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Same-sex couples have similar day-to-day challenges in their lives as heterosexual couples, but their lives differ due to the overt and subtle influences of a modern heterosexual culture, and can often be intolerant and oppressive. Other challenges arise due to the impact of the traditional expectations of gender roles in a relationship.
Same-sex couples’ relationships can be affected by complex issues. Because gay individuals often were never taught or accepted within the dominant culture or family system about what it means to be in a same-sex relationship, and specifically influenced by unhealthy shame-based belief systems, gay couples find maintaining healthy long-term commitment to be one of their primary challenges.
Relationships can be complicated as roles evolve and one partner becomes more distant, or ethnicity, cultural background, religion, social class, education, age, health, lifestyle and immigration status further complicate the relationship. Furthermore, people who question their attraction to same-sex relationships, go through phases of self-doubt or confusion, which, with some guidance, may lead to self-realization, personal acceptance and social acceptance. Partners may be in the same or different phase, which can also cause discord in a relationship.
Matt understands the societal and cultural challenges faced by same-sex couples. There are no unique treatments for same-sex couples. There is no elixir of treatments for same-sex couples, yet there is a successful method to repair and deepen the connection of a committed gay couple. The therapeutic methods used with heterosexual couples are used for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender pairs.
Matt can help you understand, for example, the influence of fear and shame upon same-sex couples, which often influence the depth of intimacy or closeness within the relationship, or with significant family and cultural support systems. Often, individuals attracted to the same sex are disengaged (or even disowned) by their families; alienated from their churches, mosques, or synagogues; and isolated in the workplace. In these situations, closeness in a couple may feel like survival, rather than the traditional concept of “closeness”. Matt can help couples recognize if this early stage defense mechanism is occurring in the relationship, and can help the couple heal and correct it.
The fact that many same-sex unions survive and thrive, despite many challenges, is a testament to the reality of the relationships and the desire for those relationships to be successful, vibrant and intimate. With current legalization of same-sex marriage, the foundation is being set for even deeper meaningful healing and resolution from the many years of personal human wounding experienced by committed same-sex relationships.
GHEZZI PSYCHOTHERAPY SERVICES
1881 NE 26th Street, Suite 70
Wilton Manors, FL 33305