Three Essential Lesbian Relationship Goals for Lesbian Couples

Three Essential Lesbian Relationship Goals for Lesbian Couples

lesbian relationship goals, lesbian couple goals, lesbian goals

THREE ESSENTIAL LESBIAN RELATIONSHIP GOALS

FOR LESBIAN COUPLES

 

Start your relationship on the right foot with these three essential lesbian relationship goals. Much of what we learn in relationships comes from trial and error. However, there are also some great strategies that you can intentionally practice to increase your odds of a happy and satisfying relationship. These three lesbian relationship goals will get you headed in the right direction.

1. Seek Security Within Before Expecting it From a Relationship

Security is the result of accurately predicting what to expect from your partner and responding effectively to that which you are not anticipating. You will know that you are secure in your relationship with yourself when you have faith that no matter what life brings you, you will be able to make the next right choice to move you into a better place. Sometimes we are unable to predict what our partner will do, say, think or how she will behave because many variables in life are out of control for both of us. An unexpected accident on the interstate could make her late coming home from work. A canceled flight could prevent her from making it back in time for your birthday party. The key to finding security within is to have generally accurate predictions about what you can expect from your partner, and to allow room for logical and believable explanations when your predictions are off, or to respond with confidence when explanations are not believable.

On the other hand, when there is a lack of security within your self and within your relationship, the confidence that you can predict what to expect is replaced by expectations, demands, and a need for her to be a certain way, and do and say certain things, in order for you to feel safe with her. When you approach relationships from this perspective, you will notice yourself feeling more reactive, panicky, worried and angry when things do not go as you want. 

The best way to improve your sense of security is to recognize what is your business, or “in your lane,” and what is not. The only thing in this life that you can control or influence is that which is in your lane. Byron Katie, the author of Loving What Is, says all things in life fall in one of three categories: your business (what you can control), my business (what I can control), and the business of the universe or God (what is not controlled by humans).  When you get good at recognizing what is “my business,” you will feel increasingly more secure in this world. Insecurity stems from trying to control the uncontrollable. 

 

2. Maintain Your Interests, Hobbies, and Friendships

Maintaining friendships (with the exception of your ex), hobbies and interests are the second of three essential lesbian relationship goals. Because security is one of the most important things to women (not just lesbians) in relationships, women will often trade their independence for a sense of security. When this happens, the differentiation of who I am, and who you are, begin to breakdown and lesbian couples begin to think and operate very similarly, even if it is not authentically how each of them feels. This is referred to as “fusion,” or “merging,” and one of the adverse side effects of this is that there is not enough distance between partners to create the feeling of longing or desire. 

At the start of a relationship, you have the opportunity to see your partner from a distance, with more objectivity and curiosity. She is someone you want to know better. You are literally drawn to her, eager to move closer, closing the gap that exists when we do not know someone well.  You see her in HER environrment, doing her thing, being who she is – separate from you. I call this the desire gap. The desire gap is created by the independence you express in your relationship that produces enough distance, but not too much, between partners to generate a desire and longing for closeness. 

The instinct for lesbians is to bond rapidly, commit quickly, settle in and nest with her new partner, and to stop nurturing self-interests, hobbies, and friendships that are not shared. In time, this begins to close the desire gap, leaving little to no distance necessary for desire and longing. There must be a “you,” and there must be a “her,” separately, for you to experience desire for one another. It is difficult to generate longing and desire for a “we.”

If you are already in a relationship and have allowed your interests to fall away, you can make a movement toward this lesbian relationship goal by slowly returning to your natural interests and nurturing your friendships and hobbies. While you may be met with some resistance, suspicion or even anxiety at first, the benefits to you and your relationship, in the long run, are worth the discomfort involved in getting to this point. 

 

3. Allowing Emotional Wiggle Room

The third of three essential lesbian relationship goals is allowing. I call this giving one another the emotional wiggle room to have feelings without having to process and rid oneself of them immediately. In my work with lesbian couples over the past two decades, I have noticed a recurring pattern of aversion to any form of negative emotion among lesbians, whether it is directed toward a partner or elsewhere. 

