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Problem #1 – Committing Too Fast (a.k.a. The U-Haul)
When women get attracted to each other, we go into limerence, a brain-chemistry high that feels like being in love. (All couples are affected by limerence, but it’s strongest for lesbians! There’s a reason why no one jokes about straight couples or gay men bringing a U-haul on the second date…but some version of that is one of the most common lesbian relationship problems.) Limerence can fool you into thinking you’re perfect for each other – and set you up for a huge let-down 3-12 months later, when the brain chemical high wears off.
Solution: Don’t move in together, get engaged, get married or make other big plans within the first six months, no matter how tempted you are. If it’s real, it will last. Don’t believe the fantasy that your problems or incompatibilities will “get better with time;” most often they’ll actually get worse. Love does not conquer all – you also need to have compatibility! (See below)
Problem #2 – She’s Not Right For You
She could be cute, hot and a great person. You could have a magical, heartfelt connection and amazing chemistry. And she could still be totally wrong for you. Why? Because great as those are, none of those things mean that you and she are compatible for the long haul.
Solution: Learn the truth about compatibility (and bust the myths!) The key element is knowing what your relationship vision is, seeking someone with a similar vision, and making sure you both have the skills to manifest that vision. None of us is born knowing how to have a happy, healthy, lasting relationship, and most of us didn’t learn it from our parents, either! Check out our book Conscious Lesbian Dating & Love for more info on how to avoid this and other common lesbian relationship problems, or take the ground-breaking online course The 12-Week Roadmap To Conscious Lesbian Dating and lasting Love.
Problem #3 – Giving Yourself Up
Women are socialized to put other peoples’ needs first. You may think it’s selfish to assert your own preferences, or feel like you have to go along with hers in order to be loved. Many women have a deeply engrained belief that intimate relationships require them to give themselves up. Friends? Work? Hobbies? Alone time? Who needs any of that when you’re in a good relationship, right? Wrong! Sacrificing yourself or changing your life for your girlfriend creates all kinds of lesbian relationship problems.
Solution: No two people can share everything, and in fact, the relationship will be richer and more exciting if you honor your different wants and needs, nurture your separate lives and selves, and then come back together again for intimate time. Done right, this movement between togetherness and separateness is a thrilling dance – yet for many of us, it can also bring up fears and push buttons. If that’s happening for you or your gf, get help ASAP before the damage sets in. Conscious Girlfriend coaching is a great, fast-acting, skills-based solution for couples and singles committed to change.
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Problem #4 – Assumptions and Stories
“If she cared about me, she wouldn’t have done that.” “She disrespected me when she did that.” We hear women say things like this all the time, and it’s almost never true – but these kinds of assumptions are the source of many lesbian relationship problems. Often, both members of a couple feel alone and mistreated, trapped in their own version of events, rather than really seeing and hearing each other. Someone wise said, “Assumptions make an ASS of you and me.” They were right!
Solution: Learn how to recognize and dismantle your habitual stories and assumptions, and ask questions instead. Each woman is a separate universe, and loving someone means getting curious about how things are on her planet. You can’t know why someone does what she does, or how things feel to her, until you’re able to ask her – and then listen open-heartedly.
Problem #5 – The “Fix-It” Girlfriend
Many empathic, loving women have a Florence Nightingale complex: if you meet someone who’s had a hard life, doesn’t trust love, and doesn’t love herself, you just know you can heal all that, right? Wrong! If her life is a mess, that’s okay, you can fix it, right? Wrong again! You can’t have a relationship with her potential – you can only have a relationship with who she is right now. And if she can’t meet you as an equal, the relationship won’t be a happy one.
Solution: If you find yourself wanting to help her, you should be her social worker, not her partner! Seriously, a relationship with this dynamic will be bad for both of you. Either get some help changing it, or end it for both of your sakes. And if you find yourself continually drawn to female fix-it projects, take the 12-Week Roadmap class to shift your attraction patterns.
Problem #6 – Treacherous Triggers
We’ve all got emotional triggers – hot buttons that get set off by little things, especially when we’re in love. It’s a brain thing called “fight or flight,” and when we’re in it, we’re emotionally volatile. This leads us to relationship-messing-up behaviors like blowing up, yelling, blaming or trying to change our girlfriends. Or shutting down and blaming ourselves. Or getting lost in endless, painful processing loops that never really solve the problem – all common (and completely avoidable) lesbian relationship problems.
Solution: Trying to train your girlfriend not to trigger you is an exercise in frustration, like trying to cover the world in leather rather than putting on shoes. Find out how to “put your shoes on” emotionally by learning the skill to de-escalate your own triggers, dismantle the habitual stories you tell yourself, and communicate skillfully. The 12-Week Roadmap Course covers this skill for singles; if you’re in a couple, get Conscious Girlfriend Coaching.
Problem #7 – Criticizing Her
Often women criticize their partners without even realizing it. You may think you’re just being helpful, or just telling the truth. But if it comes out as a criticism, you’re essentially pouring battery acid on your relationship. (The #1 cause of relationship failure is “feeling criticized.”) If you’re tempted to criticize, it’s usually because you want something to be different – but criticizing is not an effective way to get what you want. It’ll more likely get you the opposite.
Solution: Learn how to communicate skillfully about your feelings and needs, and make requests using intimacy-building language instead of criticizing. If you’re single, the 12-Week Roadmap course can teach you these skills; if you’re in a couple, check out Conscious Girlfriend coaching.
Problem #8 – Lesbian Bed Death
Yeah, we know you were waiting for this one – but we listed it last because it’s almost always just a side effect of everything else we talked about above! Yes, “lesbian bed death” is a common lesbian relationship problem, but some lesbian couples keep their sexual mojo forever. For those who don’t, the underlying cause is usually unhealthy emotional dynamics (see problems #2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7, above.)
Now, if you never really had sparks, you may not be sexually compatible. But if you had a strong sexual connection initially, sexual problems are almost always caused by what’s happening outside the bedroom – and that’s where they need to be solved.
Solution: If sex is important to you, make sure you find a partner with whom you’re sexually compatible and have strong chemistry. Then make sure you learn the tools to keep your communication strong, heal your conflicts, and balance your intimate time with plenty of autonomy. Conscious Girlfriend coaching can help you solve this and other lesbian relationship problems!
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