Thursday, August 30, 2012

Jason ans DeMarco

thejourney copy
Featuring their twin sons Mason and Noah and Jason’s parents, Bob and Karen                                                

Greetings!  Beginning Friday, February 1, 2013 Jason & deMarco will embark on ‘Jason & deMarco in Concert: The Journey - Celebrating Families of Diversity’, a 35-day, 24-city Southwest and West coast U.S. concert tour.  The duo will be traveling with their one and a half year old twin sons, Mason and Noah, and Jason’s parents, Bob and Karen.  The family will stop along the way at various venues and events, sharing their story during a time of inspiring music, presentations and Q&A.
Jason will also be promoting his newly-released book, “The Journey of Same Sex Surrogacy – Achieving Our Ultimate Joy”, which will be available for purchase, along with CDs and other J&D merchandise.  Jason’s mother, 
Karen, will be joining the duo in concert as a special guest, along with other surprise guest artists.  Jason’s parents will also both participate in the time of Q&A.
The shows will be open to the community at large and all performances and events will be offered on a donation basis.  Jason & deMarco encourage all GLBT families and allies to come out and show their support for families of diversity.  “This is a time for the nation to see that families of diversity, both chosen and biological, are everywhere in our communities and are to be celebrated”, says Jason & deMarco.

The remaining open dates are being booked on a first-come, first-serve basis.  If you want Jason & deMarco to stop in your city and it is listed on the schedule below, please contact to see if your city is still available.  

In addition, if you or any of your spiritual community would like to contribute financially to the tour, you can do so by visiting

Thank you for your support and we look forward to hearing from you and hopefully seeing you in the New Year!


1-FebHouston, TX
2-FebAustin, TX
3-FebSan Antonio, TX
4-FebEl Paso, TX
5-FebTuscon, AZ
6-FebPhoenix, AZ
7-FebSan Diego, CA
8-FebSan Diego, CA
9-FebLong Beach, CA
10-FebLos Angeles, CA
11-FebLos Angeles, CA
12-FebLos Angeles, CA
13-FebLos Angeles, CA
14-FebBakersfield, CA
15-FebFresno, CA
16-FebSan Jose, CA
17-FebSan Francisco, CA
18-FebSan Francisco, CA
20-FebStockton, CA
21-FebSacramento, CA
22-FebReno, NV
23-FebSalt Lake City, NV
24-FebSalt Lake City, NV
25-FebLas Vegas, NV
26-FebLas Vegas, NV
27-FebLas Vegas, NV
28-FebAlbuquerque, NM
1-MarAlbuquerque, NM
2-MarAmarillo, TX
3-MarLubbock, TX
4-MarAbilene, TX
For booking inquiries,


NEWS !  "Reconciled" E-Book Released by Jason Warner

Many of you have read Jason's blog "Reconciled" over the years.  This blog was a letter Jason had written and compiled over the years that would be given to those who questioned him, "How can you say that you are gay and Christian"?

We are excited to announce that Jason released "Reconciled" on Amazon Kindle last month.  You can order it through, and if you don't have a kindle, you can download a Kindle app on your computer or mobile device and still read the book.  (YOU DO NOT HAVE TO HAVE A KINDLE TO ORDER THE BOOK).  The book is $8.99 and is a great resource to those who may be questioning or desire a quick resource or reference guide to give to loved ones.

To order the book, CLICK HERE

90-Day Group IsaBody Challenge 
Starts Sept 10, 2012 - JOIN US !


A Personal Invitation from deMarco:
As many of you know, while Jason & I continue to tour in music, for the last 3 years we've also been representing an incredible company called Isagenix.  In our travels we've found that for as many people as we've met over the years that are soul-searching, there are even more people suffering silently with their health.  We've had the good fortune to realize early on in life that without our health, we have nothing.  After being introduced to this company's products over 3 years ago from a friend that we trust and respect, and after having our own life-changing powerful personal experience in the first 30 days, we decided to step into the opportunity more fully and are on a campaign to help others get back in control of their health and even finances.  This is truly one of the most rewarding things we've ever done.
Many of you are sick and tired of being sick and tired and want to make a change, you just don't know how or what to do.  We are laying before you an incredible opportunity to join us for the next 90 days by being part of a supportive group of people that makes things happen and help you create the health that your heart desires.  

