Boyfriends: make them last
Tony and Adam met 25 years ago in Cambridge, England, where Tony was working as a police officer and Adam had just got his first job after leaving home. Now, all this time later, they have been running Gay Life Coach together for many years. They support gay men to thrive in their social life, at work and in their relationships.
Here they share their top tips for making the absolute best of a relationship with your boyfriend.
1. Give each other space to flourish
When you first get together, you may want to spend every hour of the day with your new love. Work and other commitments can seem to be obstacles that keep you away from each other. But in reality, spending time apart, doing things individually can be enormously beneficial to a relationship. We’ve had times when our work has meant we’ve lived in separate countries. We’ve taken holidays with other friends, and alone. One of us goes out salsa dancing without the other. All these things have strengthened our relationship. At the very least, they give you something to talk about. But more importantly, they show that we don’t want to possess each other. If you want a relationship that will stand the test of time, allow your boyfriend to be supremely himself. This may mean giving him space.
2. Be loyal
Never belittle your boyfriend in front of other people. Even if you think he’s wrong, support him in public. One of our mantras throughout the years has been “No contempt”! Always hold the line with your loved one, and only air any serious disagreement or problem you with him in private.
3. Deal with disagreements constructively
You are bound to have disagreements from time to time. In order to stop these from becoming conflicts, here are some of the things to do:
- keep it specific: rather than “you always do that”, focus on the incident you’re talking about;
- make it about you not him: “I was disappointed…” is much better than “you upset me…”
- really listen to him and seek to understand what he’s saying instead of thinking about your next response.
4. Be truthful
If you want to build up trust, you need to live out the behaviour you expect of him. We all know how little lies can soon become big ones, so be honest. Make sure you don’t promise more than you can deliver.
It’s wonderful to see how many same-sex couples’ relationships have stood the test of time. With the right degree of commitment and goodwill, yours can too. May you and your boyfriend flourish for many years to come. If you haven’t met him yet, keep heart; and in the meantime, use these tips with all the other special people in your life!
Tony and Adam have written an enjoyable and easy to use self-coaching course on sustaining a relationship that is available exclusively through their website. It’s a four-week course designed to help you and your boyfriend to flourish.