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When you are getting to know a potential friend or lover, pay particular attention to how he or she:
  • reacts to stressful or unexpected circumstances
  • interacts with family members
  • expresses affection, anger, and other emotions
  • responds when you express your feelings.
Questions to ask yourself when you are becoming more involved with a possible partner (Ideally, your potential partner would ask himself the same questions):
  1. Am I capable of loving, trusting, and sharing myself with this individual?
  2. Can I accept this person as he is now, without trying to change him or expecting him to change himself?
  3. Am I willing to tolerate his imperfections and respect his thoughts and feelings even when they are different from my own?
  4. Can I give to or be in a relationship with this person without going against my own values or sacrificing my own needs?
  5. Do I respect him?
  6. Do I feel safe with him?
  7. Do I trust him?
  8. Do I enjoy his company?
  9. Do I have the freedom with him to be who I am and to change.
  10. Do we share any common interests or goals?
  11. Can I be an equal partner with him in this relationship?
  12. Can you reveal and share your innermost thoughts and feelings with him (including your deep dark secrets, your hopes, your dreams, your fears, your beliefs, and significant events from your childhood or past)?
  13. Can I share and be intimate with him on an Emotional level, on a Spiritual level, an Intellectual level, a Physical level, and on a Social level?
  14. Do you both agree about wanting or not wanting children?  And YES this is true of GAY relationships too.
Please remember that it may take a long time to find out the true nature of a person.  This is why I always advise going slow and getting to truly know someone before you hire a U-haul and move him in.

Ideally, a good requirement would be feeling more than just lust for a guy.  You would ideally feel some sense of "soul attraction," for want of a better phrase, and love for him. You should feel safe and secure with him.  


Whoever said, "ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE" was an Idiot.  For your Relationship to Survive, Grow, & Thrive, both of you need to want the relationship to work bad enough to be willing to:
  1. Work hard and diligently to make your relationship work, as the years go by.
  2. Keep your partner and your relationship the number one priority in your life, always.
  3. TRUST your partner, something that should grow with time.
  4. Be willing to Sacrifice, Compromise and Adapt when necessary.
  5. Love and Accept each other Unconditionally.
  6. Be Open and Honest with each other, sharing your life at all levels—No Secrets.
  7. Be diligent in Communicating with each other, especially around needs, feelings and emotions—your partner is not a mind reader.
  8. Treat each other with Respect, and Respect each other's knowledge, skills, beliefs, views and opinions.
  9. Support each other's growth and dreams.
  10. Be faithful to whatever promises you have made to each other.
  11. Work to keep yourself healthy reasonably fit (cardiovascular, pulmonary, endurance, muscle tone, etc).
  12. Recognize each other's sexual needs, and work to compromise between them if necessary.
  13. Work to keep sex fulfilling for both of you, through imagination, exploration and experimentation.
  14. Be there when your partner needs you, physically, emotionally, spiritually, socially, and financially.
  15. Negotiate, argue, and fight with each other in good faith.
  16. Work to forgive each other and have compassion for each other.
  17. Make responsible decisions that take your partner into consideration, since the consequences to your partner could be profound.
  18. Make no major decisions without at least discussing it with your partner, out of respect.
  19. Share the household upkeep, chores, and cooking so that both of you have an equal burden.
  20. Be sure to give each other enough time TOGETHER, but also give each other the Space and Time-Alone you each NEED.
  21. Be willing to go to Marriage/Couples Counseling if your partner asks you to.
  22. Not give up on the relationship without first trying everything reasonable to salvage it.
In long-term relationships, love alone will not take you very far. In fact, with my parents as an example, you don't need any love at all to be in a long-term relationship—dislike and hate seems to work too.  Love sure helps though...

Remember Unconditional Love & Acceptance?  There is NO BETTER FEELING in life, than to be unconditionally Loved and Accepted for who you are.  It cannot happen if you lie to each other.  This is about knowing all of the good, the bad, and the ugly about each other, and knowing all of that, still loving each other, unconditionally.

If you say, "I love him except for...but I will break him of the habit," then this is not unconditional love.  You take him or her, "AS IS".  Change is welcome, and it is really important to support each other through change, but not to force change, or demand it. If your partner smokes and you hate that, you can choose to:
  1. Break-up
  2. Do Nothing
  3. Buy a Case of Mouthwash and your partner to smoke outside or at an open window

Never Value Each Other Based On Age, Beauty, Wealth, Power, Fame, Intelligence, Skills, Or Physical Strength You should both be valued EQUALLY, based on the Content Of Your Character.


My partner and I almost never argue and seldom ever have.  We NEGOTIATE, we DISCUSS, but almost never argue, bicker, or fight. If voices get raised, it is typically due to passion for the subject, or being emotionally distraught.  Arguing and fighting is actually not that normal.  It might be normal in your family system, which often acts as your role model for your relationships.

Couples tend to fight over Sex, Money, Power/Control, Time/Attention, Perceived Disrespect, Lack of Joint Decision Making, Children, and Disagreements in Philosophy, Beliefs, Views, and Opinions.

Never let anything sit and stew. If something is bothering you, if he or she said something or did something, then bring it up and talk about it.  At first, this seems to be a pain in the ass, talk, talk, talk,  but as time goes by, you learn and understand each other so much better, that less is required.

Never end the day mad or angry with your partner or with each other.  Settle it first, even if you have to stay up all night to do it.

HINT: Your partner IS NOT A MIND READER.  DO NOT ASSUME ANYTHING in relationships.  If you say, "I Love You," then say exactly what you mean when you say it.  Do romantic things.  Use your imagination.

Young love has a low survivability for one major reason. You are both changing, maturing, and growing as people, at a rapid rate, and sometimes at different rates.  The challenge is to stay connected while this is happening, and you do this through constant sharing.  It is a lot of work.  Even as adults the changes keep going.  I am a very different person now, compared to 30, 20, and even 10 years ago.

Arguments over sex are almost always over how much sex, quality of the sex, unwillingness to experiment or lack of variety or spontaneity. Arguments about time are almost always about not getting enough time or attention for each other, or stress over lack of time.

In loving relationships, we share on many levels, Socially, Physically, Spiritually, Emotionally, Intellectually, Sharing of the Heart, and the Sharing of Space and Time. But this does not mean you have to agree with each other. You can have very different outlooks, different spirituality, etc. The idea is to share these things, SUPPORT them in each other, support growth in each other, even if you disagree with it.  If your partner wants to change careers and you disagree, you need to supper his or her decision.

If you are fighting over disagreements in philosophy, beliefs, views, opinions, etc, then you are not respecting each other.  A lot of fighting is over perceived put-downs, not feeling respected, not being listened to, not being taken seriously, etc.

Some couples snipe at each other with sharp verbal barbs, use small put-downs, or use innuendo and backhanded insults, often in public and in front of friends.  They may not even consciously know they are doing it, but it is destructive.  It is important to recognize it is happening, then call him or her on it each and every time until the habit is broken.  Some of the attacks can be very subtle, and they add up. Then one day you suddenly find yourself very angry with your partner, or feeling worse about yourself, and perhaps not knowing why.

BUTTON PUSHING: When you get to know someone, you learn their buttons, things you can say or do to upset him or her.  Some people use these buttons to attack, especially during fights and arguing, or to ambush. I have seen people who play their partner's buttons like a grand piano. This is obviously destructive. Stop doing it or start calling your partner on it if he or she is doing it.  It has to stop or it will help tear you apart.  This is bad behavior.   You should also work on getting rid of your buttons, not letting things trigger your anger or get you emotionally upset.

USING SHARED SECRETS AS A WEAPON: I once opened up to my first partner about something I was ashamed of in the past, and when we argued he would throw it back at me, and it was extremely painful and I felt betrayed each and every time he did it. We share things with a lot of trust. It is possible he or she may not be aware of how badly you are being hurt, so be sure to point it out.

If you are Arguing, Fighting and Bickering, then I suggest you take action to make it stop.  Marriage or Couple's Counseling can help a lot by teaching you negotiating techniques, and better communication tools, like better listening, discussing problems, etc.

CHANGE is a major DANGER point to relationships, because it is easy to drift apart if you become complacent.  Relationships need regular maintenance.  It is also real easy to start taking each other for granted, which is a really big mistake.  SUPPORT change in your partner, instead of knocking his or her ideas down and resisting change.  You do nor need to fear change in your partner if you participate in it.

CAREER VS RELATIONSHIP: For some people, career is more important than their relationship, and if the situation comes down to choosing between them, some choose their career.  It can be a matter of choosing to spend more time with your partner instead of being a complete stranger, or it may be a matter of not being able to move to anew location to get a big promotion. My personal opinion is that this is folly. The LOVE you have in a healthy relationship will give you much more happiness and fulfillment than a particular career path.  I have seen this throughout my life.  Unfortunately, it is hard for many to see, and they learn the hard way.  There is no way to even know if the new move and promotion would actually be better for your career in the long run.