The action steps are simple:
1. Decide to Succeed (register for FREE, upload beginning photos and measurements).
2. Use the Isagenix Products (they replace groceries and will set you up for success).
3. Plug in and Be Unstoppable (weekly coaching call and private FB group).
4. Win Cash, Products, Cruises ($200,000 worth of prizes and the Health You Deserve). 

Email me today at for more info.  Only 10 days left !deMarco DeCiccio 72dpi

"If you choose not to invest in your health, can you afford illness?" - Les Brown


NEW on TV. . . . .

Likely you've already seen this. . . but. . .in case. . . .;-)

The New Normal. . . .

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Zinger for MITT and the GOP

I wish all politcal ads were like this!

"Everything will be all right in the end. So if it is not all right, it is not yet the end."

Farewell, Summer. . .Farewell Provincetown

Well, for me, the inevitable has happened. . . I left HOME again, yesterday. . . and today I feel kinda sad.  There is a mystique about the Cape for natives and tourists. . . and there are many variations of the Mystique. .  .   .   .I packed up the car and headed out, and arrived at the University late afternoon. . . .and then, down the street, across the River, via the bridge, of course. . .lol. . .no flying,
and thru  the meadows and the beauty of away-from-the-ocean New England. . ."to Grandmother's Home we go. . .the Fit knows the way. . .along the meadows, then the tree-lined streets. . . and
Nous sommes ICI. . .we are HOME-away-from HOME. . . .

As usual my spry beautiful Grandma is out the door to welcome me in arms and a kiss on both cheeks. . . .and then, Peter appears, grinning from ear to ear, looking a bit still sleepy. . .and I AM HOME !

Here is the link to a page filled with tons of photos showing the Provincetown Mystique, the Cape Cod beauty. . . You have several options given at the top of the page: choose your pleasure.  The one
I recommend is the slideshow.  Just click it on, settle back and take it all in. . . .much, much to see. . . for almost as long as you'd like.
As you know, the slideshow will give you full-screen photos; all you have to do is enjoy.

Our little farewell to summer, taken  by the 'pros'.   I have much to do today, having waited till almost the very last minute before classes begin.  Stretch it all out, to the fullest and enjoy every bit. . .
that's the O'Shea style. . . . more later. . .. that's a threat. . .LOL

love and affection,

Friday, August 24, 2012

Is this true. . . .. you think?

The Very Thought Of Him - GAYTWOGETHER.COM - click to enlarge
Posted: 24 Aug 2012 06:20 AM PDT

Research shows that gay men don’t like their bodies very much.
 That might seem surprising, given the amount of time many of us spend at the gym. We probably devote more time and effort to cultivating our physical selves than any other demographic group. Just the same, research indicates that straight men like their bodies most, followed by gay women; straight women like their bodies less than these first two. The group that likes their physical appearance the least is gay men.

Why is this? Gay men spend a lot of time in places that place a premium on physical appearance: bars, gyms, sex clubs. We live in a sexualized subculture that places a premium on physical beauty, and media and advertising bombard us with images that reflect an impossibly high standard of physical beauty. Under circumstances like these, it’s easy to confuse who you are with how you look.

We all like to see attractive men, of course. Still, more and more men – even men with bodies that most of us would agree are muscular and very attractive – find themselves very dissatisfied with how they look. At it’s most extreme, this situation is called body dysmorphia – a preoccupation with some imagined defect in appearance when the person involved is actually very normal looking. This problem can lead to depression and trouble forming healthy relationships.

Research indicates that eating disorders and body image problems are linked with public self-consciousness, social anxiety and feeling dishonest about who one really is. Men with internalized homophobia who have difficulty accepting themselves as gay are probably especially likely to develop a distorted body image or eating disorder.

