It seems like I am always ranting about being single or how dismal the gay dating scene is. The truth is, I love the idea of love and think we could use some nice examples of successful gay relationships. In this round of #SpillSesh, I talk to several followers who are happily taken and get their advice on how they are making it work. Our final couple (@dlplussthree) in this series has been together for almost 20 years and are making it work in an open relationship with an in-law living in the house! I think they offer some solid tips on how to thrive in a gay relationship.
- How long have you been in your relationship? Are you dating, engaged, married?
We have been together for 19 years and married for 2. We married shortly after the SCOTUS ruling. We have been “Domestic Partners” for as long as I can remember.
- How did you first meet your partner?
I met Mark at a bar in Austin, Texas. He was with a friend of mine. We were immediately attracted to each other. We haven’t been apart since. Well, he was deployed for 8 months because was a Major in the Army when we met.
- Is this a monogamous or open relationship?
In the beginning this was a monogamous relationship but about two years into it Mark and I decided that an open relationship would allow us to explore a more sexual side. We have had two other guys as a third and I would guess that we have both had only one or two sexual relationships outside of ours. We approach the encounters for exactly what they are, sexual.
- Did either of you have to overcome any “red flags” you first noticed about one another when you first started dating?
Mark is a red blooded American, NRA, Army Major – the complete opposite of me. By the way, these were also his “red flags” with me. With our differences, though, we grew to appreciate each other’s differences of opinions.
- When did you first meet each others friend s and family?
Mark met my family immediately as with my friends. I didn’t meet Mark’s family until well into our 14th year. I met his brothers first, then his sister. I met his father two years ago on the day he moved into our house. Yes, the 77 year old father lives with us now.
- What has been the biggest challenge of your relationship so far?
The biggest challenges for both of us have been related to where we live. We have tried San Francisco, Denver, New Mexico, etc. We feel that now we are happy in Austin. Having his alcoholic father living with us has been a challenge for me. I love him, but the drinking bothers me. Mark couldn’t care less because its been his life. We make sure to get away regularly to stay connected. We are stronger together and we make that a priority.
- What has been the easiest part of your relationship so far?
Being honest and caring to each other. We are seriously the most obnoxious gay couple you could meet. We are the couple that sits together and holds hands in a bar. We celebrate each other all the time. This is getting mooshy, sorry…
- Do you have or do you want children with your partner and does any aspect of that make you nervous as a same sex couple?
We discussed children years ago. Mark was asked to donate to a lesbian couple that would in return carry for us but t didn’t work out. I have friends with children or that are pregnant and I cry every time they tell me. lt’s probably a regret that I have. Mark doesn’t.
- What is one thing both of you have done differently in this relationship vs. your past relationships that you think has made this successful?
COMMUNICATION. We talk about things all the time. We share, we take “alone” trips to stay individual and connected to ourselves.
- If you could change one thing about your partner, what would it be (if anything)? What’s something you hope never changes about them?
Mark said that he wouldn’t change anything about me and would hope that my empathy and humanity would never change. I love Mark the way he is and I would hope that his ability to love and his sincerity with friends would never change.
- Has this relationship made you better off as individuals? How?
Both of us feel that the relationship hasn’t made us better or worse. We both approach our life together as two very individual people. Each contributes to and encourages personal growth. We have also said that if we weren’t growing spiritually, physically, or emotionally then it wouldn’t be worth staying together.
- Do you think it’s any harder for gay people to have successful relationships than heterosexual couples? Why?
No. We have many heterosexual couples that struggle in their relationships. He said, she said drama. We feel that because we are two men we share things and understand things about each other…it’s just easy for us.
- How do you handle conflict in the relationship?
COMMUNICATION. We also resolve conflict immediately. We also fight fair. No name calling or hurtful comments.
- The key to a successful relationship is ________.
Love and respect. Also. communication.
l5. Any other thoughts. comments, advice, tips?
There was a line from a book “Men are from Mars Women are from Venus.” It reads something like “Give in a relationship and it will be given back.” When you love someone, it’s easy. I understand that in some aspects Mark and I have an unconventional marriage. It works for us and may not for others. We are not jealous people.