John M. Becker

New Book Tells Stories, Secrets of Longtime Male Couples

Filed By John M. Becker | February 22, 2015 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: couples, gay male couples, long-term gay relationships, long-term relationships, Love Together, parenthood, partnership, relationship tips, stories, Tim Clausen

tim-clausen-author.jpgTim Clausen (pictured) is a jazz pianist and historian from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He says he's had several important relationships since coming out of the closet, but nothing that's lasted longer than a year or so.

But as the founder and leader of the Milwaukee Gay Fathers Group from 1995-2004, Tim's seen a lot of long-term male relationships form, bloom, and grow. This led him to wonder: what makes these relationships tick? How do these couples build and sustain partnerships that last for decades?

Clausen writes:

Over the years I've been both intrigued and mystified by certain longtime male couples I've met who appear to be extremely well matched, who seem to have this good, upbeat flow of energy between them. If, as author Kent Nerburn says, the key seems to be in choosing well, these pairs appear to have done just that.

I have often wondered, "Gee, how do they do it? Don't they get bored with one another? Run out of things to talk about? How do they keep things interesting in the bedroom, or did sex together as a couple go by the wayside long ago? How do they maintain harmony together for decades on end? Do they ever feel limited and stuck and miss their former freedom?"

Clausen says that even in an era of rapidly increasing acceptance of male relationships, there is a notable lack of role models for these kinds of relationships in our popular culture.

So to explore his questions and introduce Americans to more successful male couples -- and to hopefully inspire and encourage single gay and bisexual men interested in meeting a lifetime male partner -- Clausen conducted more than 100 interviews and compiled 22 of them into a new book, Love Together: Longtime Male Couples on Healthy Intimacy and Communication.

love-together-book-cover.jpgInterviewee Stuart Gaffney -- who along with his husband (and fellow interviewee) John Lewis has been a leader in the marriage equality movement for over a decade -- writes on Huffington Post:

"Love Together tells the stories of couples young and old, some together a dozen years and some together for over six remarkable decades. Nothing is hidden, as the couples tell of their ups and downs - some share deep dark secrets, and some share the secrets to living happily ever after.

"I'm so happy and honored to know my love story with John, along with the stories of many other amazing couples, are now on the shelf in that very same library two doors down from my childhood home - and online via Amazon and at www.lovetogetherbook.com - so a young LGBT person growing up today doesn't need to wonder if it might be possible to find love and happiness.

"Each story is completely different - ranging from how they met and navigated life's ups and downs, to the stirring end-of-life moments shared in the final chapters by Eric and Eugene - together for over 60 years up through Eugene's death just one week after they were finally able to legally marry."

Clausen's other subjects include the first same-sex military couple to legally marry in America, a pair of Buddhists who just celebrated 60 years together, a Catholic theologian, two Canadian men who write and illustrate their own line of gay erotic comics, a Christian pop-singing duo, and a Hollywood film industry couple who met on the last day of World War II.

The men open up about topics including sex, intimacy, monogamy/non-monogamy, parenthood, finances, dealing with the tough times, and communication. What emerges is a refreshingly honest portrayal of male love. Clausen doesn't try to analyze the couples' responses or interject himself into the story -- he just asks the questions and then lets them do the talking.

I'm digging into Clausen's book right now and loving every minute I'm spending getting to know these wonderful couples. Check it out -- you will, too.


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