HOW WE VALUE OURSELVES & EACH OTHER: Never Value Yourself or Each Other Based On Age, Beauty, Wealth, Power, Fame, Intelligence, Skills, Or Physical Strength. You should both be valued EQUALLY, based on the Content Of Your Character. This creates a lot of problems in relationships.  Self-worth for one of you can suffer. Resentment can build.  Yet, how often do you see one partner with most of the power and control in the relationships you have seen? It happens that way too often.

WALKING AWAY: It is so easy for guys to walk away at the first sign of difficulty. My partner and I have sworn to each other that no matter how bad it gets, we will at least TRY EVERYTHING POSSIBLE before giving up.  At one point, we even went to couples counseling. Women tend to bond faster and stronger.

HURTING EACH OTHER:  It is a given that at some point your partner will hurt you intentionally, as well as unintentionally. People are fallible.  It is foolish to believe that love will prevent you from hurting the one you love, given certain circumstances.  DON'T EXPECT OR DEMAND PERFECTION FROM YOUR PARTNER.  Be ready to FORGIVE, IF the circumstances warrant it.

FORGIVENESS: Neither one of you is perfect, and it is guaranteed that you will hurt each other at times, even intentionally. Forgiveness in a relationship is a necessity, as is Forgetting. It does no good to keep bringing up past mistakes, using them as a weapons against your partner. It will only make him resent you. Forgiveness is NOT about exonerating wring doing. Forgiveness is about LETTING GO of the negative emotions resulting from what was done to you. Negative emotions like rage, anger, hate, desire for revenge & retribution are seductive, because they can actually feel good in a way, but they will also destroy relationships and harm YOU in the long term.

COMMUNICATION: The real secret to long-term relationships is in being able to and willing to COMMUNICATE. If you cannot talk things through, you have little chance of making it. He or she is not a mind reader. There is too much ASSUMING in relationships. If you are feeling afraid or jealous, it MUST be talked about, or it will eventually sabotage the relationship.  There is NO HOPE for a relationship if you cannot talk through problems.  There are all kinds of ways to avoid talking, like Walking Away, like crying and then refusing to talk, like Accusing (You don't love me).  You may disagree with each other, but talk it through and look for middle ground. My partner and I sometimes went in circles for hours, but eventually we made progress. He was willing to keep going as long as it took, even if it meant getting no sleep before work the next morning.

It is very important that partners feel safe and free to talk to each other about ANYTHING, especially when it has to do with sex.  You should be able to ask your partner to do anything sexual, with the understanding that the answer may be NO.  You should be able to talk about sexual fantasies and desires, sexual positions, or even to request bringing in a third person for three-way sex, or to ask for an Open relationship or a Polyamorous relationship.  Some people will respond to sexual requests with offense, outrage, derision, put-downs, disgust, etc, whenever a partner suggests or asks for anything unusual.  Others get immediately defensive, like you don't love me anymore if you are asking me for this. It feels great to know you have the freedom to talk about anything you want to with your partner, and to be able to explore new things.

LISTEN carefully to what he is saying. Try to understand what is being said, without assumptions. Ask questions for clarification. Make sure you understand. This is not easy when talking about feelings, like not being happy in the relationship. Notice his body language, which may say more than his mouth. We all listen with filters, listening for key words and phrases that mean different things to different people, based on our culture, life experiences, etc.  I once gave a compliment to my ex-partner and he threw a shoe at me.  He did not know the word and just assumed it must be a bad word.  Sometimes he felt I was being condescending to him because I used words he did not know.  It was not intentional, I spoke like I always speak, but we came from different backgrounds. They were not 'big words' to me.  We eventually came to understand each other better, but it took a lot of checking-in with each other


EXPRESS YOUR FEELINGS & SHARE the important things going on in your live.  You will be surprised at how fast you two can drift apart, and once you drift apart, it is harder to pull back together. Staying connected takes effort. For men, it can be so much easier just not to say anything, especially if things have not gone well at work, or you are feeling tired or in a depressed mood. But if you make the effort, it is probably going to help you feel better.  It is like investing into the relationship, like you invest money for a later gain.

DON'T BE GLORIFIED ROOMMATES with benefits, just two guys sharing the same the same living space.

CONNECT WITH EACH OTHER every single day, in some meaningful way.

MAKE TIME TO BE TOGETHER, but also MAKE ALONE-TIME & SPACE for yourself. We all need our own space, but everyone has different needs. Some people need much more Alone-Time and Space, and if they do not get it, it will drive them away.

STRIFE in relationships is almost always about SEX, MONEY, & POWER. What if one of you wants and needs more sex than the other? The right thing to do is to compromise. If you need a lot more, get porn and jerk-off. If you want a lot less, be willing to be seduced at least some. Typically you will get in the mood once things get moving.

MONEY: It is a huge mistake to ever equate money with Worth in a relationship, like he makes more money than me so he gets more say in the relationship, or the other way around. Money and wealth has nothing to do with your value as a person, OR your value in a relationship. However, you should both be carrying part of the load. If you don't work and he does, than take care of the house or apartment, the cooking, etc. My Ex-partner did not work and was a house-husband.  I valued his role.

My current partner and I maintain separate finances, investments, and retirement accounts, plus we have a shared checking account. All bills for utilities, etc are split evenly. Groceries and toiletries are split by shared, his alone, and mine alone. All big purchases are discussed, even if it is going to be just his, or just mine.  I have never said NO, but will give my opinion.  It is out of RESPECT that we always discuss such things.

LEGALITIES: We created Trusts, Wills, Powers of Attorneys for Health and Financial, in the event one of us become incapacitated or dies. Because of the Trust, it will escape probate and cannot be contested by anyone. When you are in a relationship, you should be responsible about each other.  We are now DOMESTIC PARTNERS in the State of Washington.

WARNING: Once you travel outside of your State, most of your Domestic Partner rights go away, so if something happens to one of you, the other will have no say in your care. This is because of the federal Law DOMA (Defense Of Marriage Act), where Same Sex Marriages and Domestic Partnerships are not recognized by any other State or the Federal Government.  Therefore, it is still very important for you and your partner to be protected by deferred Health Care and Financial Powers of Attorney.

DEATH: It is a horrible mess when a gay partner dies and there is no legal paperwork done. The survivor may get nothing and may even lose what he or she has in the house or apartment.  I have seen it all. You can make a Last will on a napkin if you want, and it will keep you from dying intestate.  You can buy cheap fill in the blank Wills and Powers of Attorney forms at Stationary stores, or on-line.

CHORES should be shared. Resentment will build if one has to do all the cleaning, cooking, repairs, paying bills, etc.  It is very easy to fall into roles where one partner is being badly used by the other.  It may seem Ok if the person is willing to be used, but in the end, it will end in disaster, because it will erode his sense of self-worth, and resentments will build.

EQUAL PARTNERSHIP: In my experience, the relationships that survive are the ones that are a true partnership of EQUAL PARTNERS. That does NOT mean making the same amount of money. It has to do with both sharing as equally as possible, respecting each other AS EQUALS. Daddy/Son relationships, Master/Slave, Dominant/Submissive, these things don't tend to have lasting power.

KEEP AN OPEN MIND, always. Be willing to try new things to work around problems. We are Gay, so don't get caught up in GENDER ROLES, male and female roles, dominate and submissive roles, or other such things. Define your own relationship in whatever way works.


SEX needs to be flexible. Don't get in a rut doing the exact same things every time. For me, change came natural.  We tried many things and experimented a lot (some things never to be repeated lol), and likes and dislikes changed naturally with time.

There is a big difference between Having Sex and Making Love.
    HAVING SEX is when the primary focus is on your own pleasure and gratification.
    MAKING LOVE is when the primary focus in on giving pleasure to your partner, which in turn, gives you pleasure and gratification. Making Love is all about expressing your love through sexuality.
Some men and women get into the habit of having sex when they are single, and then bring that to their relationship, continuing that pattern.  Making Love is all about expressing your love through sexuality. It sustains a relationship in the long-term and reinforces the loving connection, thus making it the healthier long-term choice for a relationship.

In both heterosexual and homosexual sexuality, being a Bottom (vaginal or anal receptive) does not mean being submissive, and in fact, the bottom can be in complete control. Being a Top does not mean you are dominate or in control. Being submissive or dominant, at any given time, should be a choice, and is separate from what sexual position you take. Rigid Sexual Roles, where one partner is always being submissive or always being dominate, tends to have less staying power for long-term relationships,as it severely limits sexual variety. Variety is the spice of life, if you prefer being a bottom, at least some of the time be a top, it helps keep sexuality from getting stuck in a dull rut as the years go by.

What if your partner says no Anal sex forever, or no Oral sex forever? Such limitations are difficult, but I have lived with it. IF it is important to you, it is like giving up part of your sexuality. This becomes a big choice about staying or leaving. If you stay, don't harp on it all the time, because it was your choice staying with such a limited person.

It seems like a very selfish thing to do, to deliberately be so limiting and tell your partner you are not going to do a number of things.  It is like marrying a woman and then having her say, "There will be no vaginal intercourse, only oral sex."  In my view, I want to please my partner any way I can, as long as it is not degrading or harmful.  But some gay men will say they will not do anal sex, or only be a "top" or only be a "bottom," no matter how distressful and limiting that is to their partner's sexual needs. It is like saying, "I don't give a damn about your sexual desires or needs."

