“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” – Maya Angelou
My dear queer children,
Before I go into this post’s topic on being a relationship, I must insert a little disclaimer:
I have only been in one relationship, and it lasted for about a month.
As such, while I did learn a lot about relationships in the two months I dated my ex and entered into a relationship with him, I don’t know everything there is to know about being in a relationship. However, drawing from my experience and the experiences of other queer people around me, I will provide you with some advice about being in a relationship.
By now, I’m sure you have heard many of the characteristics that make up a good relationship: trust, communication, commitment, and such. These are all good and are indeed needed to have a good relationship. However, there are a few characteristics that I will especially focus on because I find them particularly relevant for LGBTQ+ relationships.
First, trust. I want to first say that, despite what queerphobic individuals may say, LGBTQ+ people are not any more likely to cheat on or lie to their partner than heterosexual people. In fact, we are probably less likely to do so because of how hard it is for us to find another LGBTQ+ person to have a romantic relationship with. This is because we are all at different stages in our journey with our sexuality and/or gender identity, and some of us are still in the closet and not wanting to be outed. It’s a tricky situation.
But trust is important in any LGBTQ+ relationship because of these toxic heteronormative narratives around LGBTQ+ people. While we may be in the 21st century, there are still people out there who want LGBTQ+ people to suffer and to be alone. Thus, relationships must be built on trust so that these relationships rise up and fight against heteronormative narratives of queer people.
Another important aspect of relationships is balance. This was perhaps the greatest lesson that I learned from my relationship with my ex. When I first met my ex and started talking to him, I couldn’t stop interacting with him. My mind was always on him. I made him my life. After our first date, we would hang out nearly every other day after that. By the time we officially started dating a few weeks later, I had basically stopped hanging out with my friends. I paid less attention in class. I just wanted him and nothing else.
Granted, this was my first chance for something that would be more than a one night stand. This was my first relationship. But I had not balanced my relationship with the rest of my life, and as a result, I almost lost my friends and performed poorly in my classes. Thankfully, my ex broke up with me a month after we started dating, and I realized I had my life back.
So, it is important for you to balance your relationship with the rest of your life. While your partner deserves your commitment, time, and energy, so too do your family, friends, and responsibilities. This isn’t to say that you will successfully balance your relationship right away or that it will come naturally. Rather, it is a process, and you will learn, and you will be okay. One way of learning how to be balanced is by having intentional conversations with your friends and family as you progress into a relationship. Have them help you reflect on your life and what you are investing yourself in. Also, it may be good to have a planner or schedule so that you can keep track of your time. Looking at your schedule after you fill it out may help you see how you balance your time. Finally, be honest with yourself. You’ve come this far on your journey, and this is in part because you are being honest with yourself about your sexuality and/or gender identity. Engaging in personal reflections and journaling can help you understand how you are balancing your life.
Finally, respect is such a necessity for a healthy relationship. You and your partner should respect each other. That includes your personhood, your space, your identity, your journey, and any of vital aspect of your life that deserves to be acknowledged and actively respected. In particular, you two should respect each other’s boundaries and not push the other to do something that they do not want to do. Also, doing this will help give you and your partner the space needed to create balance in the relationship.
There are of course many of important aspects of a relationship to consider in building a healthy relationship with a partner, but these are a few that I believe are most important, especially for LGBTQ+ relationships. Trust is important because it is needed to build relationships that fight against heteronormative ideas of sexuality. Balance is necessary because you could lose your personhood, community, and responsibilities by focusing too narrowly on your partner. Respect is vital because it ensures that you are being seen, heard, and validated by your partner instead of being ignored and used.
As always, please let me know if you would like my to write on a specific topic. I am always a resource for you.
Until next time,
Love, Your Gay Godparent,