Once you and your new man have had the big conversation and have decided to be exclusive, there are several things you two can do to keep the relationship’s foundation secure.
It’s important to look inside yourself first when a conflict arises instead of immediately pointing fingers at your new partner. Practicing humility and selflessness are often qualities that don’t just win someone over but keep them with you forever. Here are the top four ways to make sure your gay relationship stays strong for many, many years:
1. Integrate Into His Social Circle
I’ve always felt a bit puzzled when a friend, a family member, a co-worker, or even one of my dating coaching or matchmaking clients says they don’t think their significant other has to like their friends. From my personal experience, I believe it’s a big red flag if your partner doesn’t get along with your friends… and vice versa.
In all of my years in the dating coaching and matchmaking industry, I’ve found that it’s important that you and your partner get along with each other’s communities to a certain extent. Otherwise, the dynamic can be a bit tainted. You don’t want to be labeled as someone who doesn’t want to participate or get to know your potential boyfriend’s social circle. You want to be known as someone who gives others a chance. Trust me, I know you won’t get along with every person. I certainly don’t. But chances are you will get along with most people if you just try. Our friend circle is a reflection of our own character.
I’ve always expected my boyfriend’s friends to have certain personality traits. For instance, would your friends tell you it isn’t a good idea to go home with a stranger when they know you will regret it, or would they look the other way? My hope is that you have friends who are not just conveniently your friends when you need a drinking buddy. The word integrity comes to my mind. You want friends who value you — friends who can be honest with you and possess strong moral principles.
I will give you a personal example. Over the years, I’ve become intrigued by the sex-positive community. I am inspired by their freedom and embrace of self-confidence. When I was dating, there were many times when I was invited to a nude beach or resort. As long as my partner’s friends didn’t mind me being the only person with a bathing suit on, then I was fine. This was my way of trying to integrate myself into someone’s friend circle, but with my boundaries still intact. It’s not my first choice to do something like this, but I wanted to show my new partner that I was willing to branch out a little to see a glimmer of his world. As long as there is mutual respect and no judgment about individual comfort levels, then your gay relationship can be a strong one. It’s built on a foundation of making sure everyone is OK.
2. Realize Your Strengths and Admit Your Weaknesses
A quality I have found that I am good at is admitting when I am wrong. This has served me well in the context of conflict resolution. Someone emotionally intelligent and ready for a long-term relationship should be able to mitigate conflict through good communication.
When I’m in a relationship, I almost always am the partner who makes plans of things for us to do two weeks in advance. Previous partners knew that about me before we got together, and they relied upon my natural tendency for order. If I knew my partner wasn’t the best at making a plan, I often took the reins. Sometimes I needed a break and would give the responsibility to my partner. I made it known that everything now was in his hands and on his time management. If something didn’t turn out the way he wanted it to, he shouldn’t blame me for not jumping in unless he had asked for help.
Open conversations like this really help solidify the groundwork of what it means to be in an equal and strong relationship. You should constantly be taking quick mental notes about what your partner does for you and pay it forward to some extent. I’ve come to realize that I am pretty good at this, too, but by no means would I blame my partner for not being like me. It’s important to ask for help. It’s equally important to build up your awareness radar so your relationship can grow in a positive direction. Your partner should be elated when you ask him to do something he’s better at when he knows you would do the same. You both are working together to create something special.
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