A recently attended conference on same sex couples really got me reflect on their bearings. My experience of dealing with them was pretty intriguing and enlightening in Europe – South East Asia being no different. While it is still a taboo to even open up about one’s sexual preferences in our country, discussing the intricacies of relationships between the two is almost implausible.
A client I was seeing had a rift with his partner. One would easily believe that the nature of their problems would be different to heterosexual couples – interestingly they aren’t! And the list would pretty much resonate the same as heterosexual couples. Commitment phobia to differences in seeking commitments, insecurities, jealousies, inadequacies et al. top the list of common conflicts. My client had broken up with his partner and was devastated. After courting each other for a couple of years, they had drifted apart. It was a long distance relationship. Frequent meetings dwindled to a few and finally nil.
A striking difference between these couples and the rest is the high commitment levels they invest while in their relationship. One of the main dynamics contributing to this phenomenon is the limited choice they have to get involved. Compared to wider choices the heterosexual couples enjoy, finding a partner matching one’s tendencies and nature becomes a bit challenging. There is a constant anxiety of a relationship malfunction looming over an uncertain future. Resultant anxiety sometimes has a cascading effect on other aspects of their relationship. It becomes a cause of trouble rather than a consequence of trouble, breeding insecurity extensively. With no guarantee to find someone sharing the same views, wavelength, rapport and feelings, the insecurity gives birth to fears, tensions, frustrations, pressures and anxieties. My client was no different. Fear of the unknown had catapulted him almost to the brink of a nervous breakdown.
I have realized that same sex couples require a little extra insight beyond normally required for heterosexual couples, since they have far more additional stressors ranging from personal, social to religious. Despite similar nature of problems, their conflicts have a bit more sensitivities only to be handled sensitively. Discrimination (at all levels) would play a key role in the personal challenges faced by most. Family support playing the biggest rider, considering their social dilemmas and quandaries, can certainly be a universal elixir for all – same as well as hetero. More the positive outlook of the family, better the coping mechanism, especially in terms of openness and acceptance. Inverse support leads to couples struggling to bring their relationship out in open and inhibitions in sharing relationship problems if any. Again, religious and orthodox societies add to the unreal guilt – converting anxiety into depression and spelling more trouble for the already affected.
Why defy the natural? Please don’t succumb to ‘what you don’t see doesn’t exist’ syndrome. Why be a cat with closed eyes only to avoid the real? Why not accept this reality sooner rather than later? Basic instinct is distinct – differently similar!!