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Gay Male Couples Lesbian Couples LGBT LGBT LGBT Relationships

December 2014 date for British Civil Partnership Conversions

Pinknews has learned that the British government will announce that the first date couples already in civil partnerships can convert to marriage will be 10 December 2014.

Civil partnerships, however, will not be extended to include straight couples.

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2014/06/26/exclusive-government-to-announce-december-date-for-civil-partnership-conversion/

It is understood that civil partnerships will remain for gay couples, and those who wish to convert to marriage will need to actively do so.

Gay couples will have the choice between a marriage or a civil partnership, and straight couples will only be able to get married.

Regardless of marriage status, Dean Richardson of iCounsellor.co.uk offers effective counselling for all forms of adult couple relationships in trouble.

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Gay Male Couples Lesbian Couples LGBT

Gay’s The Word (Bookstore)

I thought I’d mention this here: Gay’s The Word (Bookstore),

66 Marchmont Street
London
WC1N 1AB.

Telephone: 0207 278 7654
Website: http://www.gaystheword.co.uk/

Working with couples in counselling, my approach follows an incredibly helpful [tooltip text='Systemic therapy is a branch of psychotherapy that works with families and couples in intimate and platonic relationships to nurture change and development. It tends to view change in terms of the systems of interaction between family members.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_therapy'] systemic [/tooltip] / [tooltip text='Psychodynamics is the theory and systematic study of the psychological forces that underlie human behavior, especially the dynamic relations between conscious motivation and unconscious motivation.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychodynamics'] psychodynamic [/tooltip] framework for relationship therapy. One of the important features of this therapy is inviting & encouraging the couple to invite inspiration & creative approaches to tackling relationship problems.

It’s a common response to hear: …but we’ve tried everything” and “…but I don’t think creatively” and those protests need addressing with understanding and empathy in counselling.

As a couple counsellor, I do not offer solutions to a couple’s problems (I’ve simply learned that it can be a bit like buying a Paul McKenna book on “I can make you thin” giving someone the expectation they will have it done all for them by the writer/advice-giver) but I do sometimes offer sources of information that might help to ignite their own creativity.

Working with LGBT couples I’ve been surprise on how few of them know about Gay’s the Word in London. It’s such an excellent source of LGBT material (and more personal than, say, Amazon):-

Gay’s the Word are the UK’s pioneering first (and now the last surviving) lesbian and gay bookshop. Established in 1979 and located in the historic Bloomsbury district of London, they stock an enormous range of books; from the profound to the frivolous, from the liberating to the indulgent. Their fiction ranges from prize-winning literary works through to crime, romance and erotic fiction. Their non-fiction covers a wide range of issues from cutting-edge queer theory through to how to tell your mother you are gay. Their range of queer philosophical, political, historical and other scholarly works is unequalled in the UK. If they recommend a title, it’s because they’ve read it and particularly enjoyed it.

So, if you’re looking for some inspiring literature, some ideas on how you might begin to tackle sexual (or sexuality) issues in your relationship – pop into Gay’s the Word, purchase some things, have a read, and maybe come and discuss matters with me: Dean Richardson.

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Gay Male Couples

Developmental Stages of Gay Male Couples

Summarised from David P. McWhirter, MD and Andrew M. Mattison, MSW, PhD. Chapter: “Psychotherapy for Gay Male Couples”. Book: “A Guide to Psychotherapy with Gay and Lesbian Clients”, Ed. Gonziorek (1982). Original publication McWhirter & Mattison (1984, Prentice Hall 0-13-547661-5)

Introduction.

Over a 5-year period (1974 to 1979), the authors interviewed in depth 156 gay male couples [in the California, San Diego County area] who were not in therapy and had lived together anywhere from 1 to more than 37 years. The mean time in a relationship was 8.7 years, with median being slightly over 5 years.

Six stages of relationship were identified.  The first four stages occurred within the first 10 years of the gay couple’s relationship.

The stages were presented as tentative formulations needing further clinical trial and research validation.

The conceptualisation of developmental stages has been very helpful in the clinical approach to therapy with gay male couples.

Stage One: Blending (First Year)

Characteristics:

  • Blending
  • Limerence (falling in love, being romantically in love, intrusive thinking about the desired person, acute longing for reciprocation, sexual attraction).
  • Equality of partnership
  • High sexual activity

Blending is experienced as the intensity of togetherness gay men feel early in their relationships. Their similarities bind them, their differences are mutually overlooked.

Stage Two: Nesting (1 to 3 years)

Characteristics:

  • Homemaking
  • Finding compatibility
  • Decline in limerance
  • Ambivalence

By the second year, more attention is paid to their surroundings taking the form of homemaking activities. Couples in this stage also tend to see each other’s shortcomings and discover or create complementarities that enhance compatibility setting the stage for the mixture of positive and negative feelings about the value of the relationship: ambivalence.

Stage Three: Maintaining (3 to 5 years)

Characteristics:

  • Individualisation begins
  • Risk-taking
  • Dealing with Conflict
  • Relying on the relationship

Maintaining the relationship depends upon establishing balances between individualisation and togetherness, conflict and its resolution, autonomy and dependence, confusion and understanding. The intense blending of Stage Two clears the path for the re-emergence of the individual differences, indentified here as individualisation. Individualisation requires some necessary risk-taking.

Stage Four: Collaborating (5 to 10 years)

Characteristics:

  • Collaborating
  • Productivity
  • Establishing independence
  • Dependability of partners

After 5 years together, couples experience a new sense of security and a decreasing need to process their interactions. The individualisation of Stage Three can progress to the establishment of independence, sustained by the steady, dependable availability of a partner for support, guidance and affirmation.

Stage Five: Trusting (10 to 20 years)

Characteristics:

  • Trust
  • Merger of money and possessions
  • Constriction
  • Taking the relationship for granted

Trust develops gradually for most people. The trust of Stage Five includes a mutual lack of possessiveness and a strong positive regard for each other.

Stage Six: Repartnering (20 years and beyond)

Characteristics:

  • Attainment of goals
  • Expectation of permanence of the relationship
  • Emergence of personal concerns
  • Awareness of the passage of time

The twentieth anniversary appears to be a special milestone for gay male couples. A surprising number of couples reported a renewal of their relationship after being together for 20 years or more.

Comparing Studies.

When comparing the “Marital Stages” by E. Street (heterosexual relationships) with “Gay Male Partnership Stages” by McWhirter & Mattison, and interesting parallel emerges:-

Marital Stages
Gay Male Partnership Stages
1st RomanceStage One: Blending
2nd RealityStage Two: Nesting
3rd Power StrugglesStage Three: Maintaining
4th Finding OneselfStage Four: Collaborating
5th Working throughStage Five: Trusting
6th MutualityStage Six: Repartnering

See also Counselling for LGBT Couples.