Some people will ONLY do FROTTAGE, which is sex by rubbing against each other, and no oral or anal sex.  This can be fear induced.

Personally, I never understood why anyone would want to voluntarily LIMIT their sexuality.

What if there is no sex? Is it by choice? If your partner has no libido, no desire, and refuses to do anything about it, like seeing the doctor, checking testosterone, etc, or if it is simply his or her choice not to have sex, it is Ok to talk about an open relationship, because it is asking too much to ask you to give up sex.

If there is no choice, like it will eventually be with me, as I get closer to dying, I have already given permission for my partner to get sex elsewhere. I do not want to be selfish, and I want him to be happy. There is a risk of him falling in love with someone else, but I TRUST him not to leave me even if that happens.

There can be PHYSICAL INTIMACY without sex. This can sometimes be enough, getting lots of skin contact, kissing, and caressing.

In cases when one partner has a higher libido (sex-drive) than the other, he or she should be allowed to use Masturbation and Pornography for sexual gratification.  Just because you don't want more sex should not mean your partner should do without.  It would be bad for the relationship to demand he not satisfy himself, or she not satisfy herself.  Yet I have seen a number of cases where this was made into a huge issue, like, "If you love me, then you wouldn't need Porn and Masturbation."  That is just a selfish statement. The idea is to WANT your partner to be happy and fulfilled, short of getting it from other men.

In my observation, relationships that include degrading treatment, even when desired by both parties, is a recipe for disaster.  In both sexual and non-sexual situations, behavior can be either submissive or degrading, depending not only on how the person is treating you, but more importantly, how you are desiring to be treated, and the difference can be either subtle, or glaring.  It is extremely unhealthy to degrade someone or to desire to be degraded, even if it heightens sexual enjoyment, because it will erode the recipients self-worth over time.

Being called degrading names, being treated in a degrading manner, or as a "slave" or subservient person, can greatly harm a person psychologically, and I have seen what it can do to people. So I highly suggest not even role playing such things on a regular basis. Words have power.  Daddy/Son relationships, Master/Slave, Dominant/Submissive, these things don't tend to have lasting power, although some do last.  Typically, the roles have to become more and more extreme to be able to get-off on it.


Codependency is viewed as a Bad thing, but it is actually present in ALL Healthy Relationships.  We need water to live, but we can drown in a puddle of water.  Good and bad are relative terms.

Codependency needs to be IN BALANCE to be heathy.  Imagine a seesaw with a pivot in the middle.  On one end is "NEEDING to Take Care of Others," and on the other end is "NEEDING to be taken care of."  The ideal balance is to be in the middle and not NEED either one, but to participate in both.

BAD CODEPENDENCY is all about being on the extreme end of the seesaw, "Out Of Balance."  I am an expert on it because I lived it with my second X-Partner.  I defined myself by taking care of people.  I was a Chameleon who adapted myself to whoever needed to be taken care, defining myself accordingly.  When my partner left me, the floor dropped out from under me.  I didn't know what to do.  I was lost.  I had no purpose.  My life had be defined by taking care of him.  He was the other side of the seesaw, and needed to be taken care of. I also lived to make him happy, like it became the primary goal of my life.  I had too little sense of self.  I later found myself unable to find happiness in my own company, because I came to depend on him for my happiness. I lost myself in taking care of him, sacrificing everything for him. I was rather pathetic.

Who was the Villain? He looks like the Villain because he USED me badly, but it takes two to Tango, and I ALLOWED myself to be used.  I cannot blame him alone.  We both share blame.  What about him?  His self-worth eroded over time as he was completely kept (taken care of).  He did contribute to the care of the home, but he refused to recognize it, since it was against his upbringing. He felt worse and worse about himself.  I began to resent always having to do everything, decide everything, make all the money, worry about paying the bills, fill all of his prima-dona needs, etc, and he spent vast sums of money on drugs, alcohol, and a lot more. I felt helpless because I was incapable of saying NO. We were both became very unhappy, but had no idea why.

In a HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP, we take care of each other, and allow ourselves to be taken care of, in a balanced way.


I have an aggressive form of Arthritis, a disease which has slowly but surely crippled me, and Greg now cares for me a lot, taking me to appointments, does more chores, supplies a shoulder to cry on, etc.  It is a big burden of time and energy, which he freely gives.  Sometimes he enjoys taking care of me, as a way of expressing his love for me, and sometimes he gets frustrated, tired, and even resentful.  I never fault this because I Understand how much STRESS he is under.

But despite my being crippled, I take care of him in ways too.  Because I love him so much, I am also frightened at what may become of him when I die.  After so many years, can he survive? He is not sure.  It is not a given.  I have offered him a FREE PASS out of the relationship, GUILT-FREE, but he says he WANTS to be with me to the very end, no matter how bad it gets.  I want him to find new love, a replacement for me, but he has to survive grief and loss first.

If he were to find a new love now, I would want him to take the opportunity, because I love him so much, and I would rather see him happy, than suffer through my end. It would be devastating to me, but I am a goner anyway, why drag him down too.  Part of LOVE is being SELFLESS.  We willingly sacrifice for each other.  I have made a GREAT sacrifice for him, and it took me years to reconcile myself to it.  But it was my choice to make the sacrifice for the sake of having him in my life.


We have been together 20 years. Our relationship has needed a lot more than Love to survive adversity, our differences, a changing environment, my illness, the death of others, and much more.  It requires unconditional love, commitment, trust, being honest and open (even if it hurts), always being willing talk through problems, not giving into temptation (being faithful), and being there for your partner, even at the very worst of times.

I developed arthritis when I was around 12 years old, but it did not have a major impact on my life until the latter end of 30.  Only a few years after meeting my husband, it started to get worse.  In the last 10 years, it became more and more crippling. He has staid with me and helped me through all of it, and I know, without doubt that he will be with me to the end.  This is what love is about.

Promises should be well thought though.  Greg knew about how my previous two partners had used me, how they had promised, "UNTIL DEATH DO US PART" and then used that promise like toilet paper. He suggested a different approach.  We would promise each other, "TO NOT BREAK-UP UNTIL WE HAD TRIED AND EXHAUSTED ALL POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS FIRST."

Next, we decided that it was stupid to throw away a good relationship over one mistake.  A relationship needs Forgiveness.  We promised that if one of us were to make a mistake and have sex with another man, it would be immediately confessed, and immediately forgiven.  Then we would use safe-sex through a six month testing cycle.  After 20 years, it has not been needed yet.  This will not work if your partner is having a long-term affair or keeps making "mistakes."

We have had some rough patches, almost breaking-up, but the two of us were always willing to keep talking and trying, not willing to give-up until we had tried everything. It is in the very process of trying so hard to stay together that became the glue to bind us together.  We were looking for a specific solution and never really found one. Just trying hard to stay together and work through problems became the solution.

We also promised not to let problems or negative feelings fester, to not go to bed mad. This is not that easy to do in practice, but if you stick with it, it becomes habit.

We are very different people, which made getting along difficult at first.  Love really helped then. We went through a difficult time, but it was adversity, caring for a dying friend, which made our love stronger and cemented our relationship.

Yes, we are very different, but I bring things to his life he would not otherwise have had, and brought him a view of the world and life different from his. I brought him to a place of peace, and he brought me out more in the open, and exposed me to things I never dreamed of. He brought me his own vision and spiritual sense.  We are better people for it.

Together, we are a good team.  Where I am weak, he is strong, and likewise for him.  He is a man of integrity, I trust him with my life. We make a strong team by being different from each other, and we have had a great deal of Personal Growth because we are so different.

But please know this of all long-term relationships, it is not all rosy.  There will always be areas of difficulty, like one wanting a lot more sex than the other one wants, or money issues, or control issues, so you have to be willing to compromise, and sacrifice, which can sometimes can be very difficult to do.

We were both came to the relationship badly damaged by childhood abuse, relationships, and death.  Most guys bring their own baggage to a relationship.  So being emotionally supportive is crucial. Remember a golden rule, NEVER EVER try to change your partner.  He will change for sure, but if you try to force a change, it will end in disaster.

In the early days of our relationship, I was still in counseling.  My counselor asked me to write the emotional story of my life.  This took a very long time to do.  Just like in a 12 step program, he suggested that I pick a safe person to tell it to out-loud.  I chose Greg.  I had no idea how raw and how powerful it would be.  Actually saying it to someone was like ripping open my heart to be seen fully.  I told of the autism, the abuse, the depression and loneliness, the suicide, the rape, and all the rest, and kept breaking down in tears throughout the telling.  I had not expected it and neither did Greg, who was almost in shock. He had never seen this kind of openness and vulnerability, and I could see him withdraw.

I thought I had made a terrible mistake in picking him to be the one to hear my story.  It changed his view of who I was and who I had been.  I tried to explain that I became a strong person because of all of that stuff.  Greg just needed time to process it all.  In the end, when he said he loved me, it meant he loved the true me, the one he saw that day, the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly, and he accepted and loved me unconditionally.

