Couples therapy caters to all kinds of relationships, straight or gay. Just like heterosexual couples, same-sex couples go through hard times, too. They can avail of therapy whenever their relationship finds the need for it.
Heterosexual and same-sex relationships 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 also common for both types of relationships to have issues regarding money, sex, and abuse. However, same-sex relationships are faced with its 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, burdened by conservative expectations and pressured to obey traditional gender roles. Even though gay relationships are totally natural, certain environments make it difficult for same-sex lovers to openly talk about their relationship in public. This struggle is something straight couples will never completely understand. Gay couples therapy could help them cope with the stress brought about by the unaccepting faction of the society.
There are only a few therapists who specialize in handling gay couples as clients and same-sex couples need not to go through a lot just to look for one, although it is much advised. Generally, same-sex couples who like to go into therapy could reach out to any therapist they want. But here’s a word of warning. Gay couples planning to go to therapy must carefully choose their therapist and 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 the both of you?
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 important component in the therapeutic process. 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 truly understands.
Get referrals from other gay couples
Ask for referrals from other gay couples who have gone to therapy before. Research your therapist well and make sure that they have a lot of experience working with gay couples.
Ensure your therapist has necessary training for treating gay couples
It is also important that they have undergone training specifically for gay couples. Some therapists are a little outdated when it comes to their ideals 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.
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 your situation before for a higher probability of positive outcome.
As mentioned a while ago, the social context in which gay couples exist in has a major influence on their relationship. If the environment is hostile, gay couples will have more problems in their relationship. Aside from the issues both straight and gay couples go through like finances, health, and children, the following are some of the common problems addresses in gay couples therapy.
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.
- In many countries, same-sex marriage is still not allowed and frowned upon. 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 of couples therapy as much as straight couples do. Gay couples therapy is always results oriented. The experience is equally meaningful and productive for both straight and gay couples.