Happy Lesbian Relationship Strategy Three: Make an Intentional Commitment
Once you choose a partner (which is a critically important choice that will reduce all future choices), make a conscious, intentional commitment that details your agreements and your vision for your relationship.
A commitment is a statement of intention. When you commit, you are holding yourself accountable to your word, your hopes and your dreams. For many lesbian couples, there is no stated commitment, goal, or purpose described for their relationship.
Each decision that is made between same-sex couples requires intention and consciousness. Should you live together? Should you combine your money? It is not assumed that you will. There is no assumed roadmap for how you will proceed with your relationship. This can be liberating. And, it can be overwhelming and confusing.
To whom will you announce your relationship? Are you both “out” at work, to family, etc.? Will you live together? Will you marry, now that it’s legal? Do you pursue parenthood? How? Nothing is automatic. Each decision, even if made easily, is a conscious decision.
Heterosexuals have a long history of the four-stage process: 1) dating; 2) engagement, 3) marriage; 4) children. It is a well-established tradition and one that has created an unconscious roadmap for most heterosexuals. This is not necessarily a good thing – as it creates an expectation that may not suit all people. This tradition is one that few heterosexuals question or consciously decide upon – it is simply a given. The threads of marriage weave in and out of every aspect of our culture. This unearned privilege, however, is very new for most lesbians.
Another advantage of the heterosexual model of relationships is that our culture, including institutions, families and friends, share a language for interacting with married couples. It is considered odd if a heterosexual couple spends the holidays apart. It is unacceptable for the in-laws not to include the new spouse in invitations and social engagements, and it is assumed that the couple will vacation together, sleep in the same bedroom, get just one hotel room when traveling, share expenses, consider parenthood, live together, and the list goes on. Despite the legalization of gay marriage, these are not assumptions most lesbians can readily lean on just yet.