I would rather he love the real me, than the me he thought I was when we met, the self-made man of strength, success, and leadership was just the OUTSIDE of me.  I felt very free having someone know, love and accept me for the things I had kept secret and ashamed of for so long.

Shame looses much of its power, once it is shared with another.


One night, I was looking for a partner for a dance lesson at a gay C&W bar and dance hall. I didn't even like C&W music that much, but dancing allowed me instant intimacy, a social life, and a fun activity. All I had to do was ask, "Do you want to dance?" and I had a man in my arms.

Anyway, I saw a guy who was alone and thought, "He's not much to look at (I know, how shallow), but he'll do," and he said yes to being my partner for the lesson.  As we chatted and goofed-off, I was struck by how much fun I had with him and how interesting he seemed.

Despite being 35, I had never actually asked a man for his phone number, for friendship or a date (I always got asked by other guys—I was shy), but I got the courage to ask him for his phone number, which he reluctantly gave to me.  I explained that it was to explore a possible friendship.  When I later called him to set up a day and time, he went through the dance of, "My calendar is really full," so I asked him when the next opening was and he told me, "in six weeks."  I was disappointed but asked him to pencil me in.  Then I got pushy and asked, "As long as you have your appointment book out, let's set-up a second time," and he was amenable to that.

We got together a few times, mostly to dance and share dinner, and then spent a Saturday together doing some canoeing. When we got back to his place, he went to clean-up and when he walked back into the room, I was suddenly struck by how good looking he was, and then realized that I was as hard as a rock, totally turned-on. I figured it must be love.

Remember, I WAS NOT EVEN PHYSICALLY ATTRACTED TO HIM WHEN WE MET. The moral of the story is that I fell in love with him, and when that happened, he became TOTALLY HOT looking and gorgeous to me, and he still is after all of these years.  That is the power of love, and I have seen it happen in other straight and gay couples. You could be passing over the love of your life, time and again, by filtering-out everyone except for the best looking people to date.

Love is what keeps sex interesting and alive with the same person, as the decades fly by. Love is what makes your partner look great, as the decades fly by.  Without love, sex with the same person gets boring fairly quickly.  There are people who have serious Intimacy Issues. For some, Love and Sex become separated. A person like this can fall deeply in love, but as soon as sexual intimacy starts, it is not long before sex for that person becomes boring. It is very tragic.

When Greg and I met, we dated, then spent weekends together and went on day trips together.  But we decided to do something rather novel in the Gay community, we chose not to be sexually intimate until, or if, we fell in love.  It took four and a half months to the BIG day.  I would periodically ask him, "Do you love me yet?" and he would say, "No, not yet, but please don't go way, I need more time."  So, I gave him time.

The point is that sexual energy is so potent that it can interfere with getting to know each other and finding trust.  It can make it feel like you are in love, when you might not be.  It is harder to tell if you are feeling infatuation or love when you are also being sexually intimate.

We made a big deal out of consummating our love. We took a Ferry from Seattle to Victoria, Canada, where we checked into a nice hotel, dressed-up and went to the Queen Elizabeth Theater to see Phantom Of The Opera. We went to supper and the String Quartet came over and serenaded us.  We must have been obvious. No one else got the treatment while we were there. Then back to the Hotel to make love for the first time.


There is a huge difference between having sex and in making love.  In SEX, the primary focus is on your own pleasure and gratification, while in MAKING-LOVE, the primary focus in on giving pleasure to your partner, which in turn, gives you pleasure and gratification.  Add love to the mix…


In an Open Relationship, both of you agree that it was Ok to have sex with whoever, whenever and wherever you please, but of course couples can set limits as they desire, especially around Safe-sex.  These relationships, in my observation, do not last long.  They depend entirely on everyone trusting each other that their hearts will never go to anyone outside the relationship, and outside sex will basically be indiscriminate, with no emotional connections.

Greg and I once opened our relationship for a little while.  But I warned Greg that I am incapable of anonymous or indiscriminate sex.  I HAVE to have an emotional connection with my sexual partner.  This was bound to doom the experiment. Open relationships depend entirely on Trust, trust that your heart will not stray from your partner/spouse.

I was just forming a new friendship and he jumped at the chance to date me, and I agreed. I told him upfront that Greg is my Husband and I will not leave him. We had a great time doing things together and dancing, and we did things together with my partner Greg, including dining out, dancing, clubs, etc.  I felt very Cosmopolitan.  Oddly enough, there almost no sex, since he had a serious Intimacy Issue, and basically needed danger and anonymous sex. I was willing to work with him to overcome it.

Then he gave me an ultimatum to leave Greg or loose him. I told him I did love him, but I made it clear from the very beginning that I was NOT going to leave Greg, so why can't you share me? He said he did not want to share me. I told him I had plenty of love to go around… It turned out that Greg had felt Jealous after-all, and he closed the Relationship.

What I learned is that I am very capable of loving more than one man at the same time.  I have a lot of love give.  This IS NOT A SEXUAL THING I am talking about, it is LOVE. Hey, I could easily keep up with both of them sexually too, given the chance, LOL.  I would be open to a Polyfidelity relationship, but Greg and I are so different from each other, it would be difficult to find someone we were both into, plus Greg is not so keen on the idea.

I like to exist in the world of ALL POSSIBILITIES, with an open mind and heart, and with compassion. It can be easy to Judge the relationships of other people, but I say it is good and healthy for Couples to explore and find whatever RELATIONSHIP DYNAMICS work best for them, and the heck with what other people think. If you can make a 3 or 4 person relationship work, or a Master/Slave relationship work, all the more power to you.


Polyamorous Relationships are relationships where there are 3 or more members in the group. They can all be the same gender or mixed gender.  The relationship can be sexually open or closed.

Polyfidelty is when all member of the group agree to be sexually exclusive with each other only—No sex outside the relationship.

It would be a mistake to judge these relationships as wrong or bad.  I have seen some work very well.  The higher the number of people in a group, the lower the odds of long-term success.  Three or four in a group is the most typical.

JEALOUSY is the enemy. Survival of the relationship depends on all members pretty much equally loving each other.  If one member is there because he or she only loves one of the Group, it will not work.  This kind of relationship requires more work to maintain, because all 3 or 4 people have to stay connected, try to spend roughly equal time with each other, meet each others needs, etc.

There are different ways to handle sex in these relationships.  In one relationship I know of, a group of three agree to only ever make love with all three present, and then make an effort to make sure no one is excluded in the three-way sex. This arrangement kind of depends on all member of the group having similar libidos.

In another group relationship, everyone agreed they could have sex in pairs, but they stayed well in contact with each other to be sure each in the group was happy.  This works if one group member has a lower libido or a higher libido.  The one receiving less sexual intimacy has to have that deficiency made up with other forms of physical or social intimacy, depending on what is desired.

In another group relationship, everyone agreed that it was Ok to have sex with whoever, whenever and wherever they pleased.  These relationships, in my observation, do not last long.  They depend entirely only everyone trusting each other that their hearts will never go to anyone outside the relationship, and outside sex will be basically indiscriminate, with no emotional connections.


It is hard enough to leave those we dislike, let a lone those we love.  Deciding to love, or to stop loving is also extremely difficult. I think that there is a big problem in assigning value judgments of "right" and "wrong," or doing the "right thing" or the "wrong thing," to something that is much more complex than that.

There is an underlying assumption that staying in the relationship would be bad and an unhealthy thing to do if the other guy did certain bad things, but that is an unknown.  With a crystal ball, it might turn out that staying is the best thing to do.

How good or how bad the choice is, depends on many things, concerning both individuals, the dynamics of the relationship, prior history of bad and good things, the social-political atmosphere, the environment you are in, and on-and-on.

Human beings like to quantify, categorize, and have fixed rules, like they are trying to find order out of chaos.  But real life does not adapt well to what humans try to constrain it to.

I have seen relationships break up over a single case of one partner cheating on the other, which could be a huge waste and tragedy, depending the circumstances.  Some of that is based on the notion that if a person loves you deeply, they would not ever hurt you or betray you.  But human nature proves this not be true.  All people are capable of making terrible choices and mistakes. Sometimes forgiveness and working on reestablishing trust is the right thing to do.

*** It is a given that at some point your partner will hurt you intentionally, as well as unintentionally. People are fallible.  It is foolish to believe that love will prevent you from hurting the one you love, given the certain circumstances.  DON'T EXPECT OR DEMAND PERFECTION FROM YOUR PARTNER.  Be ready to FORGIVE, If the circumstances warrant it.

For example, if it turns out your partner is cheating on a regular basis, then you have to choose between an open relationship or a break-up, because it is STUPID to believe he will change.  But what if it was a one-time thing and you believe he has it out of his system and will be faithful in the future?  Then, what if you find out he has been in a "relationship" with another man for years?

Some situations may be salvageable, while others are not.  If your partner is a pathological lier and cheater, then looking the other way, or forgiving him again and again would all be an exercise in futility.

Love is found in many ways, and love can go away or turn into hate and disgust very quickly.

