When looking at a long-term gay relationship, there’s a lot more freedom to craft a unique set of rules because you and your partner are not constrained by societal expectations that one of you be responsible for a gender-specific set of tasks. However, it’s not all sunshine and roses in any human interpersonal relationship.
Maintain your own distinct identity, interests, and coping strategies. Expecting your mate to provide for all of your emotional needs now and in the future is a fool’s errand. Having resources outside your relationship will make you a more engaging and attractive partner. Keep the lines of communication open. If something is bothering you, express yourself because carrying resentments for thoughts not explicitly stated is always counterproductive.
Be willing to renegotiate. Whether you are discussing who takes out the garbage, who walks the dog, or your sexual fantasies, everything should be subject to negotiation and renegotiation as circumstances change. Proactive conversations about how the relationship is going will go a long way towards heading off minor annoyances before they grow into something too big to get past.
Have realistic expectations. Whether it’s the common decrease in passion that all couples go through as the relationship matures, or finally accepting that he’s never going to squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom, recognizing that he’s not perfect, and neither are you, will go a long way towards having a satisfying union.
Enjoy quality time together. It’s all too easy to start taking your partner for granted. You probably have a full plate with work, friends, and daily demands, but a successful relationship requires nurturing. Set aside a date night for the two of you to spend time together. And if your sex life has been on the decline, you need to make sure you’re keeping things interesting in the bedroom as well.
Accept that arguments are part of a relationship. Fighting is healthy, assuming you have the ability to keep it constructive. Practice basic conflict resolution and anger management to keep things from getting ugly, including knowing when to call a “time out” that will allow you both to cool down before working things through.
Listen. Often what isn’t being said is where the real message lies. Arguments often arise at a surface level, masking a deeper issue we are uncomfortable talking about. Listen carefully to your partner’s words and nonverbal body language as well. Being attuned to your partner’s behaviour is always a good thing, and if that includes decoding all of the arguments surrounding the surreptitious gripe at the center, it’s up to you to at least try to figure it out.
Finally, if it really is a long-term relationship, consider legalizing the relationship, either through marriage, civil union or some form of legal agreement. There are many legal advantage that gay couples can benefit through marriage. And of course, it sends a strong message of commitment to your partner and the loved ones surrounding you.
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