People in the LGBTQI+ community have a higher prevalence of mental disorders than heterosexuals, largely owing to the minority stress they are subjected to – as found in a review by I Meyer, published in the Psychological Bulletin Journal. Partners can play a key role in helping to buffer stress. By showing support in the way their partner most appreciates, including family and friends in the process, and being aware of the effect their own stress has on their partner, they can make a positive difference to their partner’s life.
Enhancing Closeness And Intimacy
Emotional intimacy means being able to share our thoughts and emotions with our partners while feeling listened to and cared for. As stated by couples experts at Westmount Psychological Services, “Given that LGB people face a double dose of potential stress (or potentially more if they have other marginalized and intersecting identities) their relationships can be particularly vulnerable.” To boost intimacy, it is important to make time for it and approach it seriously and in a committed fashion. This can be achieved by scheduling in time for conversation, making time for physical and sexual intimacy, engaging in fun activities, and sharing each other’s passions, hobbies, and favorite activities.
Pleasing Your Partner In A Way They Understand
Classic best-seller The 5 Love Languages is still a powerful reminder that people enjoy expressing and receiving love in different ways. In the book, for instance, author Gary Chapman defines five ‘love languages’ as words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving and giving presents, spending quality time together, and physical touch. Clearly, your partner may enjoy giving and receiving love in more than one. They may enjoy quality time alone with you and physical intimacy, but also enjoy receiving presents that show that you think about them when you’re not together. Presents that can soothe tense partners include fun gadgets like massage ball rollers, a sexy hammock for midday naps, or an aromatherapy oil diffuser. For the latter, choose calming oils such as lavender, or energizing ones such as orange, depending on your partner’s mood.
Embrace Social Buffers
LGBTQI+ couples can be marginalized, so it’s important to foster and maintain positive relationships with friends and family who love you and your partner. As found in a study by J Graham and Z Barnow, “Social support from family and friends is directly related to well-being, while support provided by one’s romantic partner buffered individual well-being from the negative impact of stress.” No couple is an island, so receiving love and support from more than one source can help nip stress in the bud.
Being Aware Of How Venting Can Affect Wellbeing
When you’re upset, it’s logical to share your feelings with your partner. A study on same sex couples, published in the journal Personal Relationships, found that on days in which one partner feels stressed yet close to their partner, this positive affection has the effect of lowering stress. However, the other partner can have reduced satisfaction when they perceive stress in their partner, despite feeling close to their loved one on a given day. The researchers stated that this may be because same-sex couples can have less family support than heterosexual couples. Therefore, when one partner feels stressed because their partner has had a tough day, they may not have many places to turn. As mentioned above, having a wider social circle and going for counseling can help couples ensure they communicate all they need to while maintaining both partners’ happiness and satisfaction.
Gay couples generally face more stress than heterosexual ones. To reduce the effects of stress, aim to set a schedule for intimacy and to speak to your partner in a way they understand. Also, embrace support from friends and family, since it will help to reduce tension for both you and your partner. Finally, if you find that one partner’s stress is continually causing tension in the relationship, professional counseling can help both partners learn more productive ways to communicate.
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