I am getting more and more disabled, being more of a burden on my partner.  It is going to get much worse.  If he were to leave now, would it be the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do?

If he left it would be devastating and might very well kill me.  However, we have already talked about it, and I have been very clear, he can choose to leave and it will not be "the right or wrong thing," it is to be his choice, free of stupid value judgments.  I have also told him that when the time comes, to feel free to get sexual intimacy elsewhere. To do anything else would be selfish.

He, in turn, has made it clear that he will not stay out of obligation, and that he will only stay because he wants to—I call it love.

My love for him wants him to leave me and find new love, and not have his life dragged down by me.  His love for me wants me to hang on for as long as I can, no matter what, and he wants to be dragged down with me.

But that could change.  I do not know.  I do know that I do NOT want him here if he is here out of feeling of obligation or duty, even if that marks the end for me.  Mutual respect must rule.

Chronic illness, addictions, mental illness, are all things that can put a tremendous strain on a relationship.  There may be a point, like with addiction problems, when you have done everything humanly possible, and you don't feel you can go on doing it anymore.  Is it the right thing, or the wrong thing to do, to leave, to abandon your partner?  Not so black and white, is it?


I think Gay relationships are really great because they are not tied to gender at all, as happens in mixed gender relationships.  Even in those, the traditional gender roles are decreasing with time. Gay men do not need to take on gender roles. Gay relationships do not need to conform to any gender standards.  They can be formed to suite the individual needs of the couple themselves.  In my current partner, I have found an Equal Partner, a relationship based in equality and mutual respect that has lasted over 20 years.

There are some Gay Men who form relationships around Gender roles based on sexual position, basically mimicking heterosexual relationships.  What concerns me so much about this is that so many new Gay boys and young men seem to think this is the default Gay Relationship, when it is actually a minor player.  Some are using their parents as a relationship role model, and some are manipulated into it, or intimidated into it.

Since certain kinds of role-based relationships are so sexually limiting and limiting of personal growth, I feel they should be entered into with open eyes and by active choice, not by falling into it by default, or being manipulated or intimidated into it.

However, all of that being said, anyone wanting to form such role-based relationships have every right to do so, and I would absolutely defend that right.


Some gay boys and men have a silly notion that the "Anal Receptive" position is a passive or submissive role, when actually it can be the active or dominant role. If I am in the Anal Receptive position, I typically take control at times during love making. You can be in the Anal Receptive position and be in total control.

The person who is the "Anal Inserter" can actually be in a passive/submissive POSITION, like when he is lying on his back with his partner is riding him, putting the Anal Receptive partner in control and doing all of the work. But even in the missionary position, the Anal receptive partner can be in control.

When making love, who takes the active role, who takes the passive role, who is in control at any given moment, and if there is any dominance and submission present, all work best when they are FLUID during love making, not pre-planned, just letting things happen dynamically.  It is a more natural and organic way of making love, free of constraints and roles.  Just like when I danced, sometimes I wanted to lead, and sometimes I wanted to follow, and sometimes we switched back and forth during a dance.  It is more fun when there are MORE things you can BOTH do.  If I have a partner who can only follow, when I enjoy both leading and following, it really limits how much fun I can have.

NOTE: There is also DOMINANCE & SUBMISSION of a more extreme level in BDSM play, which is about BONDAGE, DOMINANCE & SUBMISSION, SADISM & MASOCHISM, COCK & BALL TORTURE, SCARIFICATION, COCK SOUNDING (this is when large Catheters and Stainless Steel Sounding Rods are inserted into the penis and run up and into the bladder), etc.


Even more IDIOTIC is the notion of attaching GENDER ROLES to Homosexual SEXUAL POSITIONS.  GENDER ROLES ARE FOR STRAIGHT PEOPLE.  HELLO, two guys together are the same gender, and two women together are the same gender. Why pretend you are a straight couple?  Why should one gay man take the woman's traditional role and the other gay man take  the traditional male role? The same is true of Lesbian couples where one woman takes the male traditional role and the other the female traditional role. Why pretend to be something you are not? Ok, different strokes for different folks, but it is so very limiting. The traditional roles are even being abandoned by heterosexual couples in this modern age.

Some homosexual couples like to pretend that they are heterosexual couples, and if that is what they want, it is their right and I would defend their right to do that. But I have also found that these Gender-role homosexual relationships to be very sexually limiting and limiting of personal growth. I personally feel they should be entered into with open eyes and by active choice, not by falling into it by default, or being manipulated or intimidated into it.

There are Gay or Lesbian couples who take on gender roles to match their Exclusive Sexual Positions. For men, being an Exclusive Top (Anal/Oral Insertive) means you are the Man of the house, the decision maker, the one in charge who's word is law. While being an Exclusive Bottom (Anal/Oral Receptive) means you are the subservient wife doing the bidding of you dominant husband.

Gender Roles can be MASCULINE & FEMININE, or DOMINANT & SUBMISSIVE.  I do not include the case where one partner works for a living and one partner works to care for the home and perhaps children, because this does not necessarily have to be a gender role, as long as it is seen as each man supporting the other EQUALLY, but in different ways.  However, if the salary earner become dominant and the homemaker submissive, it becomes a gender role.

My point is simply that connecting your preferred sexual position to your masculinity or gender role is ridiculous.  A Man can be a rough-trade beefy-looking Truck Driver who loves to be screwed.  His preferred sexual position has nothing to do with his masculinity, his personality, or that he would somehow take a feminine role in the relationship.


When you are sexually versatile, and you end up with a sexually Exclusive Top or Bottom, he just eliminated half of your sexuality, half of the ways you can express your love through sexuality, half of the ways you can sexually enjoy yourself, severely limiting your own sexuality. I think it exceedingly selfish of any man to do that to another.  It takes advantage of your love, forcing you to choose between loosing half of your sexuality, or loosing the man you love.

Why would Gay men want to limit their sexuality by half, for life, something many men do?  This is my observation after some 32 years in the Gay community (not all exclusive Tops & Bottoms fit this description, just most):

EXCLUSIVE TOPS are typically guys who are full of themselves, like to dominate and control others, believe that taking the receptive position would rob them of their manhood, and/or are afraid it will hurt to be anally receptive.  Some are too cowardly to even try, and some had a bad experience and are unwilling to trust anyone to try again. It does not have to hurt at all, but some men who Top could care less if they hurt the other guy, and some want to hurt the other guy.

EXCLUSIVE BOTTOMS are typically guys who want to take a submissive role with all men, enjoying being dominated, some wanting to be used, not having to make decisions, they like being taken care of, and often taking a feminine role.

If it is just a matter of preferring one position over the other, then you can do that without becoming 100% exclusive.  Exclusive Tops and Bottoms have a lot more issues at stake than what sexual position they prefer.

Relationships stuck in roles with guys who are only Submissive Bottoms and Dominant Tops are just limiting their sexual experience, and as the years go by, it has to get boring.

© Matthew Barry 1985, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014 All Rights Reserved.

What To Look For In A Healthy Relationship
Relationship Hints
- Having Sex
- Making Love
- Sexual Roles
- Sexual Limitations
- No Sex
- Pornography
- Submissive Vs Degrading
Selfless Sacrifice
About My Relationship
- Promises
- Being Opposites Is Ok
- Not All Is Rosy
- Sharing Of The Self
How We Met—A Lesson Learned
Open Relationships
Polyamorous & Polyfidelity Relationships
Breaking-Up and Failing Relationships
Sexual Positions & Roles In Homosexual Relationships
- Passive/Active Roles Or Dominant/Submissive Roles
- Gender Roles
- Exclusive Tops & Bottoms

This is longer than all of my other essays, but it is a topic of great depth. I hope you find it helpful.

© Matthew Barry 1985, 2003, 2009, 2010 All Rights Reserved.
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This is very interesting. I was delighted to find ouf more about your life after I stumbled onto your "Coming Out" picture a while back. Do you know that I shared a quote of yours a while back on Facebook about homophobia? An author I was friends with immediately commented, her son having really shocked her with his coming out. She immediately accepted him but ended up blurting out some terrible things as she adjusted to the idea. She is now a zealous advocate for gay rights and has written a memoir on her son's coming out.
I digress. I did like this passage and the message you gave. I cannot imagine trying an "open" relationship and often speculate whether I could ever have a healthy relationship even if it was "closed".
I wish you and Greg the best of luck.
inspiredcreativity Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you, I appreciate you taking the time to write to me.

I have a quick look at my life on my main page :iconinspiredcreativity:

Open relationships typically do not work. The reason why is that it required people who can leave their hearts and love with their partner, then go out and be nothing but sexual with other people. I am unable to separate love and sexuality. For me to be sexual with a person, I need an emotional connection.

However, I am able to intensely love more than one person at a time, and if I were not crippled and dying, and the right guy came along that both Greg and I could love, then I would be fine with a PolyFidelity relationship. This is a relationship with more than two people who are all completely faithful sexually to each other.

It is very unhealthy for people to have love torn from sex.

LOVE serves 3 really important function in Sexuality:
    1. Love adds levels of higher passion and intensity of sensation and emotional response to Making-Love.