In the presence of strong negative emotions, lesbian partners will often respond in one of two ways:

1) efforts to minimize or fix the negative feelings by acquiescing to what she believes her partner wants; or defensiveness and;

2) personalization of the negative emotions that can result in an extended conflict, brooding by one partner, or a hard withdrawal by both partners.

None of these responses offers the partner with the original feelings the time or space to process her experience and allow her emotions to run their course, or the opportunity to be understood by her partner for how she is feeling.

Interestingly, commonly cited research, by John Gottman, reports that during fights gay and lesbian couples take things less personally than heterosexual couples. This is not consistent with my experience in working with lesbian couples for the past two decades. In fact, it is quite common for women in relationships with women to take very personally all of the comments made by her partner, and for the two of them to spend countless hours processing these hurt feelings. I am inclined to think that the sample of only 12 lesbian couples in Gottman’s study is not large enough to accurately describe the common lesbian relationship experience. 

Women are emotionally attuned to one another more intensely than other couple pairings that involve men (gay or heterosexual). While emotional awareness and attunement to one another is generally a very positive relationship characteristic, there are times when it can create obstacles and limit emotional wiggle room in the context of relationships. To strengthen your ability to allow your partner emotional wiggle room, begin to notice when you are responding to her mood and not her words. If you find yourself wanting to ask, “what’s wrong?” or to “fix” her mood by pleasing her, instead, extend an invitation to talk when and if she wishes to. You might say, “Seems like something’s on your mind. I’m here if you want to talk about it.” If she says, “I’m fine,” and her body language screams “My mouth is saying I am fine, but I am not fine,” it is important to honor her words and let her come to you if she decides to. Your anxiety will make this difficult. Tend to your own feelings in these moments instead of hers, and see what a difference that makes.

More article by Michele O’Mara, PhD, LCSW

How to make relationships work when you have no common interests

5 Common Issues for Lesbian Couples

How to learn what your relationship imago is

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❤️ Michele O’Mara, LCSW, Ph.D. is an expert lesbian relationship coach with a comfortable obsession with all things related to love and relationships between women. She is particularly fascinated by lesbian couples in blended families, issues of infidelity, lesbian sexuality, and recovery from lesbian breakups. She is the author of Just Ask: 1,000 Questions to Grow Your Relationship, which is available in paperback or Kindle on Amazon, as well as an app on Itunes /Google play. Lastly, she and her wife Kristen host Lesbian Couples Retreats in various destinations, and you can learn more about those here.

Card Carrying Lesbian?  How Gay are You?

Card Carrying Lesbian? How Gay are You?

card carrying lesbian, how gay are youHow gay are you?

Are you a Card Carrying Lesbian?

No one is ever surprised when they learn I am a lesbian.  Well, I suppose my grandma did seem a little taken aback, asking, “How did that happen?”  Interestingly though, aside from my appearance I am seriously lacking when it comes to a lot of common stereotypes of a lesbian.  How would you answer the question, “How gay are you?” Do your friends ever tease you, saying your card-carrying status as a lesbian is in danger!

Of course, we don’t actually carry lesbian identity cards. That would be silly The process is really much more efficient than that. The Bureau of Motor Vehicles provides an endorsement that is placed directly on your driver’s license which designates your “card-carrying lesbian” status.  This is one way to find answers for, “How gay are you?”

Ask your gay and lesbian friends if you can see their driver’s license.  If they are really gay (meaning they passed the Gay or Lesbian Endorsement Test at the BMV), there should be a faint rainbow that is visible over his or her photo when held at the right angle, in the right light.

Okay, so that’s not really true.

Can you imagine if there was such an endorsement?  I can see it now – we will all be provided by a government created, computer generated test.