Compared with women, who generally only worry that they are too fat, many gay men worry that they are either too fat or too thin. This misperception can become a genuine distortion disorder that could be called "reverse anorexia" or "bulkorexia." Even when dramatically muscular, men with this misperception feel they are too small or thin.

It's easy to see how men who have grown up with images of limp-wristed, reed-thin gay men form this sort of reaction and seek to show that they don't fit the stereotype. Preoccupation with muscles becomes a way of relieving fears about our masculinity.

Places where gay men socialize especially bars, gyms, and sex clubs, often emphasize physical attributes or make those the first criterion for checking someone out. It's difficult for someone who is older than a certain age or different from the prevailing cultural standards of beauty to catch someone's eye in a bar or club.

This has the sad and unintended consequence of leaving some gay men in the social binds most familiar to teenage girls – obsessed about their appearance and feeling like their locus of control lies completely outside of themselves.

If you have trouble accepting your body, there are steps you can take to improve the situation. First, take the concern seriously. Don't confuse who you are with how you look. Develop a sense of identity based on all of your attributes and on your values.

Put your body back together. Consider stretching, yoga and massage as ways to help yourself feel like more than just "skinny legs" or "love handles." Indulge in body pleasures – long baths, massage, good sex, a walk in the park on a sunny day. Make your own list.

Learn to appreciate body types in all shapes and sizes. Stop trashing men who don't conform to the "buffed" image. Seek alternative role models. Don't emphasize body size or shape as an indication of a man's worth or his identity as a man. Learn to value the person inside.

And finally, confront homophobia, including internalized homophobia. Don't accept being treated as a second-class citizen by straight society or by other gay folks.