    2. Love is what keeps sex with the same person, decade-after-decade, for a lifetime, from becoming BORING.

    3. Love is what keeps your lover looks beautiful and sexy, for a lifetime, despite the ravages of time and gravity (both cruel mistresses).
When Love gets disconnected from sexuality, men and women with this affliction find themselves getting bored having sex with the person they love within months, and are compelled to have sex with strangers. I have worked with men who lose the ability to even get an erection with the person they love.

CONCLUSION: Be sexual only with people you either have an emotional connection with, Love or care about a lot. Make-Love, not sex. Spend the time kissing, touch, and doing foreplay for at least 45 minutes before actual sex, to get you lubricated naturally and for your vagina to fully expand.

. . . . . .

If you did not grow up with a loving and healthy family role model, then it can be hard to imagine being in a relationship at all. I came from a very bad family situation, and I had no role model for a healthy relationship at all, nor did my first two partners. We were like the blind-leading-the-blind. I wish we had know better what to do became then maybe those relationships might have worked. I carried the codependency role model into my relationships.

It was not until I survived a suicide attempt at age 34 when I finally got some help and realized what was going on. I became a much more mentally healthier man, which allowed me to meet another healthy man and form a healthy relationship. Funny how that works...

If you are a virgin, it might also be hard to imagine being in a healthy Lesbian relationship. Practice make perfect. My sister had a relationship fail not from lack of love, but because the other woman was incapable of talking through issues. If you cannot talk through tough things, like money problems, stress, etc, then there is not much hope.

Greg and I made very different marriage vows from what is normal. We did not promise until death do us part. My first two partners used such promises like toilet paper and never even tried to work on issue, they just left when problems arrived. Greg and I promised each other that we would not break-up until we had both exhausted Avery reasonable effort to stay together. We agreed to TRY and WORK hard to stay together. We have talked all night long and even gone to marriage counseling. It is this kind of commitment and respect for each other that makes long-term love work.

We NEGOTIATE, we do NOT FIGHT. We don’t need rules like telling each other where you are going and when you will be back, because we respect each other. We also give each other the freedom to have lives away from each other, Like doing activities with freinds or even traveling on your own. We support each other’s growth. This is not always easy to do. At first we were like two bulls int he same coral, with no cows, if you know what I mean.

We are very different from each other and I like this, because he brought another culture to me and I did the same for him, expanding our world experiences. He pulled me more into the world and I pulled him more home, and we both benefited for the healthier balance.

My point to you is that as long as you and the one you love can talk, negotiate and are willing to compromise and bend, all problems should be solvable, or at least you can live with them and tolerate them.

If you have been abused, some people withdraw into their tortoise shell, or build tall walls of protection. Greg was like this and it made life very hard for a long time. Kissing him was like tossing kisses over a 30 foot tall wall. You could feel the distance, the barrier to intimacy. This is extremely unhealthy and if you have this problem, it is time to start working to bring down those walls.

I think because of my Autism,I responded to my abuse differently. I am naturally very open and honest with too few boundaries or barriers. I love very easily and very intensely. I get used more than normal, which means getting hurt. But I can promise you that I gain so much love by being open and honest that it is well worth the any hurt and betrayal I must experience. Love and pain go together. I open myself wide to be seen by others, I bare my secrets, I talk about being raped, my autism, my mistakes, and the result is very little guilt or shame, despite the abuse of the Catholic church.

So give love and relationships a try, and if it does not work out, learn from it and do it again, and again. It took me the third try. When your heart is shattered, it helps you to appreciate the next love even more. My heart has been trampled a lot, but look at me now, how intensely I can feel and give love.

This is a Love poem I wrote, called Oasis [link]
    Love does not fall on an untouched heart
    Or seed in a garden chaste.
    Until it once has been plowed apart
    The heart is a desert waste.

    So raze and trample the virgin turf.
    To every blade and blow
    Offer the rich but unmixed earth
    So love will grow.
A Broken Heart Lets In The Light. An Untouched Heart Atrophies.

How can you know happiness without knowing sadness? They are relative to each other, as are love and hate, good and bad, beauty and ugliness.

How can we appreciate one unless we have experienced the other? The greater our experience of sadness, the more we will appreciate our happiness. How can you appreciate warmth and coolness if you have not first experience blistering heat and freezing cold?

Love lost, heart torn asunder, the emptiness, grief, and loneliness felt, ALL of these will make us appreciate new found love, even more.

When your heart is shattered by the loss of love, your heart can either be too afraid to ever feel love again, or open itself up again even more, and when new love is found, it is cherished all the more for its previous loss.

Each time my heart was broken, I appreciated my next love even more, which made the feelings of love more intense. Trample on my heart all you wish, the seeds of Love will flourish even greater in the torn remnants of my heart.
Quick-Step Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2012  Hobbyist
Your story is truly inspiring! Good luck to you and your hubby!
inspiredcreativity Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you very much. I also have other deviations about Love, finding happiness and LGBTQ issues that you might be interested in. i will sent you a note with some thumbnails for convenience.
StrawberryR Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Who's the couple in the picture?
inspiredcreativity Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Hi, it is my Partner Greg and I. We have been together 21 years, heading to 22 years together. Here is the full-sized image [link]. We are out on a boat on Lake Washington, Seattle, WA.

Very long lasting LGBTQ relationship are a very real thing. Researchers and society look at the Gay bar and club subculture to measure the Gay community, but in reality there is a huge community out there who seldom ever go into bar and club scene. We live relatively normal lives, with both straight and gay freinds, and we have a network of other Gay and Lesbian couples who are all friends. I am not saying there is anything wrong with the Gay Bar and Club scene, which can be a lot of fun, but I am saying there is a lot more to our community than that.

When I entered the Gay Community back in the 1970s, it was pretty much completely underground, very hidden. Being outed could mean the end to your life, typically ending in suicide. Most people in the world felt you were, "Better Off Dead Than Queer." Gay relationships were relatively rare because there was no way two professional men could live together without raising suspicion. I got away with it because I went to sea, and I flew to my work. The only real OUT gay people lived and existed in the GAY GHETTOS of the largest cities.

As homosexuality became more and more acceptable, I watched LGBTQ relationships becoming more and more common, and longer lasting. I feel incredibly happy to see that the younger generations are embracing relationships and dating as their future path. The Gay male Community is no longer centered in sex, it is centered more in love, which is a dream come true.

It used to be that even Gay men believed that they were fundamentally different and not meant to be in relationships, which happened after 2,000 years of suppression, being hunted down, murdered, imprisoned and tortured. I was told that Gay men were meant to flit from flower to flower, like a bee tasting of the many nectars. My wanting a relationship was seen as an aberration, and I was accused of simply trying to emulate straight people. Yet, as we gained freedom to express ourselves and live as we wish, the vast majority of LGBTQ people showed that they wanted to love-centric, just like most other human beings.

The real beauty of LGBTQ relationships is that we are not tied by traditional fixed and rigid roles, we can create a relationship to match our personalities, personal needs and desires, and whatever works the best, adapting it to our personal growth and the growth of the relationship. LGBTQ Relationships can be very dynamic, if you let it adapt to your individual changes and growth, and the growth of the relationship itself.

No relationship is perfect. There is a lot of give and take, but in the end, what we have together is ever so much more than 1 + 1 = 2. I cannot even describe the depth of trust, security, and love that we have after over two decades together. In a relationship, there is a price to pay in individual freedom, but what you get in return is well worth the price you pay for it. A relationship is like saving and investing money for the future, but also getting to enjoy the money invested at the same time.
StrawberryR Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2011  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Cool. :3

I'm glad you and your boyfriend have been together so long. :D
TateLangdon Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2011  Student Interface Designer
Very well written.
inspiredcreativity Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you. I have been in my current relationship for over 21 years. My first relationship was 4 years, and the second was 6 years. The first two were very challenging because I went to sea on supertanker ships, going out to sea for 2 to 3 months, then coming home for the same amount of time. I had no template or example of how a healthy relationship should work, since my family was a very toxic environment. The same was true of my first two partners as well.

