Michele O'Mara

50 Ways to Keep Your Lover: 1-3

Filed By Michele O'Mara | December 21, 2007 1:27 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: coming out of the closet, love, relationship, relatonship success, self-acceptance

In my book, Love Tips and Trips for Gay and Lesbian Relationships, I have identified 50 Ways to Keep Your Lover. There are no guarantees in love. There are, however, smart steps to take if you want to nurture your love long into the future. While Simon and Garfunkel have come up with 50 ways to leave your lover, I've come up with 50 ways to KEEP your lover. Look for new tips each Friday over the next few months and begin working on your relationship success one tip at a time.

1. Accept Yourself. OUTstanding couples realize that their relationship must take priority over the discomfort of potential rejection, social disapproval, or parental disappointment. Every choice you make that discounts your relationship will chip away at the integrity of your relationship, one piece at a time. You cannot be comfortable in a gay relationship if you are not comfortable in your gay skin.

If you don’t accept yourself and your attractions to members of the same-sex, then you are at a very high risk of eventually rejecting the one you love because he or she represents what you are not able to accept about yourself. We cannot build a strong foundation of love on fear and self-loathing.

2. Invest Yourself Wisely. You are the single greatest resource you will ever have. As the sole manager of the resource called “you,” you are in charge of how you use yourself in this life. The decision to join your life with another, in a committed relationship, is quite possibly the single greatest investment you will (or can) make with your life.

You invest yourself in a variety of ways. Your employment, for example, is an investment of yourself. The return on that investment is your paycheck, your sense of satisfaction, the ability to contribute to society, and for some, it provides a sense of meaning.

Though you are not in control of all of the variables in your life, you do have choices as to the manner in which you respond to what you experience, and how you pro-actively choose to invest yourself.

The investment you make when you choose a life mate, a partner, spouse, lover, or significant other is an investment that will affect every aspect of your life.

If you struggle to find meaning in your life before you enter a relationship you can be certain you will be disappointed when you do not find it in your relationship. This is because your relationship is an investment you make with your life to further yourself toward a higher good—your best self. Your relationship is not an end in and of itself. Your relationship is a means to an end that is shared by another who is ideally headed in the same direction.

In relationships, you have the opportunity to invest yourself intellectually, spiritually, socially, emotionally, and physically. This opportunity is different from any other investment; it encompasses every aspect of who you are and what you are about. If you invest yourself in a relationship that does not support the vision you have for your own life, then you are making a poor investment. Likewise, if you invest your life with someone who has a vision for his life that you are unable to support, you are also making a poor investment.

How you choose to invest yourself (your life), and how you manage the investment of your own life in a relationship with another directly affects the quality of your relationship, and the satisfaction you will experience in life. Are you investing yourself well?

3. Make a Commitment. Once you decide with whom you are going to share your life, make a conscious, intentional commitment that details your agreements and your vision for your relationship.

A commitment is a statement of intention. When you commit, you are holding yourself accountable to your word, your hopes, and your dreams. For many gay and lesbian couples there is no stated commitment, goal, or purpose described for their relationship.

Each decision that is made between same-sex couples requires intention and consciousness. Should you live together? Should you combine your money? It is not assumed that you will. There are no assumptions, really, that you will proceed with your relationship in any particular way at all. In many ways that is a liberating place to be. Without intentional planning and commitments, though, this can be overwhelming and confusing, and a road map for how to partner would sure be helpful.

When do you move in together? Who do you tell? Do you pursue parenthood? How? Do you have a commitment ceremony or go to Canada to get married? Who do you invite? Will they throw you a shower or send you anniversary cards? Do you take your partner home for Christmas? Or, do you go home at all if he is not welcome there? Nothing is automatic. Each decision, even if made easily, is a conscious decision.

Heterosexuals tend to date, get engaged, and then marry. It is a well-established tradition and one that has created an unconscious road map for most heterosexuals. This tradition is one that few heterosexuals question or consciously decide upon - it is simply a given. The threads of marriage weave in and out of every aspect of our culture. This unearned privilege, however, is not one shared by gay couples. You are on your own craft, your own relationship.

Another advantage of the heterosexual model of relationships is that in our culture, including institutions, families and friends, there is an understood language for interacting with married couples. It is considered odd if a heterosexual couple spends the holidays apart. It is unacceptable for the in-laws not to include the new spouse in invitations and social engagements, and it is assumed that the couple will vacation together, sleep in the same bedroom, get just one hotel room when traveling, share expenses, consider parenthood, live together, and the list goes on and on and on.

Stay tuned for Tips 4-6 next week!

Find more tips by Michele O'Mara at www.micheleomara.com.

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Fabulous. You really can offer people great gifts of knowledge. thank you.

Great tips, Michele. I can't wait to see the rest!

The investment you make when you choose a life mate, a partner, spouse, lover, or significant other is an investment that will affect every aspect of your life.

You'd think that this one would be so darn obvious that it would reach out and punch you, but sadly most of us don't think of that in love's first bloom.