Therapeutic Issues for Same-Sex Couples

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Same-sex couples aren’t so different from those of heterosexual unions, except that they don’t have the luxury of being considered the societal norm.

Many couples struggle with limited support, a sense of “minority stress,” pervasive societal negativity, and feelings of ostracism. Maintaining lasting love amid such adversity is daunting.

Many same-sex couples are able to remain intact in such a hostile framework, a testament to their tenacity and sincerity.

  • Gender Roles

Do gender roles hold significance for same-sex couples?

To some degree they do. Partners applying a level of psychological femininity, which highlights connection and support, as opposed to interacting in a psychologically competitive, controlling male manner, experience a higher degree of relational satisfaction.

Of course, gender roles aren’t the only factors that impact a couple. Ethnicity, faith, social class, education, age, and more play important roles too.

Biological similarity, common experiences with gender conditioning, and shared memories of closeted loneliness, help to create a tight bond between partners. Their rapport and sexual connection are mutual and intense.

  • Stage Discrepancies

Same-sex attraction evolves over time. Often couples will come together before a full blown sexual identity has solidified for them both. There may be differences or imbalances in the way or how much they’ve grown into their identities.

Conflict and questions of loyalty, openness, and self-expression arise. Many couples are not able to navigate and overcome their differences.

  • How Can Therapy Help?

A professional mental healthcare provider will be a sensitive and aware support to struggling same-sex couples. He or she may offer the following help:

  • Treatment that considers the “developmental and socio-cultural variables” that shapes the gay and lesbian experience.
  • Assessment of the relationship and environment.
  • Management of “multiple social identities” like racial, religious, or class identities that co-exist with sexual identity and are factors in the partnership.
  • Provides a broader, more accurate picture of a couple’s connection.

Same-sex couples often survive and thrive due to a determined mix of resilience, perspective, and support. More and more, lesbian and gay couples are choosing to build strong, committed relationships.

Read the full article here: Therapeutic Issues for Same-Sex Couples

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