Gay Couples Therapy in London
Gay Relationship Advice & Counselling with Marcus
Why “Gay Couples Therapy”? Isn’t a relationship a relationship regardless of whether there are two people of the same sex or one of either sex?
Couples in gay relationships face many of the same challenges as heterosexual couples, and the same dynamics and issues arise around commitment, acceptance, power, difference, loneliness, intimacy and jealousy.
“Two things make God laugh: when a healer says ‘I healed them!’ or when bickering lovers say ‘We have nothing in common!'” Ramakrishna, mystic
However, in addition to these universal ‘couples issues’ there can be many that are specific to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people (LGBT), including societal pressure, family and friends’ support, being a couple together on the gay scene, managing others’ expectations, discrimination, alternative forms of relationship and lifestyle including parenting, and even 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’, such as jealousy, insecurity, sexual health concerns, to name a few, can really challenge the stability of many gay relationships.
‘Open’ describes a relationship that is open to new partners, be that in a sexual sense or a romantic sense. There are many variations. You can be in an open monogamous relationship, sometimes called ‘monogamish’ (e.g. couples that swing). Or you can have closed polyamorous one (e.g. a triad with no one new coming in).
There are numerous variations to open relationships. The important questions are:
- How do you negotiate what you both want?
- What are your hopes and fears?
- What does commitment mean for you and your partner?
- Is what you get from the third person different from the love you have with your partner?
- How will you take care of yourselves and each other?
- What will help you navigate when things don’t go to plan?
Gay Couples Therapy gives you a safe forum to discuss, with your partner, your feelings and fears regarding an open relationship, and negotiate or map out your boundaries.
Is your partner in the closet?
Problems can arise when one person, in the relationship is not out. Loyalties get muddled, anxieties become intensified, and in the end couples can split as a result of the pressures.
If, say, one partner is not out to their family, the other can be left feeling devalued and insecure, while the one who’s in the closet feels their situation is not understood.
Moving in together can have huge ramifications. Then there can be stressful family issues, especially given that gay people, in general, do not share their minority status with their family. When one partner is not accepted by the other’s parents, choices become limited and limiting.
There are whole important areas of your life you feel you cannot talk to your family about. Time spent with parents can become something that detracts from and hurts the relationship.
Talking with an experienced therapist, you can explore the issues and challenges raised when one or both of you are in the closet and, as a result, the relationship is experiencing difficulties.
Gay Couples Therapy and issues around Sex
- Do one of you want more sex than the other?
- Does one person want to explore sexual fantasies or styles, that don’t appeal to the other?
- Is there an issue around what role you take within the sexual element of the relationship?
Many couples live with a high degree of frustration and disappointment that can feed into distancing and even estrangement. The tenderness and excitement you hope for may seem unachievable.
Talking with a therapist gives you an opportunity to be able explore, in a non-judgmental setting, what is right for you and for your partner, developing a healthy attitude and approach to sex, which is key to bringing you closer together.
Gay Relationships and dealing with Homophobia
- Do you or your partner avoid outward signs of affection to each other e.g. holding hands?
- Are you avoiding the subject of ‘moving in’ together?
- Do social events where you will be bringing your partner, cause you concern?
As a gay couple, you will most likely have encountered homophobia, perhaps within your family, amongst friends or checking into a hotel. In most western, urban centres homophobia has been in gradual decline for decades but it is still there and still has the capacity to injure and hurt.
Aside from the impact of society’s homophobic attitudes and behaviour, you and your partner will likely have your own internalised homophobia. You may be aware of your partner being unwilling to hold your hand or show affection in public, or being hesitant about moving in together or making your relationship ‘official’. This may or may not be related to internalised homophobia. The most insidious effects can be those we are least aware of.
Gay relationship therapy gives you an opportunity to explore how you react to incidents of external homophobia but also the way you see yourselves as a gay couple in society and how you feel about this.
Gay Relationships and the question of Civil Partnership or Marriage
Many gay couples struggle with this. One partner wants to go down the ‘legal’ route, while the other wants to keep the relationship ‘unregulated’ or untainted by and outside of the legal structures of marriage and civil partnership. This can be for many reasons, often positive ones. Gay relationship counselling with Marcus offers a space to process these important questions in a spirit of respect, care and honesty.
Gay Couples and Parenthood
The decision to become parents is more complicated for gay couples than for straight couples. It cannot happen without planning. There will be a number of steps, including consideration perhaps of adoption, surrogacy and, in the case of lesbians, insemination. Each of these raises its own issues, and there are not all that many roadmaps to follow. While this can be enormously freeing, it can also be frightening and confusing.
There are also the issues that can arise where one of you wants to parent but the other person does not. This situation also occurs in straight relationships, however the added issue of what is biologically ‘normal’ is also thrown into the mix.
Exploring you and your partner’s desires to become parents will help you navigate the issues and discuss a practical way forward.
Gay Couples Therapy with Marcus
No two gay relationships are the same. Every couple has different challenges to face and their choices and outcomes will be unique to that relationship. However, many gay couples will, at some point, face some specific issue or concern. Talking these issues through with an experienced gay relationship counsellor can help you to find ways forward and build a stronger bond with your partner.
Gay Couples Therapy in London with Marcus
Take the first step to a stronger relationship and talk to Marcus about Gay Couples Therapy.
Here are some interesting articles and pages on Couples & Relationships that you might find helpful
One-in-Five Relationships in Crisis | A recent study warns 3 million people regularly argue or consider divorce – and 1.4 million families are ‘at breaking point.
Read the full article …
One Woman’s Perspective | Jeanette Winterson would like to see ‘creativity applied to love and affection’.
Read the full article …