Advice from 7 Lesbian Couples Who Have Been Together for More Than 30 Years

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Paulette (72) and Ginny (70) together for 33 yearsPaulette-Ginny

“Making a relationship work is a challenge but so worth it. To be honest, the biggest reason we are still together is because we got clean and sober and I have been in Al-Anon for the past 22 years. Al-Anon and AA saved our lives. It was a big challenge in our day because most of our socializing centered around the bar. That was one of the very few places to meet. I came from an alcoholic home and very large family. Ginny was an only child of deaf parents. We did not learn a lot about the intricacies of building relationships and what that takes—honesty, compassion, tolerance, setting boundaries and not building walls.

“Over the years, we have learned to give each other room without taking the other’s need for that space personally. We do lots of things separately—it gives us much to talk about and share. However, we do lots together—camping, golf, lawn bowling, and most recently pickleball. We have been blessed to have lots of family and friends in our lives, and we make plenty of room for spending time with both groups.”

“We did separate about 12 years into our relationship, and we are both grateful to each other that we did not give up. I would have to say do not give up too easy and get help when things start to get difficult. I actually just bought a great book by Nancy Dreyfus called Talk to Me Like I am Someone You Love. I asked Gin to work through the book with me. There will always be tension from time to time in any relationship and no matter how old we are, it is always important to look at ways to communicate with each other that open the doors to possibilities.”

D’Rae (62) and Lyn (57), together for 32 yearsDrae-lyn

“We are writing this together, and the first thing that comes up is we are best friends. That relationship sustains everything else. It is the foundation of our love for each other. Be a good friend to one another.”

“Beyond that, being compatible and having a fire for the entity you are together is critical. Exactly what the fire is changes as life goes by, but it is always there. It is often passion but may be protectiveness, then change to cheerleader or caregiver or comedian at any given time.”

“Learn how to agree to disagree, never raise your voice in anger. You both need to accept that sometimes, your needs will not be #1.

Kim(50) and Darla (49), together for 31 yearsKim-darla

“There are a lot of important factors for making our long-term relationship work. Respect is a priority in our relationship. We treat each other with respect when we are home alone and also in a social setting. We don’t make each other the punchline of a joke and we don’t embarrass each other in public. We treat each other the way that we would want to be treated.”

“Another very important ingredient to our long-term relationship is that we really like each other. We are each other’s biggest fan. We want each other to succeed in whatever we are doing.”

“A sense of humor is another factor in keeping our relationship strong. We love to laugh together.”

“We are complete opposites. Darla is laid back, and I am more high-strung. When we first got together, the difference in our personalities was sometimes antagonizing. We battled to be the winner in an argument. Through the years as we have grown together, the difference in our personalities has transferred to each other. I have relaxed in my convictions and realize that everything is not a crisis, and Darla has become more pro-active in making our daily lives run more smoothly.”

“The physical attraction and touch are also very important. We make sure that we are attentive to each other’s physical needs and communicate our desires with one another.”

“Communication is key in a relationship. You have to express your concerns, desires, questions and thoughts with your partner. We need to listen to what our partner is saying and allow them to complete their sentences before formulating an answer/solution.”

“Honesty and loyalty are paramount. We believe that being honest with each other is a huge factor in our relationship, even when it’s painful to share.

“Love, of course, is the main factor. We really do love each other and couldn’t see ourselves with anyone else.”

 

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