Navigating gay relationships can be challenging for two reasons.
- The lack of information out there for gay people in relationships.
- The disparity between the information that is available and the facts.
Growing up in a time before a wealth of knowledge was available at the click of a button, most of us didn’t have access to this sort of advice.
Back then, all a young person could find browsing Barnes & Noble’s LGBT section was an A-Z of the gay nightlife scene or books for parents of gay children.
For anyone wanting to learn about building meaningful relationships, none of this was helpful.
Thankfully, gay and lesbian couples now have access to a lot of the support and advice they need to create and manage healthy, lasting relationships.
At the Gay Couples Institute, we’ve learned that most relationship problems revolve around mindset and focus.
When it comes to relationships, what do you focus on most?
Do you focus on yourself and what’s within your control?
Or do you focus on what the world is or isn’t contributing to your relationship?
Sometimes, it’s too easy to dwell on what’s wrong and how much of it is other people’s fault.
“I do so much, but my partner treats me terribly.“
Adjusting your mindset and shifting your focus onto the things you can control will benefit you, your partner, and your relationship.
But how do you do that? Read on to find out.
Are You a “Ten?”
No, we don’t mean in the hotness stakes. Today, we’re talking about focus.
First things first, we recommend doing this exercise with a friend for the sake of accountability.
Now, rate your focus on a scale of 1 to 10.
If you only focus on the things that are within your control, you’re a 10.
If instead, you spend all your time dwelling on what external factors are or aren’t doing for you ― sorry, you’re a 1.
Once you’ve given yourself a score, ask your friend to rate themselves too. Then follow up by asking them to tell you more about their reasoning.
It could be quite an eye-opener.
Once you know where you sit on the scale, you can implement any necessary mindset adjustments and start to move forward, healthier and happier.
No More Buts
Have you ever asked your partner about their day?
“Yeah, but it didn’t work.”
If you answered this way, you’re focusing too much on factors outside your control.
Less “yeah, but…” and more “yes, and…”
“Yes, I’ve tried that, and I’d be willing to give it another shot.”
This mindset adjustment is crucial to shifting your focus in a positive direction.
Your partner can tell if you’re a “yes, and…” person or you view them as an external variable that you can’t control.
They can also sense if you’re feeling like you have no control over the relationship, which puts a lot of pressure on them.
Water, Water Everywhere…
In today’s technologically savvy America, we have access to information about anything and everything right at our fingertips.
Then there’s the dating apps ― Grindr, Tinder, OK Cupid, and many more.
These apps aren’t just for singles either. More and more couples are taking to dating apps to network, make friends, or meet others, in the case of non-monogamy.
But despite having access to more information ― and potential dates ― than we could ever need, many of us are feeling lonelier and more disconnected from the world than ever.
From our work with over 2,500 couples, we’ve found that the most significant barrier to connection for most people is smartphones and our modern fixation with them.
Kicking that addiction is a whole different ball game and far too involved for us to go into today.
Fundamentally, identifying the root cause of your dissociation is the key to fixing the problem.
For example, you can’t make everyone swipe right or send you a “woof,” just as you wouldn’t “woof” at everyone you see online either.
Bottom line ― it’s out of your control, and as RuPaul once said…
What other people think of you is none of your business.
If you stop wasting your energy worrying about why some people don’t message you back and refocus it on the people who do, you’ll be well on your way to building better relationships.
Check out the Gay Couples Institute website for more information about mindset, focus, communication, and much more. You can also talk to one of our professionals to find out what could be the cause of the disconnect in your relationship.
ABOUT SAM GARANZINI, LMFT, LPCC, and ALAPAKI YEE, LMFT
Sam Garanzini and Alapaki Yee are Certified Gottman Method Couples Therapists and the co-founders of the Gay Couples Institute – the world’s only gay and lesbian couples counseling clinic. The Gay Couples Institute has locations in Northern California and Manhattan, as well as online counseling services available.
For more information about how the Gay Couples Institute can help you, please visit: www.gaycouplesinstitute.org