As I think back on the past 24 years of providing couples counseling for gay male relationships, I sometimes get asked what the differences are that I see in general in gay male relationships that are again, in general , different from straight relationships. These are the issues that come up repeatedly in couples counseling sessions:. Statistically, white men tend to be relatively high earners. The sexism that women only earn a portion of what men earn, for the same work, extends to both gay men and straight men.
Gay men of color face a dual challenge in managing social reactions and pressures from being both gay and people of color, and also gender expectations. There are many potential pressures to face and overcome.
Straight men face a lot of social pressure, still, to earn more than their wives. How these dynamics are expressed, and the conflicts that can result, are often the impetus for entering couples therapy. The gay men that I work with are often from mixed cultures or different nationalities.
But it also adds an extra layer of mystery, excitement, exoticism, and fun. But along with cultural differences, such as language, food, spirituality, traditions, and habits, can be cultural differences about money. Just ask a scholar in feminist studies if that statement is true. Unlike straight couples, who up until relatively recently had the monopoly on legal recognition of their relationships before domestic partnerships and marriage equality laws , gay men were treated by the law as two unrelated individuals under one roof, especially for legal and tax purposes.
They are more likely to have joint bank accounts, joint tax filing, and automatic rights of survivorship on everything from ks to Social Security survivor benefits — and they have for generations. Sex — Gay male couples tend to approach sex differently. We all know that gay male couples are much more likely to entertain the idea of, or even be in, a non-monogamous relationship. So, part of my job in couples counseling is to help gay men understand this, and to avoid making direct comparisons to straight relationships all the time some of the time is OK, particularly in confronting double-standards and internalized homophobia.
While this is not necessarily unique to gay men, a big factor can be finding time for sex, when often both partners are busy, high-level executives or professionals who work extraordinarily long hours or have jobs that require frequent travel. Household Chores — Perhaps surprisingly to a non-clinician, the issue of how to equitably and fairly divide the list of common household chores can be frequent topic in conjoint therapy.
While modern straight couples sometimes like to pretend that they are oh-so-liberated, in reality, in many or most cases, the woman is subtly expected to, and ends up doing, the majority of the household chores related to keeping things clean, organized, in good repair, supplied, delivered, monitored, and humming along in a domestic household. In couples counseling, I generally recommend that a Master List of Required Household Chores be written down, which is exhaustive and comprehensive.
Who pays the bills? Who does the cleaning? Or, who supervises the cleaning? Apr 13, how you, girls guys can be the culture of thumb here are.
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