I’m thinking the Card Carrying Lesbian Endorsement Test might look something like this (remember, this would be created by the government):

  1. _____Do you hate men?  (Clearly, the test would be different for gay men)
  2. _____Do you have multiple pets that you call your “children?”
  3. _____Do you have a motorcycle or a valid license to drive one?
  4. _____Do you have season tickets for a WNBA team of your choice?
  5. _____Are you a vegetarian?
  6. _____Were you considered a tomboy growing up?
  7. _____Do you wear patchouli?
  8. _____Can you find whatever you need at Lowes (your favorite store) without asking?
  9. _____Is your hair uncharacteristically short for a woman?
  10. _____Are you currently on a recreational softball team?

Now anyone with any sense knows that this test is nothing but a pile of stereotypes.  Obviously.  Clearly, this test is not accurate.  Because if it were, I would not get my endorsement!

I can only affirm three answers, and with serious qualifications on two.  #3 (and if it weren’t for my partner and sons I would have no pets), #6 (and I have pictures to prove it!), #8 (not my favorite store).  For a long time # 9 applied, but I can’t even claim that one now.  So according to this test, I think I can answer the question, “How gay are you?”  I am roughly 30% lesbian.  So, as it turns out, this test is clearly inaccurate.

The point is, and I do have one, there is no right way to be gay or lesbian, and to be sure I have not confused you, there is no actual card-carrying lesbian status.  There’s only the right way to be you.  The only right thing is to be real.  Be yourself.

Despite my failure to meet the above qualifications for the Lesbian Endorsement Test, as I indicated already, most people I encounter assume I am gay.  And I’m good with that.  In fact, I find that it’s a good strategy to assume all people are gay unless it is revealed otherwise. I appreciate it when folks get the clue without my having to break it down for them.  I want people to know I am a lesbian, and for one reason only, because I am.

Those who are heterosexual are quick to talk openly about their boyfriend/husband or girlfriend/wife, and many are so bold they even frame pictures of themselves with their heterosexual significant others, and broadcast their relationship right there on their desk at work!  They go on and on about their weekends together, future vacations, and other plans.  It’s easy to know who they are.  These people can’t stop flaunting their heterosexuality to save themselves!  And I love it.  They are real in ways that they take for granted.  They are real in ways that they don’t even stop to think about.  They are real about their lives without even thinking because it is socially sanctioned and encouraged to the point it’s not even a thought anymore.

Gays and lesbians, on the other hand, don’t generally feel as comfortable to express their true selves. I find that disappointing.  Many of us have been brainwashed to believe that censorship is the key to survival.  Perhaps that’s the appeal of Halloween.  I was reading an article by David Frum online at the CNN Opinion (11/1/10) where he traces the roots of the modern day appeal of Halloween to the gay culture.

The “masked culture” first developed by the gays 
of San Francisco has reached across the 
lines of orientation — and now jumped across the boundaries 
between nations and languages. 

The article goes on to say, “In 1994, University of Florida anthropologist Jerry Kugelmass published a book on the new trend, “Masked Culture,” describing Halloween as an emerging gay “high holiday.”

Halloween is NOT my high-holiday (just another ding on my lesbian endorsement record.)  I was never too into costumes growing up, though I did win my kindergarten costume contest.  I was an angel.  That was the same year I got my tongue stuck to the frozen flag pole on the playground.  The irony is priceless, isn’t it?

If someone offers you advice about how to be a lesbian, I suggest you thank them kindly for their words of advice and promptly erase them all from your short term memory.  Then pick up a blank journal and write on the top of the first page – “Who I am, what I think, how I feel, what I love, and what I believe.”  Fill it with your truth.  Whatever that is.  Start by taking your mask off at home.  Then begin to live those pages out in the world.  Keep filling them as you age, change, and grow.

I feel so grateful to spend so many hours each week with people sharing themselves honestly and openly, without their masks.  It is my favorite thing about being a therapist, and I can’t help but like each and every one of the people with whom I work  – because they are real.

People who know us best are able to because of one thing:  we are real with them!  When we are real, people can know us.  When people know us, they can feel close to us.  When people feel close to us, they like us.  When they like us, we feel comfortable to be real.  What a perfect circle.

So that’s why I say – get real.  However, that looks for you.  Lose your masks, create your own brand of gay or lesbian.  Just be yourself.

 

Read about real lesbians here.

Join your own tribe of lesbian couples here.

 

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