As you unwrap the package of our same-sex relationship and enjoy its gifts, it’s a good idea from time to time to take stock of how things are going. Is your non-traditional union and life together rolling along smoothly? What are the bumps you’ve experienced? Have you navigated them successfully? Do you think you can overcome them again and again? Is your love for one another strong enough to override the trials and tribulations of your life together for the long haul?
In a relationship, it’s your heart, not your head that chooses who you love. Sometimes that choice doesn’t conform to the norms of society, the expectations, the attitudes and judgments of the people around you who you also love, work with.
Then you have your own hang-ups, beliefs, and apprehensions that you’ve carried with you throughout your life that make your same-sex relationship challenging in some respects … unforeseen adjustments, compromises, pressures that come wrapped up in the surprise package of loving and living with someone whose gender matches yours.
Can your love transcend the gender issue even when the going gets tough? Then you have to ask yourself: are the challenges you confront that much different than the challenges experienced in heterosexual unions?
How Deep Is Your Love?
Let’s dive in and see …
· Can you openly express your love and affection for one another without feeling self-conscious or constrained?
· In a blooming relationship, you naturally may want to gain acceptance into the family fold of your partner. During celebrations, holidays, birthdays, informal and formal gatherings with the clan, do you feel welcome, comfortable? Does your mate feel the same with your family? Do you maintain an ongoing connection with one another’s families?
· Can you and your mate handle the snap judgments, discrimination, homophobia that still exists sometimes in your area or other geographic locations, religious institutions? Will your church or temple leaders and members welcome you both into their congregation with open arms? Will your relationship allow you to experience the same meaning and comfort spiritually that you used to have before you met eachother?
· Is marriage an option for the two of you? Do you think the formal bonds of marriage would strengthen the relationship? Would it bring on undue pressures? Have you and your mate discussed how you would handle possible legal discrimination such as housing, employment, medical coverage?
· Are you satisfied with the division of labor, the sharing of household management and tasks like housework, home repairs, decorating, paying expenses? Does being the same sex have any effect on these?
· Do you both want to start a family together? What if one of you does and the other doesn’t? Do federal, state, and local governments have restrictions or limitations with same-sex couples that would affect your lifestyle, government benefits? Are adoption rights fair or restrictive in your area?
· What are the laws regarding divorce of same-sex couples? It would help to know them … just in case. Have the laws changed, making divorce and child-custody easier or more difficult? Do you know your rights and are you willing and able to stand up for them; Can and will your partner?
Living an unconventional lifestyle is an opportunity to develop unconditional love, evolve, overcome obstacles. It’s a training course of sorts where you learn to accept disapproving people and unpleasant circumstances as the way life is sometimes, not a deliberate plot to destroy your relationship. In same-sex relationships, you have an opportunity to learn uncommon life lessons, to discover the depths of your character, your partner’s character, your values … and the same for yourself. What can be more poignant, enlightening, and satisfying?