Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Posted: 16 Dec 2013 05:25 AM PST
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. - www.bodymindsoul.org.

thanks MICHAEL@gaytwogether.com


Gary Kelly said...

Funny innit. Everyone thinks being funny is associated with having one's mouth and eyes wide open.

JustinO'Shea said...

Hands OFF ! ;-)

GreginAdelaide said...

Nice teeth. I wonder if the rest of him is as good. I bet.

Now, I got that out of the way.... seeing that last comment about being "love's undertakers" and people leaving seeking help until it is either too late or the last resort.... well, how many people do seek help, counselling, as a first resort?

How bad does it get before most people seek help?

I guess it depends on the society you live in.
I think self-help is the major way of Australians, well it has been in the past. Seeking help outside of the family is not something I've seen any acquaintances do.
But then perhaps with the stigma attached, there have been some that I am not aware of.

Yes, we've heard Americans say it in film and on TV and they've stated it as a socially acceptable thing to do, a natural thing.

But if I ever hear an Australian referring to "my psychiatrist" then I will be gob-smacked. To admit to having one is not something "we" would do!!!
For God's sake, it's un-Australian!!!

But then, I may be living in a bubble.

JustinO'Shea said...

"Holy mackerel there, Charlie"!
What do those alleged "aussie" attitudes say about your sanity? And about my profession???
That all makes as much sense as sitting calmly by someone obviously bleeding profusely, as in "bleeding out" and saying "OK, just stay calm; it might stop by itself!"
H - E -- L -- P !!!!!

OR like wondering "what is that smell? It seems to be everywhere I go!" And you yourself haven't showered/washed/bathed in well over a week!!!!
When one is hungry one eats. When one is suffering, one seeks help asap.
Stupidity in not the mother of good mental health.
Right? ;-))

Gary Kelly said...

It's not a bubble, Greg. That's the way it is here in Oz and always has been. Many times I've been at the end of my tether and relied on my own wherewithall to resolve serious depression or hopelessness. It never occurred to me to seek professional help. I've often heard Americans refer to their analyst as if they were referring to their dentist or accountant hehe. Never in Oz though. Never. To admit to having an analyst in Oz would be like admitting you're seriously loopy... or seriously rich with nothing better to spend your money on.

jimm said...

I dunno DrJ, it took me many years to ask for help. The stigma was overpowering until i hit rock-bottom.

JustinO'Shea said...

Let's step back. . in the comments shared there are at least 4 approaches to asking for help.
I'd say the way we were raised has a large influence on our approaches to life. . .familial and cultural. . .think of the strong attitudes in our background which affect us so strongly in the approaches, attitudes we develop which affects choices and decisions.

JustinO'Shea said...

And, GARY, isn't it a shame that such neglectful attitudes have prevent so many people from from getting the clinical medical treatment they needed. . .including medications which would enable them to lead a calmer, more normal life, etc.
Fear and ignorance have histories of enormous medical neglect. . .even leading to increased suffering and death.
Humans have moved "out of the cave" a lot but still run back into the dark cave when they are afraid. . . .

Gary Kelly said...

It's a cultural thing, JustinO. Big boys don't cry and all that. And even little boys for that matter.

One of the great things to happen in Oz recently is the "Men's Shed", where a local group of blokes get together, rent a shed or talk the local council into providing one, and fill it with tools and benches, a kitchenette and a few chairs, etc, and then get together (even daily for some retirees) to make toys for charity, furniture for the needy, and other useful things. They also repair stuff that's been donated and give it to charity. Not only is their time well spent, but they get the chance to talk about their problems and various other issues and form friendships. Many of the blokes say The Shed has worked wonders for their loneliness and depression, and the work has made them feel useful again (especially in retirement). All good stuff, yes?

GreginAdelaide said...

Well said Gary.
That's just the way we are here.
Sad, I guess but it's just fact.

I'd love to know the ratio of analysts to population by country.

I reckon I know on the scale where the US is and where the UK is and where Oz is....

Harder for you to get a job here Justin...haha!

JustinO'Shea said...

Yes indeed. . .but I did have an inquiry. .too soon for emigration. LOL