Portland Relationship Counselor: Gay Marriage Causing Long-Term Couples to Split?

August 4, 2013 by

As a Portland relationship counselor, I work with a lot of long-term committed gay and lesbian couples that are excited by the prospect that gay marriage may be legalized next year in Oregon. If the proposed constitutional amendment passes, Governor John Kitzhaber, who has already expressed his support, will likely sign it.

The passage of the amendment will be a huge triumph for gay rights in our state, but it may also pose a surprising challenge for some couples.

Saying “I Do” Isn’t Always Easy, Says Portland Relationship Counselor

For many gay and lesbian couples, the idea of getting married wasn’t something they seriously considered. After all, it wasn’t allowed under the law. But now the question is at the forefront. The surprising result is that many long-term couples split.

Why? Often gay relationships follow a more informal path. If two people fell in love and decided to move in together, they did so without any formal or legal commitment. The idea of getting married was a distant fantasy; one they may have believed wouldn’t happen in their lifetime. Now the possibility is real, and it’s testing their level of commitment.

Many couples find themselves being asked by their partners or even by friends and family if they’re going to get married now that it’s legal. If one partner is feeling indecisive for whatever reason, the other will likely feel hurt. If the answer is no, it is often followed up with “Why not?” This can bring to light relationship issues that were previously hidden away. Doubts that one partner may have, or a difference of opinion about what their relationship really means.

Of course, many gay and lesbian couples who have solid communication skills and healthy relationships will find that being allowed to legally marry will only strengthen their love and commitment to one another. But for couples that are struggling, it may bring relationship issues to the forefront.

If you’re in a committed gay or lesbian relationship, don’t let that happen to you! Talk to a Portland relationship counselor now to understand what marriage means to you and how to build a strong, successful marriage that will last.