I have been doing Volunteer Peer Counseling in the Gay Community for 20 years, which includes a lot of couples counseling. If you ever have any questions or issues to discuss, feel free to send me a Note.

i also have a number of other deviations which are GLBTQ and relationship related:

What Is Love All About? [link]
What To Look For In A Mate [link]
HUMAN INTIMACY - 101 [link]

Coming Out Gay Age 13, 1969 [link]

The Science of Homosexuality [link]
The Science of GAYDAR [link]

Are You Straight, Gay, or Bi? [link]
History of The Pink Triangle [link]
The Torture Of Homosexuals - 1950s to 1980s [link]

These show the truth about Homosexuality and the Bible, which is that God and Christ never had a problem with homosexuality, but translators did. If you want to fight those who use the bible as a weapon against you, or to help you reconcile your Faith with your sexual identity, then read these:
New Testament + Homosexuality [link]
Old Testament + Homosexuality [link]
SODOM DESTROYED ON 6-29-3129BC [link]

Rainbow Crow [link]

Street Kids Need Help [link]

HIV AIDS Immunity [link]

TateLangdon Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2011  Student Interface Designer
Thank-You very much Matt. Leim
inspiredcreativity Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
You are most welcome Leim. How do I properly say your name?
TateLangdon Featured By Owner Nov 13, 2011  Student Interface Designer
Lee him AAkin
inspiredcreativity Featured By Owner Nov 14, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Me-Myself-And Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2010
Well written and quite instructive. = )
inspiredcreativity Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you. Most of it translate to both Heterosexual and Homosexual relationships. Heterosexual relationships have an advantage, in that most are carried by the woman. Women tend to do much more work than the man is keep a relationship functioning, trying to maintain communication, trying to keep connection at different levels. While genetics play a part in this, a very large part has to do with the role model of your own family dynamics. In families where a father does his share of work in maintaining the relationship, this is typically passed down to sons. Father who are absent emotionally, standing separate, perhaps patriarchal (commanding, unquestioned, authoritarian, ruler), who do not share in responsibilities and child care, or who disrespect women, tend to pass this to sons. Sometimes, if a son has a bad role model, but is exposed to a good one, maybe through a friend's family, he ill choose to reject the model of his own family.

If you have two remote gay men trying to have a relationship, it can be a lost cause from day one. Greg and i had a challenge because we are both strong personalities, and I was forced to take care of everything in my past two relationships. Greg is rather shut-down emotionally. We were a bit like two bulls in the same corral, with no cows. The only solution was for me to become the cow, LOL. I am the more flexible personality, like a palm tree that bends and sways in a hurricane, instead of a rigid oak, which will break. A relationship will work if at least one person carries the work of maintaining the relationship, of working to keep the couple connected at many levels. This is NOT a Judgmental thing, like one person is better than the other, it is more a matter that at least one person has to have the ability and willingness to keep a couple together. Ideally, it is both of you.

As it is, 50% of Heterosexual Marriages fail in divorce in America. The problem with many gay relationships is that the guys role model their relationship based on a heterosexual role model. It is even worse if the guys do it based on Gender Roles. The most successful Gay relationship are ones built with creativity, adapting to the needs of the individuals. It is becoming more common todays for Heterosexual marriages and relationships to be more creative, abandoning traditional Role Modeling. Sadly, many of these result in the woman working a full-time job, raising the kids, cleaning the house, cooking the meals, and taking care of her husband like she was servant. The man works, comes home, retires to his "man-cave" (a term i detest), and expects dinner to be served on time and his move in a mood for sex before bed.

But before I paint the man as the villain in this script, remember that it takes two to tango. The woman in this script chooses to let this happen, all under the guise of saving their relationship, and because she loves him. I have been in 3 relationships, for a total of 30 years. I was used badly by my first two partners. But I also allowed myself to be used. I fell into a traditional Gender role model, especially in the second one. I made the money, made all the decisions, did most of the chores, and my life revolved around trying to please my partner and make him happy. I would actually beg him to participate in the decision making process, but everything was deferred back to me. Over 6 years, his self-esteem was eroded, with him feeling "kept." He later blamed me saying, "You should have FORCED me to get a job." This is called blame shifting. We were both young and neither of us had a decent role model of what a relationship should look like.

By the time I met Greg, I had learned a lot of hard lessons. I really do feel that having a good class on Human Relationships should be mandatory in school. But then the religious nuts would insist on teaching only "Traditional" family role models. After all, the Bible says a woman should not speak to a man unbidden, and she must do what he says, basically be a slave and spit out babies on a regular basis.

My advice to you would be to be flexible and allow your future relationship to adapt to both of your needs, seeking equality and fairness for both. It will then find a natural BALANCE. What works for one couple may not work for another. Sometimes relationships fail, despite love. Never forget that there is not just one great love for you out there, there are MANY.
Hidden by Owner
inspiredcreativity Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you, I am really happy that it is helpful. Please know that you can Note me anytime to talk about things like this. It will be held confidential. I have been doing what we call Friend-to-Friend Peer work for some 18 years. So I have heard just about everything, and I am not judgmental. I have been helping gay couples with relationship issues for a long time.

I can tell you that Greg and i have had some very difficult times with each other, we have also shared the death of friends, overcome all kinds of issues, and each time our relationship gained depth, trust, and a deep comfort and love. You may have to take it on faith that to be with one loving man for 20 years is beyond words.

Greg and I are VERY different, like opposites. Ok, so we are like two bulls in the same corral, with no cows- -two strong personalities. We come from VERY different worlds, him the arts, me the sciences. But becasue of that Greg opened me to his world and I opened Greg to my world. We both grew a lot as people. It is hard to describe. You know that 1+1=2, but with Greg and I, 1+1=8. Where I am weak he is strong and where he is weak I am strong, so as a team, look out. We have very seldom fought with each other, although we have had some very emotional experiences, and at one point I asked him to go to Marriage Counseling. We are both very damaged men, with a lot of personal issues. It takes a lot of work sometimes to stay connected, to compromise to bend in the wind, but it is all worth it.

I told you that I developed arthritis around age 12. We never imagined that I would deteriorate so fast, which totally derailed our lives. I tried to get him to leave, to spare him what was to come. He refused. So then I decided to kill myself and spare him. The Slimefest read my email and thwarted my plan. He was quite enraged. He said that it was HIS choice to stay and that he was not staying out of sense of honor or duty, he was staying becasue he wanted to stay, out of love. We have both done primary care for those dying of AIDS, so he knows that dying can get messy. I can tell you that I have zero doubt that he will be with me to the end. Don't worry, I do not plan on croaking any time soon. No, it is the slow agonizing path for me (very melodramatic).

Anyway, I am telling you this to show you what it means to love. You become a part of each other. After 20 years together, Greg has helped to form who i have become, and I for him. Don and Paul betrayed me badly, but I will always love them, they are a part of me, of who I am.

The very best of luck in approaching your love-interest. If he has never thought of you that way, seeing you as a friend, I hope he is willing to give it a try, becasue love really can grow. I will confess that with my first partner, Don, I liked him a lot and enjoyed his company and the sex was great, but I was just not feeling the love thing. I had to move from LA to Washington State and he wanted to go. I agonized over it and then said yes for the wrong reasons. But once I said yes, and we moved, within only a couple of months I realized I really did love him dearly. Sometimes love can be blocked by any number of things. Given some time or help, love can grow.

With Greg, once we decided to date, I already knew I loved him. Once a week I would ask him if he loved me yet. He would say, "No, not yet, but please hang-in there for me, I need time." 4.5 months later, he said yes, I love you. We had decided not to be physically intimate until we reached this point. I even slept with him on weekends, platonically. You do not know the meaning of the word FRUSTRATED. We decided to make a big deal out of it.

We got tickets to Phantom of the Opera, in Victoria Canada, at the Queen Elizabeth Theater. We took a ferry from Seattle to Victoria, checked into the hotel, got all done up in our suits, and saw the show, then had a very romantic dinner. There were four violin players playing music in the restaurant. We must have been broadcasting Love, becasue they were suddenly at out table playing a singing a romantic ballad.

Then it was back to the hotel to consummate out relationship. He blindfolded me and then shaved off my pubic hair, which was a new kind of thing then. I had never even heard of it. Maybe in a more private setting, I might be enticed to tell more. Two months earlier, we had already gotten tested for STD's, HIV and anal and throat cultures, and we had shown each other the results. So we used safe-sex, until 2 months later when we were tested for HIV again, and showed each other the results.

Bye-the-way, we made an agreement that if either of us were to have sex with another man, we would be honest about is immediately, and it would be forgiven immediately, then we would do safe-sex through another testing cycle. We do not believe that a good relationship should be thrown away becasue of a mistake, and the safety of the one you love is paramount. It is one thing to take reasonable risk with your own health, but you should never risk the health of another, let alone the one you love.

Greg later asked that we open the relationship, which I did not want to do, but we both feel that the relationship should come first, and I would rather he do it openly than behind my back. However, my best friend at the time "jumped" at the opportunity (more like jumped me). I then found out that I have the capacity and stamina to love more than one man. It felt so cosmopolitan with Greg, him and I going out to party together and eat-out together. Unfortunately, he gave me an ultimatum to leave Greg or loose him. I had told him from day one that I would never leave Greg.

After that Greg decided enough was enough and asked to close the relationship. I was like, "I don't know…maybe later," lol, I was just leading him on. We have been closed since. However, I have told him I would like to do the Poly-Fidelity thing (a type of polyamorous relationship), where we bring in a third partner, and all three are faithful within the group. The odds of finding someone right are so small that it is not likely to happen. But it feels good to be able to be 100% open and honest with your partner.

If your love-interest is a friend of yours, there is something I would like to talk briefly about. I approached a guy friend I was crazy about once, and he did not feel the same. It was not easy to be around him and be his friend at first, but I stuck it out and the freindship did not suffer. In contrast, I have lost 6 best friends over my years with Greg, with each of them telling me that he loved me, and me saying I am committed to Greg, etc, followed by each of them saying they cannot stand to be around me, becasue it hurt too much. I was closer to my friend Marc, in some ways, than with Greg, and loosing him was shattering to me. I still feel the loss. I am Autistic and to make a friend that you can connect with and feel comfortable with on so many levels is very rare.

