Gay Relationships and the Keys to Keeping One

This past week alone, I have had three very good friends call me to tell me that their relationships were becoming rocky. All of these friends have been in the same relationships for at least five or more years. Why does this happen? It made me question myself as well.

From my experience, I think that one of the keys to keeping things stable is to never take each other for granted. I know this sounds cliché but it's a good rule to follow. It's when you forget the little things, the things that attracted you to each other in the beginning, that's when things start to become unglued. I really do appreciate the small stuff. Holding open a door, or having a good dinner prepared for me just because the other person felt like doing it to show that they care, or even a simple hug when I walk in the door…it all means so much. It's not always the big stuff that matters….sometimes it's the small stuff that has more profound meaning. Telling the other person thank you or saying that you appreciate stuff is important. It lets them know that you are paying attention! The other night David rubbed my back for me on the couch…without even asking him to do that….that meant a lot to me. Why? Just because he cared enough to do it. I always get a kiss and a long hug when I come in the door at his house, and I LOVE that and look forward to it. Why? I guess because it tells me that he was looking forward to seeing me and that he missed me! Again, it doesn't have to involve some huge expensive night out to express love, it is truly is the small stuff! A kiss, a touch on the hand, a love note tucked into your pants pocket when you aren't looking….stuff like that. It just says "hey, I am here thinking about you, and I love you."

The second thing is respect. Not only respect for your partner, but also respect for yourself. When you do argue, and everyone argues no matter how perfect a relationship is, always try to keep it to a respectful level. It's ok to disagree. It is not ok to tear each other to shreds and say hurtful things just to injure the other person. It's so easy to do that sometimes in the heat of the moment when you are angry and not thinking clearly. Most of all have respect for you. You have to be comfortable with your own life so that you can say that you are with the other person because you want to be, not because you HAVE to be. Ask yourself, why am I am I in this? If the answer is because I love this person, and because they make me happy and make me want to be a better person, then it's all good! It took me a very long time to realize that.

The third thing, and the most important of them all, is COMMUNICATION. If you are feeling upset about something or if you are feeling unsure, or scared, or confused, or hurt, or embarrassed….TALK ABOUT IT. Too often we try to guess what the other person is thinking and we are more often than not, dead wrong. We take things the wrong way. We read into things that may not necessarily be meant to be taken that way. I am very guilty of this. Sometimes I look at a situation and think that I know where the other person is coming from and take it personally when it really has nothing to do with me. I have done it a thousand times. If I would have just ASKED the other person what was going on, I would have saved both of us a lot of grief, hurt feelings, and arguments. Trust me on this one, be open, honest, and talk about things. It's sometimes easier said than done but it's worth it in the long run.

The fourth thing is trust. If you can't trust the one you love it will never work. We all have doubts and usually those doubts stem from past experiences, from getting hurt, and we project that into our current relationships. It is very unfair to the other person involved. Again, I am just as guilty about this. I have been hurt in the past and it makes me gun shy. Treat a new relationship as just that, something new to explore. Everyone makes mistakes, but you can't hold someone accountable for something that they haven't even done yet. Trust, in my experience, takes time. The more you get to know someone the more you let your guard down and trust develops. As my father used to say, trust is earned and not assumed.

The fifth thing is to put the other person first. I always try to think about what the other person might be feeling or how they see things. It helps when you consider their feelings and what they might want. Too often we only think about ourselves and you can't do that in a relationship. It really is all about compromise. That leads to the sixth thing.

Compromise, compromise, compromise! I can't say it enough. Relationships are a give and take. They are not all about one person! Sometimes you will not see eye to eye and you may NEVER understand why the other person does what they do or thinks the way that they do but the bottom line is, if you care, you will work around it and make a compromise. If you don't learn to compromise your relationship will eventually self-destruct!

I feel very fortunate to have someone in my life who makes me very happy, who has proven to me that I can count on him even when things aren't going so well and I hope that he knows that he can always count on me. I feel so very lucky to have met such a wonderful person and I hope that we remain in each other's lives and that we never forget that feeling of love. You never never know where lifes unpredictable winds will take you, but I hope that our paths remain always together.

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