John R. Ballew, M.S. author & contributor to GAYTWOGETHER, is a licensed professional counselor in private practice in Atlanta. He specializes in issues related to coming out, sexuality, relationships and spirituality. If you have any questions or comments you can submit them directly to GAYTWOGETHER or John R. Ballew, M.S. - or at (404) 874-8536.

~~~~~ THANKS,

Monday, August 20, 2012

Gay Christians

In case you didn't read this at The Closet Professor blog I presumed his permission [ I don't have his email addy. . .] to repost this at The Dunes.   I agree with his message here and want to help spread his good word.  If you do not already I encourage you to check Joe's blog regularly: there is so much really pertinent and helpful info and articles there.  Really worthwhile reading.  Thanks, JOE.

justin o'shea

Some Christians are Gay. Get Over It!


Do you ever feel hated by the world for being a gay Christian?  We're not just persecuted for being gay; the gay community's not too fond of our Christian beliefs either, especially if it makes more than a marginal difference in our lives.

That's why Jesus' words in this week's Bible passage are so meaningful for us.  Although his comments were addressed directly to his followers and refer to their dealings with the Jewish community of their day, in many ways they apply to us in our dealings with both the Christian community and the secular world.

John 15:18-21; 16:1-4 (NASB)"If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, butI chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ' A slave is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name's sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me."These things I have spoken to you so that you may be kept from stumbling. They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God. These things they will do because they have not known the Father or Me.  But these things I have spoken to you, so that when their hour comes, you may remember that I told you of them. These things I did not say to you at the beginning, because I was with you.
When you feel lonely in your struggle, come back to this passage and remember the One who endured that hate and persecution first.  God is with you, even now.

I don't know about you, but there are times I don't even want to be called a Christian.  When my non-Christian friends talk about the hypocrisy and self-righteousness they observe in many Christians, I can't honestly disagree with them.  I see the same things, and it makes me angry.  In some cultures today, Christians are known more for hypocrisy than for grace, and that's a terrible shame.

But I have to remind myself that these things made Jesus angry, too.  The Jesus I serve is the same Jesus who spent his time eating with the most obvious sinners of his day without condemning them.  He's the same Jesus who spoke up for an adulteress when the rest of the town was ready to stone her for her sin.  And he's the same Jesus who reserved his harshest words for the religious leaders, angrily denouncing them as "sons of hell."

Next time you get angry at hypocritical Christians who turn people away from God, read this passage and know that God is angry with you.
Matthew 23:13-28 (NASB)But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites,because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense you make long prayers; therefore you will receive greater condemnation."Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves."Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ' Whoever swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple is obligated.' You fools and blind men!Which is more important, the gold or the temple that sanctified the gold? And, 'Whoever swears by the altar,that is nothing, but whoever swears by the offering on it, he is obligated.' You blind men, which is more important, the offering, or the altar that sanctifies the offering? Therefore, whoever swears by the altar, swears both by the altar and by everything on it. And whoever swears by the temple, swears both by the temple and by Him who dwells within it. And whoever swears by heaven,swears both by the throne of God and by Him who sits upon it.Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also.Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Notice how strong the language in this passages is.  Do you understand why Jesus was so angry?  Are you ever guilty of hypocrisy, ungrace, or other behaviors that might give Christians a bad name?

The church is made up of fallible human beings, so sometimes our pride gets in the way of becoming what the body of Christ is intended to be.  Nevertheless, what does this passage tell us about God's character as well as God's plans for us as Christians?

Partner Emergencies

The Very Thought Of Him - GAYTWOGETHER.COM - click to enlarge

Posted: 20 Aug 2012 06:20 AM PDT
ASI109xzxxSometimes events overtake us.  Whether it is an out-of-the-blue surprise like the exposing of an affair or the accumulated discontent that comes from neglecting the health of a relationship, we are suddenly facing a confrontation. Something has changed so much that one partner or the other is no longer certain he wants to be in this relationship.  The relationship is in crisis.

Gay couples often don’t have a lot of support.  Family and friends may be of marginal help, but too often there is the expectation that, well…breakups happen.

 There are often none of the legal complications that cause heterosexual couples to work for a while before dissolving their marriage. Gay couples are too often left to their own devices. That makes it imperative to get to work on the relationship as soon as possible.

Try to avoid making hasty or drastic decisions or threats. If something has happened which brings up a great deal of emotion – hurt, fear, anger – express what you are feeling without making threats. Take a few deep breaths. Stay grounded.

Arguing about blame can be tempting – particularly if one of you feels deeply wronged by the other. It is easy to get self-righteous when the other person has done something pretty awful. You are certainly entitled to your feelings, but understand that you may have to face a choice: you can prove that you are right, or you can try to resurrect your relationship. Making the latter choice may mean broadening your idea of what “winning an argument” looks like, but choosing to prove your point and punish your partner may mean letting go of a relationship that still has value to both of you. Choose wisely!

Listen to your partner. This can be difficult if you feel attacked or betrayed, but try. What do you imagine he is feeling? See if you can listen to his feelings as well as expressing your own.

What do you need right now? If you need something from your partner, see if you can make a specific request that can be translated into action. If he needs something from you, ask him to be specific, too. Avoid general complaining, replacing it with a call for doing something concrete. If you have faced a similar crisis before, what do you remember about what was helpful then – or what mistakes you would like to avoid?

Be cautious about venting your frustration and anger with friends. Friends who get the impression you are breaking up with your partner are likely to say things they will regret later. (“I never liked the jerk.”) This is ultimately not fair to your soon-to-be-former friends, nor is it helpful to you or your relationship.

If you value your relationship, you will do well to avoid these sorts of relationship emergencies if at all possible. That may mean making an agreement ahead of time (ideally, at the time that you are first making a commitment to each other) never to talk about breaking up in a moment of anger; if you have to face that possibility, you want to make the decision in a clear-headed way and not the heat of the moment.

Remember that couples often wait so long to get into counseling that relationship counselors sometimes joke among themselves that they are “love’s undertakers.”  Don’t wait that long to start caring for your relationship.

John R. Ballew, M.S. an author and contributor to GAYTWOGETHER, is a licensed professional counselor in private practice in Atlanta. He specializes in issues related to coming out, sexuality, relationships and spirituality. If you have any questions or comments you can submit them directly to GAYTWOGETHER or John R. Ballew, M.S.

