QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transgendered Department

Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other SelfhelpMagazine.com staff.

Question

I've just moved in with a wonderful man. We've been together for a year and want to make it a lifetime, but it seems like there aren't any gay relationships that last. Is it possible? I don't know any couples who've been together more than a few years, and lots of my friends were in relationships that didn't last. Do you have any hope for me?

Answer

I'm glad you wrote. I can't begin to tell you how many times I've heard this question. I'm not surprised I hear it so often: we all grow up with the myth that gays and lesbians can't maintain long-term relationships. Another part of the myth is that we're all going to be old and lonely (as if there are no old and lonely heterosexuals).

Let's do a reality check. I think we sometimes assume that if one of our relationships fails, the myth must be true. That's not very realistic. Lots of heterosexual relationships don't make it, so we can't expect all lesbian and gay couples to succeed.

However, there are lots of successful long-term couples of men and women out there. Unfortunately, so many are closeted that you often don't hear about them or meet them. That makes all sorts of sense. A couple that got together 30 or 40 or 50 years ago faced much more hostile social attitudes than we do today, and is more likely to remain hidden than a couple of younger people.

You might find it useful to pick up a copy of Dr. Betty Berzon's book Permanent Partners. It's full of helpful information for couples who want to make it last. Also, if you want to see wonderful pictures of a few long-term couples, check out the article called Before the Revolution in the July issue of Out Magazine.

3/14/98


Author and psychologist Gail S. Bernstein, Ph.D. has a psychotherapy practice in Denver, Colorado. Dr. Bernstein speaks and writes about gay, lesbian and bisexual people for both general and professional audiences, and is the author of the new audiotape, NOT HETEROSEXUAL: An Educational Program About Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual People.

 

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