We’ve all seen it: lesbian relationships often start out so intense that we end up “merging” — giving up our own interests, preferences and friends.
At first that can feel great, but eventually one partner starts to feel smothered, and pulls away. Often, her partner chases her. Then that dynamic can recur again and again through the life of the relationship. Sometimes we take turns pulling away and pursuing; other times, we get stuck in our roles. Either way, it’s no fun!
Other times, it feels less dramatic. Maybe neither person pulls away, but bills, work, chores and/or childrens’ needs take their toll. Eventually, two women who couldn’t keep their hands off each other – and who wanted to stay up all night talking about everything and nothing – no longer touch or talk much at all.
If any of these scenarios have happened to you, don’t worry – you’re in good company! They happen to most couples – and from what we’ve seen, they tend to happen in particular ways to lesbians and queer women.
Now, some women feel content as roommates, and resign themselves to living without much – or any – physical or emotional intimacy.
But for others, this is just too big a loss – and affairs, fights, pain, or quiet desperation are the result.
If you’re content in a relationship without intimacy, that’s fine. No one can tell you how your relationship should be, and having a companionable roommate is no small thing!
But if you’re yearning for more connection – sustainable intimacy, not the kind that temporarily takes over your life and then leaves you high and dry, but the kind that nourishes, supports and inspires you over the long term – we want you to know that there are ways to create and maintain it.
For most couples, it takes clearing out the scar tissue from past hurts, learning how to communicate and be heard, and gaining conflict-healing skills, first.
Then, once you’ve done that, there’s room to learn the specific intimacy-building practices that will help you and your partner know, see and hear each other more deeply – and love each other more fully.
I remember back in my 20s, I was afraid I was destined to have short relationship after short relationship, because I figured I would always get bored with people sooner or later. Then a wise person told me, “If both partners keep growing – and sharing their growth with each other – that doesn’t have to be the case!”
And Michelle and I have found that to be true. In some ways, we know each other incredibly well, and there’s a lot of comfort in that. In other ways, we keep changing, and life keeps throwing us new challenges to respond to – and that keeps our relationship alive and interesting.
Sometimes those challenges are exciting, like starting Conscious Girlfriend together Other times they’re things like health problems, that we would never have chosen. But even in tough times, we find ways to talk, connect and support each other deeply – and tonight I’m feeling very grateful for that.
If this kind of deep connection sounds like something you want in your own relationship – or if you just need help to stop fighting, stop hurting each other, and get the magic back – we want you to know that it can happen.
Yes, lesbians can have healthy, happy, wonderfully connected long term relationships! But it doesn’t happen just by meeting the right person, or by luck. It takes skills. Anyone can learn these skills, but you do have to want to
If you’re ready for a fast-track, we’d love to support you with some coaching! You could also try our course, “Communicate and Be Heard,” which can help you start on the path to healthy communication with your partner.