Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sharing one's life with a partner

I recently suggested to a friend that one of the purposes of a gay relationship was to share one's life with someone else. I was surprised to hear his response, which was that to start out with any purpose like that was prejudging what might happen, and hence inviting failure. He seemed to suggest that perhaps the starting point could be love, but nothing beyond that. For straight couples, one of the reasons for a relationship can be to have children, but for gay couples that reason doesn't really apply.

I've written before about how gay relationships should be constructed (1, 2), but those posts were more from the point of view of whether relationships need to be monogamous or not. I think that when I wrote those posts, I was assuming a situation where two gay guys do want to share their lives with each other, so that isn't the issue.

If a gay "relationship" is purely based on sex, then I reckon the two guys are fuckbuddies rather than boyfriends or partners. For two gay guys that call themselves partners, surely the idea of sharing one's life with the other guy is fundamental?


MadeInScotland said...

Sharing lives, agreed.

But for life?

A different issue. It is what people aspire to, but *why* do they aspire to it? Social norm (in the hetero context)?

But when those norms are based on, say, morality or aspirational values, are they realistic?

Do we then aspire to something that is not consistent with our natural selves, or nature?

Seven year itch. It seems to me that tag exists because a relationship runs a natural course, far less than life. On average, perhaps 7 years.

This is equally applicable to straight relationships; the difference being that the children are sometimes the glue, the reason to make the relationship work.


Anonymous said...

I have been in relationship for 17 years and have every hope that we will be together until as they say, death do us part. I beleive that it is possible for a couple to share common values, but even more important I believe that a relationship has to be based upon friendship. Friendship can last a lifetime. I still have friends from my childhood (not many).

If the relationship was based upon sex, then that changes with time and is not enough of itself to keep a relationship alive. However, friendship is a much more dependable factor in life long sharing of life together.

Will said...

The question, it seems to me, is this:
Is the desire for a lifelong relationship purely a heterosexual
one or simply a human one?

If the former, then a lot of gay men are staying together for life and living in misery or boredom just because they mistakenly think they need to mimic straights.

If the latter, then the desire would apply no matter if the couple is straight or gay/lesbian.

Fritz and I have friends in Australia -- one Aussie, one Welsh -- who have been together 57 years, long before Stonewall, Gay Liberation, AIDS and all the Gay Theory and Politics that attempt to tell us how to live. Their story is simple: they met, started having a lot of sex right away, fell in love very early in the relationship and decided they wanted to spend their lives together. Which they're doing very nicely.

We have younger friends, men who got together ten or a dozen years ago, who have been through the great upheaval and all the processes and events that have brought us to 2011, including bringing men home with some regularity and they, too, want to stay together for the long haul.

The one thing both couples have in common, besides homosexuality, is love.

Anonymous said...

After 40 years together, sex is not the prevalent function, but friendship and companionship.

Anonymous said...

A professional friend says that people tend to decline in mental health as life challenges occur unless they make a conscious decision to keep growing.

I hope to remain married for life. So far, we have not succumbed to the Dark side of the Force.

Alan said...

I have just reached 59 and have been with my partner for 14 years. I guess what I am looking for is an absence of loneliness in retirement, which may be aiming low but we won't have children to sustain us. So I am hoping for a continuation of the relationship as it develops from sex to companionship. Hence I am prepared to accept difficulties that a few years ago would have had me questioning the relationship. Whether I am right to compromise more as I get older I do not know - but it feels right for me. The love is different - but it is still there.