If your love-interest is already a friend of yours, and he does not feel the same as you do, please try to stick it out with him and stay his friend. It may not be easy, but it definitely can be done, and well worth it. A friend may love you in many ways (at many different levels), but just does not have that spark for you. Oddly enough, you can practically hate a guy, and have the spark. Mother nature can be very CRUEL, lol.

Best of luck,

mysticnova7 Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2010  Professional General Artist
Sure this is helpful!!!
I started reading it and loved it (most of it, at least).
This makes me think about my own relationship, and well, I must say I'm not surprised by the outcome of my reflection.

Thanks again for sharing this.
Hug :)
inspiredcreativity Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Oh good, I am happy that it is helpful. I really do write all of this stuff for anyone who might benefit from it. Please feel free to express your opinion about parts you do not agree with, or to ask questions. I am very open to feedback and learning new things.

Hugs back to you…

mysticnova7 Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2010  Professional General Artist
It's great that you are open to opinions that differ from yours. But you already knew that, didn't you? hehe
I will tell you when I don't agree with something you say or do, for sure. And off course! I will ask. I love questions. They are our keys to knowledge and, therefore, to wisdom.
inspiredcreativity Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you. No matter how old or wise we may think we are, the learning must never stop. If it does, either the body, mind or soul has died.
mysticnova7 Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2010  Professional General Artist
blackthornsos Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2010
I liked this a lot, your writings help me understand some things that are hard to find elsewhere.

Fiction especially fanfiction isn't usually about realistic relationships
inspiredcreativity Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you. I have been with my partner Greg for 20 years. We have had some difficult times. We have both learned a lot about how to make a relationship work. Even he admits though that I have to do most of the compromising and work needed to keep it working smoothly. This is not that unusual. I had two long-term relationships before Greg. Go to sea on ships was a huge strain on the relationships, being gone 2 to 3 months at a time. We learn through challenges. Alas, too many men just walk away when it gets challenging. Women tend to be more tenacious about it, wanting to do the work needed to success.

You may have an interest in theses deviations too:

What Is Love All About?
What To Look For In A Mate
HAPPINESS, Fulfillment & Contentment
How I Live My Life
blackthornsos Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2010
Thanks! I'll take a look!
KrisEfe Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2010  Student Traditional Artist
I didn't finish reading it yet, but you have a very good writing. I can't wait to read the rest... But I have to go back to class (by the way, a writing class) I'll come back later and let you know what I think of it.

inspiredcreativity Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
I have been married to my husband for 20 years. We had some major challenges and even ended up in marriage counseling. What it proved was that we were not willing to give up easily. We tired all kinds of things, even writing contracts to the other. Most failed, but in the process of trying to stay together, to work through our differences and challenges, we ended up bonding even more, as well as understanding each other better, learning new relationship and communication skills, and basically how to live with each other.

We are vastly different people. If you can imagine a wide rainbow, we come from opposite far ends, lol. This has resulted in each of us learning and growing from the other, like two cultures coming together. Where I am weak he is strong, and vice versa. We make a good team. We have also had to make some big changes.

It is rare that both partners in a relationship compromise and bend equally. In this case, i am the one who has changed, adapted, and grown to accommodate him, much more than he has for me. Sometimes a person can only bend so much, for many reasons of their past and their nature. In heterosexual relationships, it is women who have traditionally had to bend and adapt more to their male partner. Ideally it is equal. What matters most is that my partner bent and accommodated me on the most important issues (except one).

The grand prize of lasting 20 years is a depth of love, trust, safety and security that is beyond words. My first two partners promised me until Death do us part, then ran off with other men in fairly short order. Greg and I decided to do it different. Surprisingly, the idea came from Greg, who recognized how I had been used and did not one any of that negative energy for us.

We promised each other that me would not break up until we had exhausted every possible solution. Out promise is to NEVER just walk away from one another. If we fail, it will be after exhaustive work truing to work through our issue.

We also decided to promise each other to raise issues when they happen and to talk about them, not let them sit and fester. One of us will sit down in the other's office and ask for time. Then just start talking about something bugging us, unsure of, unhappy about, etc. Everything gets dropped and we have been known to talk for hours, granted sometimes in circles, lol.

We also made another promise than most people seem to disagree with, but I stand by it as a very smart way to do things. We agreed that we had both seen too many relationships break up of a single infidelity. We decided that our relationship was to important just to be thrown away of a single mistake. We promised each other that if one of us were to make a mistake and have sex with another man that he would then immediately confess it, and just as immediately, it would be forgiven. We would then go back to using safe sex and then get tested after4 to 6 months. After 20 years, it has never happened.

This does not work for having an affair with another person, and it does not work if it happens repeatedly. This promise is born from understanding the fallibility of humans and form a place of compassion.

I guess what I am building up to here is that by the time you decide to be a couple, you will hopefully know each other well enough to sit down AHEAD of time and decide critical issues, in order to make the best possible promises.

Greg and i also did another unusual thing. We chose not to have sex until we BOTH said it was love. It was 2 month before we deeply kissed. Greg took a while to decide about love, like around 4.5 months.

Lastly, you might be interested to know that I was not attracted to Greg AT ALL. I needed a dance partner one night and asked him because he was alone that night. I had a good time dancing with him, so i asked for his phone number to pursue a possible friendship. After dancing again a few times, dinners, a Saturday of activities, I suddenly noticed that he was beautiful, and HOT. This is the power of love.

When it comes to relationships, be flexible and find what works best for the two of you.
GinaOTam Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is wonderful and thoughtful writing. I wish you had written this and that I had read this 10 years ago, but I'm still glad it's here now. The questions to ask oneself at the beginning of this essay are especially clear for someone like me whose feelings can make my vision a bit muddled,
inspiredcreativity Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you.

The questions can be helpful also as a guide when, or if you ever enter in Marriage Counseling, to help understand what is wrong or missing in a relationship. Marriage Counseling is a great tool if you get a good one. They can help you build communication tools, foster understanding, etc. Ours dumped us, because we were raising too many of his own issues.

Sorry this has taken so long. I am falling further behind, especially since I took the time to write about "Two Spirits." Someday I hope to catch up, far in the future, LOL.
GinaOTam Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2009  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
It sounds like your counselor could have learned much if he/she kept you instead. Even so, it sounds like you guys have a relationship as ideal as any could hope for.

I was trying to find a new piece in your gallery about two spirits. That must be coming in the future?
inspiredcreativity Featured By Owner Jan 19, 2010  Professional Digital Artist
Our relationship actually has two very, very big problems. We are both very damaged people. For him, intimacy is very difficult, for me, well I am dying, which is very messy and stressful for him. In most successful relationships, you will probably find some very big issue overcome or being worked around. But it is this itself that illustrates the strength of the relationship, because most people just walk away when it gets really hard. Love is not enough. It takes both people really wanting to make it work, being willing to bend, compassion, and being willing to forgive.
Retzuko Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2009
This is beautifuly written, Matthew. It even made me chuckle once or twice; something I didn't expect.
Wonderful, and I must admit, I agree 100%.
Keep up the amazing work.
inspiredcreativity Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks, although it was written with Love relationships in mind, it is somewhat true for all relationships, like friendships and even work mates.

I am going to get to your other comment tomorrow. I am a bit swamped now and I want to devote more time to it.
Retzuko Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2009
You're welcome!
I had my partner read this, and we did get into quite a bit of a talk. It was nice though, I think it really made both of us feel a little more secure of having each other.

No problem! Take your time on it, no need to rush.
inspiredcreativity Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Feel free to ask questions. What you do now in the early stages can help you flourish later.
whatzittoya Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2009
wished Me and my x cud b that way
inspiredcreativity Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Did you learn how you can be better in your next relationship? Usually we are both to blame when it does not work.

In my last relationship, my X-boyfriend looks like the bad guy, because he used me badly, lied to me, and cheated on me again and again with other men. But I let him do it. I didn't want to loose him and I loved him. So I let him use me. I caught him in lies, caught him cheating on me twice, he spent money like a drunken sailer, but i kept letting him do it. It takes two to Tango. I enabled him to drink and do drugs in excess. He liked me more when he was drunk and high.

I also learned that I was attracted to guys who needed to be taken care of, and they were attracted to me for the same reason.

I learned that when I saw a gy that made me drool with desire, I should run the other way, LOL.
whatzittoya Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2009
I know wat you mean
BOONJAGGA Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2009  Student General Artist
This is very uplifting, and it makes me happy for you that you have that kind of relationship with him.
inspiredcreativity Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2009  Professional Digital Artist
Thank you. I could say we are both fortunate, but we made that fortune, so as to speak. We both had to be willing to recognize each other, value what we saw, work to build something, work to maintain and grow it.

It is not perfect and we have a couple of big issues, but compared to the whole, they are very manageable, which is why maintaining the larger perspective is so important.

I wish you the very best that love and life can offer.
BOONJAGGA Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2009  Student General Artist
Thank you and good luck.
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