6. They enjoy a sensual and sexual camaraderie that helps them to meet their erotic potential.
The happiest couples tend to report enjoying nonsexual affection in their daily lives through spontaneous touch, verbal strokes, holding hands, cuddling, and massage. They also understand the importance of maintaining a passionate sexual connection through regular pleasuring sessions and keeping their erotic lives energetic and enjoyable. Even for those couples in "open relationships", the sexual relationship with their partner remains an important component of intimacy for them and they find ways to meet each other's needs, even when one isn't necessarily in the mood.
7. They have a supportive network of family and friends who honor their relationship.
Having the backing and encouragement of loved ones can be a great impetus for reinforcing a gay couple's commitment. Surrounding themselves with positive and affirming people can be a great boost.
8. They are comfortable with their sexuality and not afraid to show it.
Sexual identity struggles and internalized homophobia can really drag a relationship down unless both men tend to be in the same boat with their levels of outness. Confident and successful gay couples are comfortable being in relationship with each other no matter the setting or public domain. Whether it's trying out a mattress at the local bedding store or attending a social function in a mixed-orientation crowd, these couples feel secure enough in their identities and relationship to combat any potential homophobia they may face by proudly being themselves. Being able to be free and uninhibited is a truly liberating feeling for a gay couple.
9. They possess the following in their partnership: trust, commitment, honesty, openness, flexibility, loyalty, dedication and devotion, quality time, sensitivity, nonjudgmental attitudes, loving and unafraid to express their feelings and passionate side, etc.
These are obvious hallmark characteristics that typify a healthy relationship, but gay men in particular are vulnerable to power struggles, competition, and issues surrounding intimacy and closeness due to male socialization in their man-to-man relationships. Successful couples are aware of these pitfalls and work hard to embrace a holistic masculinity that counters the stereotypes they've been engrained with.
10. They place a high premium on their lives together and are focused on not taking each other for granted.
Successful gay couples realize that the busyness of life can very easily put their relationship on the back shelf, but they don't let it! They ensure that they devote quality time together, schedule special "date nights" with each other, and are attentive to each other's needs. They make sure they are diligently working toward their shared relationship vision, validate their partner in the ways he likes it most, and make sure to show through words and actions how much they appreciate their guy being in their lives.
So how did you and your partner do? These are only some of the qualities that comprise a healthy gay relationship and it's up to you and your man to define the parameters of what that would look and feel like for your unique relationship.
Use these tips as a springboard to discuss how things are going in your relationship to gauge your strengths and areas for growth and craft an action plan to make things even better between the two of you.
© Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, The Gay Love Coach
The suggestions and feedback offered in this column are but one perspective of multiple approaches to dealing with problems or challenges. Information provided in articles and advice columns should not be used as a substitute for coaching or therapy when these services are needed. None of this information should be your only source when making important life decisions. This information should not be used for diagnosing or treating a particular problem, nor should it take the place of a consultation with a trained professional. It is your responsibility to consult a professional prior to making any life decisions.
Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, contributing author to GAYTWOGETHER, is one of the leading love coaches for the gay community. As a licensed dating and relationship coach, Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, DHS, MSW has over 18 years experience as a psychotherapist and life coach specializing in helping GLBT individuals and couples develop and maintain successful and fulfilling intimate relationships. He holds a doctorate degree in human sexuality from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality and a master’s degree in clinical social work from Western Michigan University. He also runs a successful private therapy practice, Personal Victory Counseling, Inc. http://thegaylovecoach.com