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Why Gay Relationships Work & Fail

Top Reasons Why Gay Relationships Work & Fail

by Brian Rzepczynski, The Gay Love Coach


Back in the 90’s, I worked at Linden Oaks Hospital, a psychiatric clinic in Naperville, Illinois in their outpatient department providing counseling to all ages and populations. We did a lot of work with couples and used a handout with our clients that taught them about attitudes and ingredients for having healthy intimate relationships. I still use that handout in my clinical work as it is a great resource in helping couples assess their own relationship functioning, as well as to use it as a guide for developing goals to work on. Linden Oaks is credited for this content, which is outlined below. The word ‘relationships’ is being used instead of ‘marriages’, as was specified in the handout. While written for a heterosexual audience, we can certainly adapt this information to our gay partnerships as the following content illustrates issues that are universal to all relationship styles. Hopefully you will find it useful as it applies to evaluating your own relationship for maximizing its success.

Top 10 Reasons Relationships Work

10. “Our relationship is first…not third or fourth…”

9. “We’re able to compromise…”

8. “He acknowledges and validates me…”

7. “Humor…we know how to have fun…”

6. “We’re friends…”

5. “We accept each other’s strengths and weaknesses…”

4. “Everybody’s responsible and no one is to blame…”

3. “We have a healthy dependence/mutuality in our relationship…”

2. “We can disagree without attacking…”

1. “We’re able to really listen and communicate with each other…”

Top 10 Reasons Relationships Fail

10. “We’ve just grown apart…”

9. “We’re just not in love anymore…”

8. “He’ll never change…”

7. “I don’t have any emotions/feelings left…”

6. “All we do is fight…”

5. “There’s just too much resentment built up…”

4. “We can’t work out problems with children…”

3. “There’s no intimacy or ‘fire’…”

2. “I just can’t trust him…”

1. “We just don’t communicate…”

Tips For Lasting Love

  •  Ability to solve problems
  • Active listening
  • Ability to express and validate feelings and needs
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Love and romance
  • Friendship
  • Forgiveness

 Adding ‘Gay’ To The Mix

While there are some universal elements to relationships, we gay couples have our own unique and special challenges and benefits to live through that are different than other relationship styles. In fact, we have added burdens and obstacles to overcome living in a homophobic society to make our relationships succeed in the long-term. And because of the multitude of barriers and stressors we face, we are in a better position to experience higher-level feelings of intimacy because of the shared experiences and resilience we have, but only if we can muster up the courage to push forward during those difficult times as a united front. The rewards of growing, learning, and changing as a couple are great! Some additional factors that I might add to the list for making relationships work that are more specific to gay men in a couple include:

  •  Having solid self-esteem and comfort with being gay
  • Ability to express and validate feelings and needs
  • Having a support system of people who honor, value, and validate the men’s relationship as a gay couple
  • Each man having his own individual identity, as well as commitment to a relationship identity to allow for more balance and vitality
  • Having a clear agreement about monogamy vs. non-monogamy in one’s relationship and having an understanding of what that means and looks like and abiding by that faithfully
  • Recognition that relationships take effort and work
  • Having a shared vision for the future as a couple
  • And most importantly, as in all relationships, communication is key! Productive conflict resolution is critical! Honesty is a must! The ability to be flexible is also important.


This article merely scratches the surface of what constitutes a healthy relationship. There are many ingredients that go into creating a successful partnership, but the topics discussed here provide you with a basic foundation of what’s most needed to get you on the right track. What’s important is that each couple defines for themselves what works best for them and what happiness and fulfillment would look like for them. The above skills will help promote a working atmosphere to help the two of you co-pilot the type of relationship you’re seeking. Identify your strengths and weaknesses as a couple from the tips and craft a plan for making things even better between the two of you. Society desperately needs to see healthy gay couples functioning in successful relationships. Could you be a role model as gay partners if you choose? If so, let us all share the wealth and wisdom with each other as a community, to learn from each other on what it takes! Cheers to your relationship success!

© 2005 Brian L. Rzepczynski Brian Rzepczynski, Certified Personal Life Coach, is The Gay Love Coach: “I work with gay men who are ready to create a road map that will lead them to find and build a lasting partnership with Mr. Right.” To sign up for the FREE Gay Love Coach Newsletter filled with dating and relationship tips and skills for gay singles and couples, as well as to check out current coaching groups, programs, and teleclasses, please visit


Why Relationships Work

After reading the above article I realized many things.  Why my LTR worked for 28+ years until he died in 2008 and why over the past two years I've been back in the "dating" world, I've yet to find that level of connection.  The line that hit me between the eyes was, "Both men having the same level of outness...".  Though several men I've dated and I share the same values, concepts of monogamy and backgrounds; it is the level of outness that we share.
Now, I have to admit that I do have a specific type I'm attracted to and being a man in my late 50's, the majority of men I've met are "late bloomers" to accepting their sexuality.  Therefore, most have been married and divorced, some have children, they have families that only know them as straight.  I've also had one that was still married that tried to keep that a secret and once exposed did the the "she just doesn't understand" line.  
There has also been the dates with men who knew and accepted their sexuality early.  One date we sat at dinner telling me about all his bad relationships.  All I could think was, "and the common denominator is...".  Let's just say I was grateful I didn't have any rope because I would have to decide whether to hang myself or them.  Then, those who are only looking for a "friend with benefits" or want an open relationship.
What I've come to believe is that I must stop looking.  Be open to what comes my way.  Understand that we all come with our own baggage.  And, drop my own prejudice.  Easy to say,not easy to do.


I'm 18, and i am in a gay relationship with a 24 ear old guy, weve been boyfriends since i was 16, and until now, though we are far apart ( he is from the US and I'm from the Philippines) I'm glad we lasted long enough in our relationship, and ive known from the start, that i want to be with him forever, we share things about how we want our future could be, what kind of job he would take when he graduate, so it would be easier for us to maintain our financial status and for him to be able to take me with him to the states, we always talk about what we would do if we are together and that is really special for me.  but sometimes i get to think of, what would happen if we are actually together, we already had arguments while we are talking through skype, and we did managed it well, but what if we are actually together? will it be much harder for us to solve problems ? or it would be much easier for us? im not an "out-gay" for now, but some of my friends know, he still hides it from his family, and church, and i respect that, but what if it affects our relationship? how can i handle it? can you help me? I know you have been in many relationships and he is my frist relationship so i know you couldhelp me and give me useful advice. hoping to get a response from you.  Chris....