Guest Post Written By: Lisa Shouldice, Individual, Couple, and Family Psychotherapist
As a lesbian, as well as a Psychotherapist who works with both heterosexual and LGBT couples, I have found that issues of jealousy and possessiveness are frequent concerns reported by lesbian couples who come to see me for relationship counselling. Although, no two relationships – lesbian or otherwise! - are the same, for many reasons, both societal and physiological, lesbian couples often share with me their experience of feeling very deeply connected, very quickly. And while this deep bonding can lead to an intense, beautiful “honeymoon period”, these intense dynamics can also lead to an increased fear of loss and jealousy that, many lesbian couples say, plagues their relationships resulting in escalating fights and the erosion of healthy intimacy. This loss of intimacy can be especially difficult in lesbian relationships where partners tend not only to be lovers, but also friends who belong to the same social circles, which often means more time spent together.
Based on my experiences helping couples maintain healthy intimacy in their relationships, the following are some points to help lesbian couples, in particular, work through issues of jealousy and possessiveness (note: couples of all types may also find these points helpful for promoting emotional connectedness, so please take note if any tips resonate for you!):
- Stay Connected Throughout the Day. Text, chat on lunch hours, and generally just touch base on what you’re up to. It can help you feel connected and sends the message that you’re open, available, and have nothing to hide.
- Be Open. When it comes to communication, there is no reason to keep secrets and be vague. While it may seem this mysteriousness is sexy, it does not lead to long-term health as a couple.
- Show You Are Thinking About Her. Bring a coffee home for her. Forward a joke you saw on social media you think would make her laugh. Small gestures to show her she’s on your mind can go a long way in creating/maintaining connection.
- Maintain Strong Boundaries in Your Friendships. Sharing a bed with a female friend when you are straight may feel like sisterhood, but when you are gay it can result in insecurity for your partner. Discuss boundaries with your partner and make sure you respect them.
- Communicate About Individual Needs. As in the point above, decide together when flirting is fun and when it is over the line. Respect this line. Be willing to share your needs, and be open to hearing your partner’s. Be curious and clarify when you do not understand.
- Trust Her Judgment. If she tells you she feels a colleague is hitting on you and not just being friendly, consider it as possible. Do not write it off as her “insecurities” and ignore her. Decide together how best to approach the situation.
- Validate Her Sexuality. Flirt with her. Kiss her and be affectionate. She has to feel sexy and know you are attracted to her.
If these ideas are incorporated into your role as a lesbian partner, I truly feel you will have healthier, happier relationships with the connections you desire.
Lisa Shouldice is a colleague of New Roots Therapy. She works as an individual, couple, and family psychotherapist in Toronto. She specializes in working within the LGBT and multi-cultural communities. She also works with trauma and all other mental health issues. For more information on Lisa's therapy practice, please visit www.lisashouldice.com or contact her at 416-953-6880.