Falling in love is wonderful, but it is really the easy part of any lesbian relationship. What takes work and commitment is keeping that relationship going even after the passion fades, which it most likely will over time. Most experts agree that passionate love has a life expectancy of 2 to 4 years. So compatibility and mutual respect become increasingly important as your partnership progresses. Here are some tips to help you along. Most are applicable to any relationship, but lesbians do have some specific concerns.
- Communication, Communication, Communication: Don’t let small fissures in your relationship turn into insurmountable canyons! Let your partner know what you are thinking about big and small things. If something is bothering you, speak up. Problems can’t be solved unless you talk about it.
- Make Time For Each Other: Life’s demands will always get in the way. If you don’t schedule “Us” time, it probably won’t happen for you. Once a time is blocked off on the calendar, then both of you know to arrange other commitments around that time. For instance, you can block out Friday nights as time you dedicate to your relationship.
- Keep It Fresh: You know how the saying goes, “Relationships take work.” Well, that is true, but it doesn’t always have to have a negative connotation. If you introduce an element of surprise in your relationship, it really helps. Bringing home flowers without an occasion, making a reservation at her favorite restaurant, or suggesting an out-of-the-ordinary activity really go a long way toward keeping your partnership interesting and vibrant.
- Grow Together, Not Apart: One really effective way to keep your relationship strong is to have shared goals. Working with your partner on a project or plan for the future can bring you closer together by increasing your time together and sharing thoughts, dividing responsibilities and even by working out your areas of disagreement. Ideas may be as simple as joining a volunteer group together or as complicated as buying and restoring an old house in the city!
- Maintain Healthy Outside Relationships: Difficulties with family and friends can really affect the health of your partnership. Stay on good terms with people who are important to your partner. Work out problems that exist. Let your partner know that you recognize the importance of her friends and family.
- Sex And Intimacy: At all costs avoid “Lesbian Bed Death.” Sex is an important part of your relationship. Sex is strongly related to intimacy, in that the hormone oxytocin is released during the sex act. That hormone is responsible for enhancing your feelings toward your partner and is essential for long-term bonding. Another powerful hormone, dopamine, is released when you perform strenuous physical exercise. Dopamine is also thought to be responsible for feelings of passionate love. So if things are getting a little slow in the bedroom, try taking your partner our dancing before your next sexual encounter!
- Avoid The Green Dragon: Jealousy! Unfortunately, all too common in the lesbian community, jealousy can ruin a relationship. Jealousy occurs when there is a lack of trust between partners. If you feel you are being controlled by a jealous partner or that you are jealous, confront those feelings. Discuss with your partner why you are threatened in the relationship and move past it! Get professional help if you need it.
- Compromise: You can’t always have things your own way…and neither can your partner. Compromise involves keeping the relationship on even ground; keeping the balance between you. One strategy is to internally rate how important an issue is to you when you disagree with your spouse. If you silently rate the problem as a 1 or a 2, let it go. If you are rating the importance as a 9 or 10, then continue the dialog and work toward a solution you both can live with.
- Stay Connected: Keep in touch with the lesbian/gay community. Unlike hetero couples, homosexuals have virtually no societal support. Having other LGBT friends, attending LGBT events and going to local clubs can really fend off the social isolation that many of us endure.
- Maintain Good Health: Hey, nothing is sexier and more romantic than a clean, healthy body! Take care of yourself. Eat well, get plenty of sleep and exercise regularly.
Keeping a relationship healthy is definitely worth the effort it takes. Just consider how miserable you have been in past relationships that have gone bad. Then remember how wonderful this woman has made you feel. The trick is keeping on top of it and never, never taking your partner or the relationship for granted. If you set your relationship as your #1 priority, you have the best chance of a satisfying and happy future together!