~~~~~~~Thanks, MICHAEL from

Sunday, August 19, 2012

S i m p l i c i t y


S o l i t u d e

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Formatting the Blog Page

Good morning All Y'All. . .

This email just arrived and I want to address it.  ;-)

<<Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Lost in Love?": 

I don't know whether it's just me or if perhaps everyone 
else encountering problems with your blog. It looks like some of the written text within your content 
are running off the screen. Can someone else please provide 
feedback and let me know if this is happening to them 
too? This may be a problem with my internet browser because I've had this happen previously. Kudos
Also visit my web-site get the best woodworking bench plans >>

Dear Anonymous:
I checked the blog post of your underlined "Lost in Love" and it is all contained on the blog page on my computer.  . .there is no run-over. . .for me.

BUT I do know that now and then there is "content running
off the screen".  I do not know why.  It may be my fault and I do not know how to correct it.  When I am typing/formatting an entry it looks just fine, all in place, contained within the 'box'.  When there is "run off/over" I see it only after it has been published on the blogpage.

I've gone back and worked on editing. . .but I am not able to correct.  I end up spending a lot of time trying but to no avail.  So I let it go.  Fortunately it doesn't happen at my end very often.  If it did, I am afraid I wouldn't post much of anything as I just do not have the time to spend on this.  As I said, it doesn't happen at my end, as far as I know, very often.

Are others finding this a problem?  Any suggestions, ideas?
As i said, when I am typing/formatting the page it leaves me looking fine, contained.  It is only later that I see the flaws. . .that I have not been able to change.

I am "dancing as fast as I can, or plan on" :-)) and I welcome and appreciate all the help I can get.  Anyone else have some good ideas on this?

I am grateful for any and all assistance.

ciao ciao ~

Voice of Experience

Alan, a 'Dunes-er' from the UK sent this commentary from his life with C. after 50 years.  It's loving, direct and simple, speaking so much depth and wisdom. . . .and "Oh so do-able!"  Thanks, Alan.

I invite all of you to share, like this, from your "experience, strength and hope".  You'd help all of us in our growing in love and life.

