Sex Ed in Bed
I cant see my soul mate from the relationship
By Jallen Rix, Ed.D. (c).
Though LGBT relationships tend to have many of the same features as straight relationships (for better or for worse), ours are somehow viewed as distinctly different. Because of this we have been refused our rights and legitimacy in the eyes perhaps with blinders on of this society. However, this outcast status has given us the opportunity to design our relationships precisely the way they fit us best. On the one hand, this has been freeing for a lot of couples. On the other hand, it sometimes feels like were forging upstream without any guidelines, traditions, or support.
Nonetheless, whether a relationship is conservative or cutting edge in style, we all have our set of expectations as to what a romantic partnership should look like. Relationships can get so complex that they take on a life of their own, which conceptually is not a bad thing. They need nurturing, maintenance and occasional readjusting. Oh! But wait, Im actually in relationship with another person! Expectations cant be so high that the individual you fell in love gets lost in the shuffle. Its kind of like keeping one eye on the forest and one eye on the trees.
Furthermore, it seems the simplest and most useful ideas tend to also get lost in the mix with all that we believe about relationships. So here are a few reminders that have enormously helped me in my relationships.
Monogamy is actually a matter of degree. Most people shut down when I say I am most comfortable in an open relationship. However, the light bulb turns back on when I add, Dont get me wrong. There are many things that I am monogamous about. I have chortled on a number of occasions when a couple is adamant about upholding the standard of monogamy, but have never talked to one another about what that means. Sure, theres the traditional no outside mixing of the jiggly parts, but where does a couple draw the line emotionally? Have you agreed with your partner about what should take place if the monogamy line is crossed?
No two people are identical. In a relationship one person is shorter. One is taller. One is older. One is younger. One eats more. One eats less. And one will be more interested in sex while the other will not be as interested. Dont despair that you arent exactly at the same place, with the same amount of drive. Youre not friggin clones! Dont view every miniscule difference as some predestined judgment of incompatibility. Furthermore, youre not in some lifetime competition where the biggest cock wins. Wins what? This is your soul mate not your adversary. Celebrate your diversity! The point is not that youre different, but what you do about it when you butt heads, which has to do with my next reminder:
Everything has a price. One unrealistic expectation in relationship is that sacrificial love conquers all. It does upon occasion, but the rest of the time we have to negotiate compromises to survive. Even most sacrifices have eventual paybacks. One partner can do most of the sacrificing for only so long before theyre taken advantage of, and the other partner should pick up the slack, which is (Doh!) compromise. Dont waste your time convincing yourself or your loved one that all your love is unconditional. If that were the case, youd need so little from your partner that you wouldnt need one at all. Instead, learn to be a clever, casual, and quality negotiator.
Occasionally stop all demands. Over the years its easy for the expectations on the relationship to gradually turn into demands on a partner. In one of my past relationships, our therapist (Yes, every relationship should have one) called a moratorium on all demands of each other not even a complaint! It was a great period of insight. When living in such close proximity when you love each other so much, its very easy to let your individual boundaries blur. What I ended up believing that I needed from my partner were things I should have only required of myself.
Being together is the point. I dont expect my partner to make my dreams come true. Its nice when he supports me in achieving my dreams, but I dont expect it. I dont expect my partner to be the only breadwinner, but its nice when we can help each other stabilize our financial future. When I strip away all the expectations, the number one reason I want to be in relationship is for companionship. In fact, I cant quell loneliness by myself. After all, the results of romantic love are not the main reasons I connect with someone. In the words of Captain Redundant, relationships reward is itself companionship.
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