What is a Healthy Relationship? Very few of us have the slightest clue, and yet, in one way or another, we all jump into relationships without even thinking what that entails. And before we know it, we find ourselves struggling to fix the relationship or desperately get out of it. Well, it’s called life. In each monthly installment, I will help pave the road so that we can engage in a dialogue and discover the wonders, the ins and outs, if you will, of what relationships are made of.
Relationships can be very complicated, especially in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Community. When we come out, we are not handed a “Dating for Dummies,” or a Relationship 101 guide. Often times, we are thrown into the dating jungle and not only expected to thrive, but rather, succeed! It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy to fail when we have such few role models that we can look up to. Stereotypes of promiscuity haunt us.
In a heterosexual relationship, it appears to be clear what role each person should play. But when it comes to same-sex couples, we get confused as to who should play which role if one should be the top, the bottom, the butch, effeminate, younger, older, and so on. To complicate things further, there is so much gender and orientation diversity with the transgender community that it will take a very thorough and careful approach to understand the complexities of being trans. And to top it off, there is a lot of stigma that will need to be addressed around bisexual individuals, their lives, their relationships, and their struggle to gain acceptance from the LG & T counterparts.
But there is hope. Things are not that bad. When applying the Occam’s Razor line of reasoning that “the simpler the explanation, the better,” or that the “simplest explanation usually tends to be the right one,” one can deduce that there is an easier way out when dealing with relationships. It’s a like a mathematical equation: 1 + 1 = 2. A typical relationship is made up of 2 individuals, each which is entitled to their own purpose and goals in life; together, these 2 form a mutually-rewarding relationship, but one must not suffocate the other. At the end of the day, the 2 must become one each again. Keeping this sense of individuality will allow for each to blossom in the relationship. There is no ownership of one over the other.
Building and strengthening a healthy relationship is like baking a cookie: you get the right ingredients and you follow the recipe. You mix the right ingredients, add the right amounts, and bake it at the right temperature, you will enjoy the best cookie in the world. Similarly, if you forget to add the sugar or the flour and just throw it in the oven with the assumption that’s all it takes, your cookie will be a disaster. Relationships are a 24/7 investment. It is not like watching a DVD movie, that as you please, you can press the “pause” button on the remote and come back to it whenever you feel like it.
When we think of relationships, we are quick to parameter them only within the framework of the romantic arena. Relationships go beyond dating or getting married; beyond having a boyfriend, husband or wife. We engage in all types of relationships all the time. We have relationships with our family, with our friends and with our co-workers. And just like being in an abusive relationship, one can have pretty destructive friendships and hurtful family ties.
Over the course of the coming months, we will venture into the world of relationships. Like the cookie example, we will identify those ingredients that make up a healthy relationship. For some it is love, trust, honesty, and so forth. Some may rank one more important than the other. The beauty is that, there is no right or wrong way to identify the right ingredients or the order in which they line up. Each relationship is unique. Each relationship is different.
Welcome to a new column of Adelante. Together we will walk the path toward a healthier LGBT Community. Please forward your comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have a specific question or would like to share your story, it will be featured in the following Adelante issue.
legacy is a volunteer-driven project to improve the lives of LGBT individuals. We are in the initial stages and your support is welcome. To find out about how you can get involved, please feel free to contact Joseph García at email@example.com or visit the new page on Facebook: Joseph Legacy to read the Spanish version of this article.
legacy – what’s yours…
By Joseph García