  I read with interest your two articles on what makes a long term relationship.  After 50 years I think I can start to answer this. 
   The secret of a long-term relationship is to accept that lust to love.  Love turns to understanding of one another's faults, learning to live not in one another's pocket but as part of one another.  Having diverse but similar interests, and talking.
   Also, learn one word - "SORRY". . .and, if you use it, mean it!.
   We are all with faults and must accept that no one is perfect, including ourselves.  Enjoy life and enjoy one another, be it when you are twenty or seventy. That morning kiss and hug at night says it all. . .
   We no longer sleep together or even share a bedroom, but that is because as you get older you change, love though does not.  I thought when C said he would prefer to sleep alone that this was rejection.  It was not.  It was progression
and we are both now happy with this.
   Long life and happiness to you and Peter. Don't expect Mr. Perfect; he does not exist, but Mr. Wonderful does.
~~~ Alan

Friday, August 17, 2012

Super Couples. . .part 2

The Very Thought Of Him - GAYTWOGETHER.COM - click to enlarge

Posted: 17 Aug 2012 06:20 AM PDT
11-500{ Continued from yesterday }

What makes a healthy and lasting long-term gay relationship successful:

6. They enjoy a sensual and sexual camaraderie that helps them to meet their erotic potential.

The happiest couples tend to report enjoying nonsexual affection in their daily lives through spontaneous touch, verbal strokes, holding hands, cuddling, and massage. They also understand the importance of maintaining a passionate sexual connection through regular pleasuring sessions and keeping their erotic lives energetic and enjoyable. Even for those couples in "open relationships", the sexual relationship with their partner remains an important component of intimacy for them and they find ways to meet each other's needs, even when one isn't necessarily in the mood.

7. They have a supportive network of family and friends who honor their relationship.

Having the backing and encouragement of loved ones can be a great impetus for reinforcing a gay couple's commitment. Surrounding themselves with positive and affirming people can be a great boost.

8. They are comfortable with their sexuality and not afraid to show it.

Sexual identity struggles and internalized homophobia can really drag a relationship down unless both men tend to be in the same boat with their levels of outness. Confident and successful gay couples are comfortable being in relationship with each other no matter the setting or public domain. Whether it's trying out a mattress at the local bedding store or attending a social function in a mixed-orientation crowd, these couples feel secure enough in their identities and relationship to combat any potential homophobia they may face by proudly being themselves. Being able to be free and uninhibited is a truly liberating feeling for a gay couple.

9. They possess the following in their partnership: trust, commitment, honesty, openness, flexibility, loyalty, dedication and devotion, quality time, sensitivity, nonjudgmental attitudes, loving and unafraid to express their feelings and passionate side, etc.

These are obvious hallmark characteristics that typify a healthy relationship, but gay men in particular are vulnerable to power struggles, competition, and issues surrounding intimacy and closeness due to male socialization in their man-to-man relationships. Successful couples are aware of these pitfalls and work hard to embrace a holistic masculinity that counters the stereotypes they've been engrained with.

10. They place a high premium on their lives together and are focused on not taking each other for granted.

Successful gay couples realize that the busyness of life can very easily put their relationship on the back shelf, but they don't let it! They ensure that they devote quality time together, schedule special "date nights" with each other, and are attentive to each other's needs. They make sure they are diligently working toward their shared relationship vision, validate their partner in the ways he likes it most, and make sure to show through words and actions how much they appreciate their guy being in their lives.

So how did you and your partner do? These are only some of the qualities that comprise a healthy gay relationship and it's up to you and your man to define the parameters of what that would look and feel like for your unique relationship.

Use these tips as a springboard to discuss how things are going in your relationship to gauge your strengths and areas for growth and craft an action plan to make things even better between the two of you.

© Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, The Gay Love Coach
The suggestions and feedback offered in this column are but one perspective of multiple approaches to dealing with problems or challenges. Information provided in articles and advice columns should not be used as a substitute for coaching or therapy when these services are needed. None of this information should be your only source when making important life decisions. This information should not be used for diagnosing or treating a particular problem, nor should it take the place of a consultation with a trained professional. It is your responsibility to consult a professional prior to making any life decisions.
Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, contributing author to GAYTWOGETHER, is one of the leading love coaches for the gay community. As a licensed dating and relationship coach, Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, DHS, MSW has over 18 years experience as a psychotherapist and life coach specializing in helping GLBT individuals and couples develop and maintain successful and fulfilling intimate relationships. He holds a doctorate degree in human sexuality from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality and a master’s degree in clinical social work from Western Michigan University. He also runs a successful private therapy practice, Personal Victory Counseling, Inc.

**** Thanks to BRIAN and to

Thursday, August 16, 2012

10 Qualities of Super Couples. . . .part 1

Posted: 16 Aug 2012 06:20 AM PDT
22116500So what makes a healthy and lasting long-term gay relationship successful? Our society certainly doesn't make it easy for us as gay men to date and mate with all the homophobia and discrimination that exists. Though this is slowly starting to change in many parts of the world, man-to-man love continues to be stigmatized and this backdrop of cultural oppression and hatred can put a strain on a gay couple's budding relationship that many heterosexual pairs may take for granted.

