It takes courage to reach out for help communicating with your partner in the lead-up to your big day, but it could ultimately save your relationship. We consulted with Adam D. Blum MFT, the Director and Founder of the Gay Therapy Center about what calls LGBTQ couples to the couch.
If you are finding it difficult to talk about an issue with your partner, it may be time to for therapy. “Many people delay it, but the sooner better in order to learn some key communication skills,” says Blum. “Not only will it help this relationship but it will probably help all of your relationships. There’s some core skills that can help us to talk about difficult topics.”
If your partner is reluctant, Blum recommends approaching the subject as something that can make a good thing better. “Tell your partner it’s something we can do for us. What can be more important than improving the way we talk to each other? Phrase it positively and always talk about yourself. Don’t approach it by saying ‘I hate when you do this; we need to go to couples counseling.‘ Rather say, ‘I notice that I’m feeling a little distance’ or ‘I’m feeling a little insecure in this relationship, and I think I might benefit from meeting with someone.’”
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Once you start counseling, it’s important to be open. Come ready to listen, share, speak truthfully and really see and take in your partner. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and find that inner child. “Most of us are not trained to be vulnerable, in particular gay men,” says Blum. “We are men; we socialize in the larger culture which says we aren’t supposed to be vulnerable. … We’re supposed to be strong. It can take time for men to feel vulnerable and tolerate that vulnerability when you share it with someone you trust.”
“One issue that brings a lot of couples into counseling is the issue of open relationships,” says Blum. “It’s something where gay men are different than other populations. Research shows that about half of gay men are in open relationships, and they require a high level of skills in communication. They can really fall apart if a couple isn’t able to be really great at talking about feelings and processing emotions.”
There’s no real prep work necessary before starting couples therapy. In addition to your sessions, your therapist may recommend homework, but it can be fun and bring you closer. Gay Therapy Center has highly trained therapists in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City and Washington D.C. and offers coaching services worldwide. When you’re ready to talk, visit thegaytherapycenter.com.
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Last modified: April 16, 2019