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Couple’s Therapy for Lesbian Relationships

Couple’s therapy for Lesbian relationships is similar in many ways to that for heterosexuals: training in communications and conflict resolution skills, anger management, addressing interactive maladaptive patterns, and processing underlying issues causing conflict.  Conflict can arise from daily life stressors such as finances and running a household, parenting concerns, intimacy issues involving emotional and sexual closeness, and past baggage related to prior relationships in both childhood and adulthood that gets projected into the current  mate.

There are some specific themes that arise more frequently in Lesbian relationships than heterosexual ones:

1.      Enmeshment, fusing, and merging (“We are one”)

2.      Lack of differentiation (twinning, lack of tolerance for differences)

3.      Lesbian bed death (dramatic drop in sexual intimacy after one or two years)

4.      Societal bias against Lesbians and their children in two mom families

5.      Establishing boundaries with “ex’s”  acceptable to both partners

A common complaint of heterosexual married females is too much emotional distance in their husbands (“He never talks.  He doesn’t express his feelings.”)  Some Lesbian relationships struggle with too much emotional closeness (“We do everything together”) and emotional reactivity (over-processing and having difficulties agreeing to disagree).   Lesbian “twinning” can prevent toleration for “differences,” something that can fuel sexual passion, and interfere with a healthy balance between alone time and couple time.  Getting space for individual self growth can recharge a relationship when the two rejoin—both emotionally and sexually.  Family therapy involving the children can empower them in dealing with social bias from peers, neighborhoods, schools.

And like any therapy, couple’s therapy for Lesbians can deal with anxiety symptoms, mood disorders, trauma histories, ADHD disorganization, addictions, etc. that could also be complicating a relationship.

Kay Allen, LPC

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