t, you’ll need to do something about it.

Try to work things out with your family as a first step. You could be worried about rejection or them disapproving of your partner. Still, keeping an open mind and trying to communicate the specifics of the situation may turn the situation around.

In the event of actually being rejected, you’ll need to work on a different kind of support system. Friends, mentors and counselors can all contribute to your life. Make use of opportunities to enrich yourself, to get assistance and to communicate with someone understanding and empathetic. Such a support network would make it much easier to address challenges whenever these arise in your relationship.

The same applies to your partner. Try to maintain a good relationship with their family. If that isn’t possible, get them involved in your social circle and try to establish a new one.

A final essential step to mention is a focus on safety. The world has become more accepting of gay relationships than ever before but bigotry still exists.

So, should you be holding hands while walking on the street or kissing your partner in public? That’s really up to you. Just be mindful of the surroundings and don’t underestimate risks. If you manage to assess situations rationally, you’ll get to enjoy a lot of safety and a chance to be your genuine self without a worry in the world.

This article is a guest post by Aydoan Armutlu