As a gay community, we lack adequate and visible positive role models of gay couples that provide hope for lasting relationship success. As men, we've been conditioned to define our masculinity in rigid and narrow ways as part of the socialization process growing up and this can create conflict when pairing up two individuals of the same gender looking for intimacy and emotional connection.

 And then we have our own layers of discrimination and pressure in our own gay community that at times can leave gay couples feeling unsupported and uninspired to achieve relationship longevity in the one place they thought they'd be safe-among their own.

While the odds do seem to be stacked against us in the fight for the dream of claiming our rightful husband with the accompanying house, white picket fence, and prideful rainbow flag securely attached to the front porch, they don't have to be obstacles to our success.  Having to face so much adversity has actually enabled many of us to be quite resilient in the face of stress and makes us good candidates for partnerships with the right focus and determination.

There are many gay men in long-term relationships who can vouch for their fulfillment of this dream and speak of happiness and bliss in their coupled status. But what are the ingredients that make a healthy gay relationship?

Characteristics of Successful Gay Couples

There is no specific blueprint or formula for how to maintain a lasting and successful relationship. One of the beauties of being gay is that we can create our own definitions of what constitutes an ideal relationship for ourselves as we are not hampered down by restrictive gender roles and norms like our heterosexual counterparts.

Each couple develops their own unique partnership that works for them. That being said, there are some universal qualities that can promote a more solid and functional relationship over the long haul for partners seeking long-term connection and happiness.

Successful gay couples can exhibit some of the following...

072307 aaa1. They share compatible interests and philosophies of life.

It's important that partners have similar interests and hobbies to share in common to build experiences with together, but it's also essential to have some differences as well to complement each other. This helps to keep the mystery and intrigue alive in the relationship that exists with contrast. Who wants to have an exact replica of themselves that they interact with on a daily basis?!

Boring! What is absolutely critical, however, is that both partners will have a smoother and more fulfilling relationship if they share comparable value systems. This forms the foundation of what the couple believes in and is the diving board from which they co-create a vision for their future together as a united front and alliance for life.

2. They openly communicate with each other and stay engaged in each other's lives.

This involves direct and honest dialogue about the mundane aspects of life to the serious thoughts and feelings that get triggered as a part of relationship dynamics. The partners create a climate in their home where each feels safe and comfortable sharing vulnerable aspects of themselves with each other and are attuned to each other's needs. Listening skills are primed and each feels like an active participant in the relationship. Issues are not swept under the rug and are dealt with immediately in an assertive and caring way
3. They manage conflict productively.

Healthy gay couples recognize that conflict is an inevitable and normal part of a relationship, seeing these "rough spots" as opportunities for growth and positive change in their partnership. They deal with their anger in constructive ways, avoid hurtful comments and assigning of blame, and take the time to understand and validate each other's points of views before initiating collaborative problem-solving to try and reach a win/win solution. They are open to compromise and sacrifice and always keep a teamwork stance in negotiating their differences.

4. They have a balanced lifestyle comprised of both individual and couple identities.

In relationships it's important to have time devoted to nourishing the relationship and also to focus on individual interests and pursuits. Too much "couple identity" causes both partners to feel suffocated. Too much "individual identity" creates a feeling of being disconnected and living as roommates. Striking a positive balance of both brings in just enough freshness and vitality to the relationship where boundaries are strong and healthy. Each partner feels supported by the other for striving for their own personal growth and goals without feeling threatened because the relationship vision is also being attended to simultaneously.
Pgt_121406 aa5. They have fun with life and try not to take things so seriously.
Life can be stressful, so why add to the tension with a hardened demeanor? Successful couples are those that are playful with each other, enjoy a humorous banter between the two of them, and feel energized by such things as tickling, cracking jokes, pulling pranks on each other, and being perverted with each other. All things are done in a loving way and this approach to their interactivity creates an atmosphere of laughter and celebration for being in each other's lives.
( Part 2 - Tomorrow )

© Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, The Gay Love Coach
The suggestions and feedback offered in this column are but one perspective of multiple approaches to dealing with problems or challenges. Information provided in articles and advice columns should not be used as a substitute for coaching or therapy when these services are needed. None of this information should be your only source when making important life decisions. This information should not be used for diagnosing or treating a particular problem, nor should it take the place of a consultation with a trained professional. It is your responsibility to consult a professional prior to making any life decisions.
Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, contributing author to GAYTWOGETHER, is one of the leading love coaches for the gay community. As a licensed dating and relationship coach, Dr. Brian Rzepczynski, DHS, MSW has over 18 years experience as a psychotherapist and life coach specializing in helping GLBT individuals and couples develop and maintain successful and fulfilling intimate relationships. He holds a doctorate degree in human sexuality from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality and a master’s degree in clinical social work from Western Michigan University. He also runs a successful private therapy practice, Personal Victory Counseling, Inc.

~~~~~Thanks, Brian, and also