Have you ever looked at long-term gay couples and wondered just how they manage to keep things going? Alex Hopkins spoke to gay men to discover the secrets to their longevity. The result? Six gay couple goals to incorporate into your relationship to keep it healthy and happy.

I've often looked at older gay couples that have seemingly been together for ever and looked on in with a mixture of feelings: admiration, surprise, and slight envy. I've often found myself thinking, 'just how the hell do they manage to stay together'?

Having such things as 'gay relationship goals' may sound naff or clinical, but as it turns out, it could be the secret to longevity when it comes to queer relationships. In fact, all healthy relationships should have some attainable goals in order them to thrive. 



I spoke with three sets of gay men in long-term relationships and found out the secrets to their success lay in having so-called gay couple goals. So, if like me you look at long-term gay couples with a mix of awe and wonder, here's how you could possibly emulate their success.


The bottom line: gay couple goals

Follow these six essential gay couple goals and learn to develop long-lasting and loving relationship with your better half.


1. A happy sex life

Maintaining a healthy, fulfilled and balanced sex life is our first gay relationship goal. All of the gay couples we spoke to said that sex was a significant issue in healthy long-term relationships. “You need to weigh up how important sex is to both of you,” explains John. “Above all, I think gay couples need to discover new ways of enjoying each other.”

Gay couple goals: a healthy sex life shutterstock/Tony Marturano


In long-term relationships, some gay couples find that sex becomes less important. “Then you must decide whether you want to open things up,” says John. “We did that for a while but set very firm rules, which we both agreed upon. But as well as that, we’ve kept things alive by exploring new kinks together. We’ll leave that to your imagination!”


2. Regular communication

You can't read your partner's mind and vice-versa, so even if you find it awkward, it’s essential to communicate your emotions and feelings. Regular communication is our second gay relationship goal: be sure to sit together every week or so and chat about any issues that are coming up for you. 

“Communication is absolutely everything,” explains Richard and John, who have been in a long-term gay relationship for ten years. “The times when we have stopped talking to one another have been when we’ve run into trouble.”



But what have the couple found to be the best ways of communicating? “On a daily, basic level it’s about sharing things: the good and the bad, the things that are troubling you,” says Richard. “But more than this, healthy relationships require you to be inventive in how you express yourself. Gay couples need to bring humor, wit and intelligence to everything they say. You need to work hard at engaging each other. Your conversation needs to sparkle and be unique to you.”


3. Boundaries and space

Larry and Ray have been together for 30 years. “To be frank, we’re amazed,” laughs Larry. “But the secret to this kind of relationship longevity for gay couples is respecting one another’s boundaries and personal space. You need to understand the other person and everything about them – so you can pick up on when they need time alone, for example.


“Regular communication is our first gay relationship goal: be sure to sit together every week or so and chat about any issues that are coming up.”

“Healthy relationships are founded on mutual respect. Keep checking in with one another to ensure you never lose that. It takes hard work sometimes not to become selfish.”

4. Beware co-dependence

“Healthy relationships are about you – as well as both of you,” says Ray. “Gay couples are pairs but also individuals, so never lose sight of your own needs.” Ray and Larry have managed to meet this gay couple goal by focusing on their personal development, regarding careers and interests, but by also having their own friends – independent from each other – with whom they ensure they spend enough time.

“We’ve seen too many gay couples become irritatingly smug when they get together and then they tend to drop all their friends and individual interests. Not a good move, because if the relationship breaks down, it can become very painful.”

Gay couples are pairs, but also individuals 


5. Plan 'first dates'

Gay couples in healthy relationships need to keep things fresh and exciting, especially with so much choice out there in terms of men (and so many opportunities to play away from home). “There's always a hot guy just around the corner,” says Paulo. “If you don’t find new, exciting ways of surprising one another things become stale quickly. We’ve known too many gay couples who let things slide in this way.”


“Be sure to include daily rituals in your gay couple goals – it's an essential step that will help to build and develop your relationship further.”

“We use the ‘first date’ model,” adds Marcel. “We plan totally off-beat things that a long-term couple wouldn’t normally do – but the sort of out-there, impressive stuff that someone going on a first date would opt for. Push the boundaries to recreate that dream date – again and again.” Think weekends away camping, hiking, rock climbing, doing hot-air balloon rides.. anything that is fresh and exciting. 

This gay couple goal is all about discovery and (re)connection. It helps to keep your relationship fresh and enables you to discover new, shared pleasures (or not!), and have interesting things to talk about. 


6. Daily rituals

Paulo and Marcel have been together for 15 years, though due to work commitments, they have regularly spent prolonged periods of time apart. “This has made things more challenging,” explains Marcel, "but by regularly checking in with one another – sometimes just by Skype – we have maintained that vital sense of intimacy.”

The food of love: be sure to maintain the mundane


“When we are together, the small, daily mundane things have been important: the greetings, the meals, the routine. Healthy relationships are about knowing what your partner wants before he even mentions it.” Be sure to include daily rituals in your gay couple goals – it's an essential step that will help to build and develop your relationship further. 

The bottom line: gay couple goals

Long-term gay relationships can sometimes seem like a fantasy or pipedream – especially to those of us that don't even have a boyfriend. However, as the three sets of gay couples describe above, developing and maintaining a happy and fulfilled queer relationship is perfectly possible; it just needs work and attention (like all relationships, in fact). 


And trying so-called 'gay couple goals' – such as regular communication sessions and weekly date nights – is just way one of putting that work in. Incorporate some or all of the six methods outlined above into your relationship will help to nurture and strengthen it, hopefully leading to a long and happy coupling. •

Main image: shutterstock/Gustazo Frazao

Are you (or have been) in a long-term relationship? What are your gay couple goals? Share them in the forum or in the comments below :)

Say something in the gays.com forum - start a discussion!


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I don't think I ever incorporated any of those gay couple goals in past relationships... prob one of the reasons why I am single now then lol :):jumping: Will have to bear these in mind when the next one comes along...

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