The Challenges and Rewards of LGBTQ Relationships
Though LGBTQ relationships have challenges that differ from those of heterosexual couples, they also offer unique rewards and have remarkable strengths. In order to understand the full picture, it’s important to look at both the good and more challenging aspects of LGBTQ relationships.
LGBTQ Relationships Strengths and Rewards
Some of the rewards include feeling more connected and understood, a deeper level of intimacy, and a stronger sense of community. LGBTQ partners often know each other’s stories and can empathize with each others struggles, and thus have learned how to support and trust one another in ways that are not always present in heterosexual relationships. Many LGBTQ couples find that they are able to be more authentic with each other than with anyone else. They do not have to hide their true selves, which can give a feeling of freedom and relief. This openness and honesty can create a deep level of intimacy that is not always found in other relationships.
LGBTQ couples have often had to work hard to build a strong foundation, and this can create a level of closeness and connection that is rare in other relationships. These rewards can help couples weather the difficulties they face and can make their relationship stronger and more resilient.
Research shows that queer relationships that share households typically have more satisfaction regarding division of labor and family responsibilities. Some attribute this to LGBTQ couples finding more egalitarian ways of assigning chores and child care tasks based on priority, skill, and fairness, that many straight couples struggle with due to unfair gender role expectations.
Challenges LGBTQ Relationships Face
Despite these benefits, there are indeed challenges. The challenges faced by LGBTQ couples include discrimination and bigotry, family and peer group rejection, lack of legal protection or recognition, and a lack of social acceptance. These challenges can lead to isolation, insecurity, and mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and trauma. When one or both partners are struggling with these issues, they may find it difficult to connect or be emotionally present or to feel positive about the relationship. They may withdraw or isolate when stressful events happen, or may feel constantly on edge. This can lead to tension and conflict, as well as a lack of trust in the relationship.
When Challenges Tip the Balance
There are times when the additional adversity is too much for LGBTQ relationships, even with a very solid foundation. Individual and couples therapy can be a valuable resource for LGBTQ couples who are facing challenges in their lives that are harming their relationship. It can provide a safe and confidential space to discuss concerns and feelings, and can help individuals and couples to develop tools to deal with the challenges they are facing. Therapy can also help to build a stronger foundation for the relationship, and can foster a deeper level of intimacy and understanding.
All relationships are different but if any of these warning signs are causing distress in your relationship, outside support may help:
– There is a lack of trust in the relationship
– One or both partners are struggling with mental health issues
– There is a lot of conflict and tension in the relationship
– One or both partners feel isolated or unsupported
– There is a lack of intimacy (physical or emotional) in the relationship
– One or both partners feel like they are not being themselves
Though LGBTQ relationships have unique challenges, they also offer many rewarding aspects that other relationships may not. These rewards can include a deeper level of intimacy, authenticity, and connection. However, these benefits do not come easy – LGBTQ couples must often work harder than in heterosexual relationships to build a strong foundation due to stressors beyond their control.
If your relationship is facing challenges, please consider booking a consultation call here. I offer a confidential and supportive environment where you can discuss your concerns and feelings and help to build a stronger foundation for your relationship.