You know how it is. You and your guy have been together for a long time now, way past “the honeymoon period” characteristic of the early stages of a relationship.You know each other inside and out and have worked hard to build a satisfying and comfortable lifestyle together as a committed couple. You’ve become settled into a familiar structure and routine in your lives.
Life is great! And it is! The love, companionship, and security that a partnership offers can be like no other and is one of the benefits of being in an intimate relationship. But beware…these same benefits can also put your partnership into jeopardy with subsequent boredom, feelings of being taken for granted, and eroticism decline in your relationship if you fail to consistently attend to the needs of your partner, yourself, and your relationship.
Don’t let your relationship get lost in the shuffle of all the other things going on around you! While this may seem like common sense, it’s amazing how complacent we can become and fall into unhealthy patterns of distraction that take energy away from the very center and haven of your life…your bond with your life partner.
Action Steps for Successful Gay Couples
1. Greet Him with a Hollywood-Style Kiss
So many couples that come through my therapy and coaching offices complain that their partners barely acknowledge them when they’re getting ready to leave in the morning or when they arrive back home after a long day’s work. Or worse yet, they only give them a “Grandma Kiss”, you know, the quick peck on the lips and then you’re out the door? Talk about feeling dismissed and minimized!
Make every greeting and departure from each other like it’s your last. Like those old Hollywood movies, give him a passionate kiss that leaves him reeling before leaving for the office. It doesn’t have to be melodramatic, but the point is to let your partner know how much he means to you and what better way to leave a lasting impression than to acknowledge the special place he holds in your life.
2. Date Him All Over Again
One effective way of ensuring that other roles and obligations don’t get in the way of maintaining your romance in the long-term is to schedule a “Date Night” once weekly…or at a minimum every other week. One week you take the reins and plan a creative date that the two of you can to do together and then the next week your partner does the same. Alternating the planning puts both of you in the mindset of nourishing your relationship instead of just one person feeling burdened with doing everything.
And remember, it’s not what you do together…it’s the fact that you’re spending quality time together that matters. “Court” each other all over again and avoid getting hung up on the specific activities you pursue. It’s about being together and having fun.
3. Unleash Your Inner Studs
The old saying is true that “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.” Make sex and intimacy an integral part of your relationship to help keep the spark alive.
4. Keep Him on His Toes & Begging For More
Nothing warms a partner’s heart and puts a big smile on his face than validating him through communication and physical actions. Acknowledge him when he does something positive. Share what you appreciate and are grateful for about him. Listen to him when he talks and show genuine interest in what’s going on in his life.
Do little things for him that you know he’d really appreciate without being asked. Surprise him with a meaningful and relevant gift that speaks to him. Making your partner feel good about himself and affirming how important he is to you will often create a reciprocal effect and you’ll both reap the rewards of such actions with a strengthened bond.
5. Keep the Dream Alive
Another critical thing that can help to ensure that you stay in control of your lives as a couple is to periodically check-in with each other to make sure you’re on the right path of your relationship vision. What’s been going well? What challenges have you been facing? Are you on the path toward your previously discussed relationship goals? How can you troubleshoot obstacles that arise?
By having these occasional talks, the likelihood of your becoming more relationship-centered is promoted and you can stave off potential problems before they latch on. You, your partner, and your relationship will always be growing and changing and it’s important to stay on top of all these transitions so you can go through them together as a team.
You’ve made a huge investment in your relationship and it’s important to protect it against anything that might interfere with its priority in your life. By doing these simple tasks (well, sometimes they’re not all that simple!), you’ll be bringing more positive energy and attention to your partnership that will help sustain your “dynamic duo” status.
But let’s face it…these are just a small handful of things that can promote a successful and fulfilling gay relationship. So how about it? What other things work for you and your partner? Do share!
© 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