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. 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. Fun — Fortunately, one huge and consistent benefit I have observed in gay male relationships over straight ones is that gay couples consistently demonstrate a youthfulness, playfulness, and sense of fun, especially with peers but also alone with each other. For gay male couples, loving and accepting the self individually and in context of each other, and society at large, can be a challenge. While this is common to affluent gay male couples, even middle class or working class gay couples seem to have an extra sense of discovering fun, creative pastimes.
Who supervises the gardener?
Gay Men’s Relationships: 10 Ways They Differ From Straight Relationships
Gay male couples tend to be more politically aware, and even more politically active attending protests, writing letters, attending fundraisers, observing boycotts, making donations than straight couples, because their rights and existence are challenged every day these days with a certain urgency and immediacy that straight couples are generally spared. 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. Who does the cleaning? A friend of mine once said that he believed gay men had particularly-evolved critical thinking skills. Who mows the lawn? How these dynamics are expressed, and the conflicts that can result, are often the impetus for entering couples therapy.
Fortunately, for most of the gay couples I have worked with, there have been surprisingly few seriously hostile in-law conflicts. How these dynamics are expressed, and the conflicts that can result, are often the impetus for entering couples therapy. This can be a certain mutual benefit, but it can also be a source of competition or even resentment of what the other has that he lacks. 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. These are the issues that come up repeatedly in couples counseling sessions: