Finding your way through a heteronormative world can be a very frustrating experience as part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Your relationship is specific, beautifully different, and separate from these norms. Despite having a deep connection to your partner due to everything you share, you may discover areas in your relationship where you need extra support. Sometimes this will come from insecurities due to past trauma. Other times, it’s much more simple, like wanting your partner to not take you for granted. If you feel it’s time to take a look at your relationship, here are a few tips that just might strengthen your already solid base.
Be in a room that supports you
If you’ve been thinking about seeking help professionally to strengthen your relationship, but you’re feeling hesitant, you certainly aren’t alone. The problems you face are different from the heterosexual couples that many therapists are used to seeing. Worrying that your therapist won’t be able to connect to your needs because of a lack of experience with the LGBTQIA+ community is a completely valid concern. Thankfully, there are places that focus specifically on LGBT couples counseling. In a room with an experienced counselor, you can safely explore issues like raising children, navigating strained relationships with family, and negotiating open or monogamous relationships. Therapy only works if you fully trust your therapist. There are secure places made for you and your partner. Go explore them together and see just how much you can grow.
Reverse those un-gendered roles
Many times, couples that are part of the queer community can be better at sharing household and work responsibilities than their straight counterparts. That being said, your partner might be a little tired of at least one of the responsibilities. If your partner does most of the cooking, show them how much you appreciate everything they do by surprising them by cooking a few meals. You don’t have to be a master chef to cook something quick and even delicious. If you don’t trust yourself in the kitchen, find a couple of fun recipes that you and your partner can work on in the kitchen together. Suggest something that will spice up their routine, like a recipe for homemade bubble tea. Go on a date to an Asian food market and pick out your ingredients. Even just acting as your partner’s sous-chef gives you more time together, and takes some of the burdens of cooking off of their shoulders.
Find your inner child
Playing isn’t just for children—it’s actually extremely important that adults incorporate it into their lives as well. Finding moments to engage with play and find levity could have very positive outcomes on your mood. Think outside the box of competitive play. Although that might make you feel better, it means there will always be a winner and a loser in your partnership. Instead, find time to play collaborative games with your spouse.
Look no further than the improvisation community for that kind of gameplay. You might have just cringed at the word improvisation or immediately thought, “I won’t be able to do that.” You’d be absolutely wrong! Improvisation isn’t about being perfect, witty, or even funny. Also, you don’t have to do it in front of an audience. Before bed, just you and your partner, count to three, and say a word. Repeat this process until you come up with the same word at the same time. Don’t forget, you can’t repeat any word that’s already been said. Without even trying, you will most likely crack each other up. This exercise promotes listening and collaboration between partners. You might be surprised to see those same qualities show up in other areas of your relationship.