Why do gay men have problems sustaining long-term intimate relationships? It’s a big question with no simple answer, but there are lots of reasons that contribute to the difficulties that gay men have in finding a long-term partner. Chicago therapist Brian Rzepczynski is known as The Gay Love Coach, and he recently interviewed me on the difficulties that gay singles and couples experience.
One of the topics that frequently comes up with my gay private practice clients is the issue of using Grindr to meet other gay men. I’m always interested in the wide range of reactions to this app and what men think and feel about it. Some of my clients have occasional fun using this app, while others get hooked on constantly being online and cruising for other men- often leading to lots of frustration and despair.
Many gay men struggle to create intimacy and closeness with other gay men, and there are a number of reasons why this is so. The experience of growing up gay in a straight world effects us all in different ways, however there are a number of commonalities that gay men struggle with, and these struggles come to the surface when we are in intimate relationships with other men.
Some new research reported in the New York Times suggests that couples that engage in more touch report higher levels of relationship satisfaction. This might sound like common sense, but it is also a good reminder of what helps sustain successful relationships. Although it is hard to know what came first for these couples, the relationship satisfaction or the touch, it is clear that there is a link between the two, and that touch is a powerful tool for building relationships.
Some people believe that whatever kind of childhood they had, it has no bearing on the relationships they form in adulthood. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is impossible to not bring the influences of your childhood into your relationship. It is in childhood that we develop a ‘blueprint’ for relating. We learn and internalize what we perceive love is and how it is expressed.