Couples therapy caters to all kinds of relationships, straight or homosexual couples. Like heterosexual couples, same-sex relationships go through hard times, too. They can avail of same-sex couples counseling whenever their relationship finds the need for it.
Heterosexual and same-sex couples have a lot of commonalities. But, they are not exactly similar in experiences. For instance, straight and gay couples could have problems like infidelity, incompatibility, miscommunication, and loss of intimacy. It is also common for both types of relationships to have issues about money, sex, and abuse. Yet, same-sex relationships face their own challenges, not a lot of straight couples often encounter and vice versa.
Same-sex relationships are not as well-received as heterosexual affairs. Gay couples may have been getting more acceptance and a higher tolerance from the public nowadays. But the reality of the situation remains that many people are disapproving of same-sex relationships. Gay men and women still find themselves in a dominant heterosexual culture. They are burdened by conservative expectations, and pressured to obey traditional gender roles.
Even though gay relationships are natural, certain environments make it difficult for same-sex lovers to talk about their involvement in public. This struggle is something straight couples will never wholly understand. Gay couples therapy could help them cope with the stress brought about by the unaccepting faction of society.
There are only a few therapists who specialize in gay couples counseling and handling gay couples as clients. Same-sex couples need not go through a lot to look for one, although it is much advised. Generally, same-sex couples who like to go into LGBT couples therapy could reach out to any therapist they want. But here’s a word of warning. Couples planning to opt for gay couples counseling must carefully choose their therapist. Make sure that the relationship professional they go to is knowledgeable of dealing with problems particular to same-sex partnerships. But how do you pick the therapist that is right for both of you?
1. Visit a therapist who accepts same sex couples
First and foremost, choose the therapist who shows the willingness to take same-sex couples as clients. It is important to attend sessions with a gay-affirmative professional who can make the both of you feel safe and comfortable. Empathy is an essential component in the therapeutic process in same-sex couple therapy. If the therapist finds it weird to be talking about your problems, especially if it’s on the sexual aspect of your relationship, it’s better to run to another person who understands and empathizes beyond clinical capacities.
2. Get referrals from other gay couples
Ask for referrals from other gay couples who have gone to therapy before on gay couples counseling. Research your therapist thoroughly to find a trusted professional. Make sure that they have a lot of experience working with gay couples.
If you have a mental checklist, say a gender preference, or are comfortable with the gay couples counseling from someone of a particular cultural background, ask a friend before taking the plunge.
3. Ensure your therapist has necessary training for treating gay couples
It is also essential that they have undergone training specifically for gay couples. Some therapists are a little outdated when it comes to their ideas and methods. Those who are trained before the 1980s may still believe that being gay is a psychological illness because that is what was taught to them in graduate school decades ago.
So, not all gay marriage counselors can be a good fit. It’s okay to shop around before you settle with one for the gay couples counseling.
4. Look for a therapist who has experience in treating issues similar to yours
Same-sex couples tend to have complicated relationship dynamics. While many identify as lesbian or gay, others are more fluid with their sexuality. Some identify as bisexual, transgender, or transsexual. Others are polyamorous. If you find yourself in this kind of relationship, you might need to do more research to find therapists who have dealt with LGBT couples therapy before. There is a higher probability of a positive outcome.
As mentioned a while ago, the social context in which gay couples exist in has a significant influence on their relationship. If the environment is hostile, gay couples will have more problems in their relationship, taking a toll on their mental health.
However, there are specific ways to improve their mental health and clear their minds in stressful situations.
Aside from the issues both straight and gay couples go through like finances, health, and children, there are some of the common problems addressed in gay couples therapy, as stated below.
Common problems addressed in gay Couples therapy
Many gay couples struggle in seeking acceptance from their family members. It is one of the most common issues gay couples have. Lack of support from parents and siblings creates a lot of stress to the relationship. This even comes with negative judgment from relatives. In some cases, they are actively coerced to break it off.
Another issue discussed in couples therapy is the issue of infidelity. Like straight couples, gay couples can break the rules of monogamy, which is only upsetting if both parties did not agree on an open relationship. If two same-sex people have different relationship expectations that they cannot reconcile on their own, it’s time to seek someone who knows how to deal with this in an organized fashion.
Many countries still do not allow and frown upon same-sex marriage. This creates a problem for many same-sex relationships who wanted to enter a civil union. Many couples find marriage to be very important. When not granted, it could lead to frustration and doubts.
Is your relationship on the rocks because of betrayal, intimacy problems, constant misunderstandings, and communication issues? As a gay couple, you are entitled to avail gay couples counseling as much as straight couples do. Gay couples therapy or lesbian couples therapy is always results-oriented. The experience is equally meaningful and productive for both straight and gay couples.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Rachael Pace is a noted relationship writer associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying the evolution of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on them. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.