Tomorrow is “V-Day”—Valentine’s Day!
In recognition of this special day of L-U-V, I decided to answer the following question: “Is there a particular recipe for nurturing and preserving a successful, lasting LGBTQ relationship?”
To find out, I consulted an expert: certified personal love coach Brian Rzepczynski, columnist for The Gay Love Coach. His answer? “No.” Then he explains, “One of the beauties of being gay is that we can create our own definitions of what constitutes an ideal relationship for ourselves as we are not hampered down by restrictive gender roles and norms like our heterosexual counterparts. Each couple develops their own unique partnership that works for them.”
The Gay Love Coach emphasizes, “That being said, there are some universal qualities that can promote a more solid and functional relationship over the long haul for partners seeking long-term connection and happiness.”
Rzepczynski gives his top qualities of LGBTQ “Super-Couples.” Are you ready to learn just what they are? Well, let’s do it to it!
- They share compatible interests and philosophies of life. “It’s important that partners have similar interests and hobbies to share in common to build experiences with together, but it’s also essential to have some differences as well to complement each other. This helps to keep the mystery and intrigue alive in the relationship that exists with contrast.”
- They openly communicate with each other and stay engaged in each other’s lives. “This involves direct and honest dialogue about the mundane aspects of life to the serious thoughts and feelings that get triggered as a part of relationship dynamics. The partners create a climate in their home where each feels safe and comfortable sharing vulnerable aspects of themselves with each other and are attuned to each other’s needs.”
- They manage conflict productively. “Healthy gay couples recognize that conflict is an inevitable and normal part of a relationship, seeing these ‘rough spots’ as opportunities for growth and positive change in their partnership. They deal with their anger in constructive ways. They are open to compromise and sacrifice and always keep a teamwork stance in negotiating their differences.”
- They have a balanced lifestyle comprised of both individual and couple identities. “In relationships it’s important to have time devoted to nourishing the relationship and also to focus on individual interests and pursuits. Too much ‘couple identity’ causes both partners to feel suffocated. Too much ‘individual identity’ creates a feeling of being disconnected and living as roommates.”
- They have fun with life and try not to take things so seriously. “Successful couples are those that are playful with each other, enjoy a humorous banter between the two of them, and feel energized by such things as tickling, cracking jokes, pulling pranks on each other, and being perverted with each other.”
- 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 keeping their erotic lives energetic and enjoyable.”
- 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 as gay couple’s commitment.”
- They are comfortable with their sexuality and not afraid to show it. “Confident and successful gay couples are comfortable being in a relationship with each other no matter the setting or public domain.”
- 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. “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 ingrained with.”
- 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.”
So, here are all the critical and essential ingredients to make this designated Day of Love—and every day of love, for that matter—extra special!
To Note: The striking image above this article’s headline is courtesy of the Reverend Derek Terry, who has appeared on “Iyanla: Fix My Life,” the popular program that airs on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).