Having relationship goals may sound scary and serious, but all healthy relationships need to have attainable goals for them to thrive. If you’re obsessed with your favorite queer couples on social media and aspire to have their couple goals, emulating them could be as easy as arranging regular date nights and holding hands – or more serious goals such as discussing finances or integrating within your LGBTQ+ community.
“All relationships benefit from clarity and structure. Gay couples with goals can design their relationships their way, and their goals form part of that structure,” says Rhian Kivits, a Relate qualified sex and relationship expert.
“Creating goals together supports honest, open communication and the process can help develop a sense of understanding between partners. I recommend couples set aside time to discuss, negotiate, agree and formulate their goals, commit to them, write them down and celebrate them.”
Here are five ways you can start to create those gay relationship goals and build a more secure long-term relationship with your partner – built on trust and honesty.
Research consistently shows that LGBTQ+ couples are more open and equal, but it doesn’t always feel that way from the inside. Your partner can’t read your mind, so even when it’s difficult, it’s important to communicate your feelings and emotions. Sit down once a week and discuss anything that's coming up for you. “Couples naturally tend to talk about the ‘how’ and ‘why’, which can help them work out what they really want,” says Kivits.
“You may find this especially useful when considering complex issues, like whether you want to start or expand their family, because it will offer you an opportunity to think deeply about what’s involved and share your feelings about the options you’d like to explore.
“Sometimes these kinds of conversations are emotional, or difficult to start, but when they come up through the lens of goal setting, it can feel like a natural way to begin the dialogue.”
Date nights are fun at the beginning of a relationship, but once you’re settled it's easy to slip into endless nights of Netflix – which doesn't do much for your gay relationship goals. Planning a date night, at least once a month will mean you have quality time together. Turn your phones off, hold hands and remember why you fell in love with them in the first place. If PDAs (public displays of affection) make you feel uncomfortable, devise a ‘couple code’ that shows your partner that you’re there for them.
Check out our 23 favorite winter date ideas
Whether it's paying off credit cards or saving to buy a house, money is at the center of all our relationships. Being clear about what your current money situation is and what goals you both have for the future means you’ll be on the same path and there won’t be any nasty surprises later down the line.
Kivits explains: “Our attitudes to money develop in childhood and when couples encounter differences in their approach to handling income, expenditure and savings, it can cause tension between them. The goal-setting process can help couples work through any differences and find a way forward that works for both”.
When you’re in a gay couple or gay relationship it can feel quite alienating, without the support of an LGBTQ+ network. If you want to grow your network, talk to your partner about what goals you can set as individuals and as a couple. Be clear what you’re looking for from this, to avoid misunderstandings – is it friendship, solidarity, o, if you’re in an open relationship, sexual partners or hook-ups maybe?
“When allies and the community offer acceptance, you can enjoy a sense of belonging and security that helps you feel positive about your relationship and future together,” says Kivits.
Set goals around what sort of LGBTQ+ community you want to create, and how this network will make you both feel.
We all say things we don’t mean in the heat of the moment, but when we let it fester, instead of talking about it, arguments can lead to grudges. LGBTQ+ relationships are no different to any other here.
Kivits says that arguments can be diffused quickly when partners notice and respond to the early warning signs of escalation, such as increased tension, a raised voice or a pounding heart.
She goes on to say: “Take a 20 minute time out period or defer the discussion to another day – taking a little space helps partners consider each other's perspective so that when they come back together they can approach the issue with greater empathy.”
The opposite is true when you leave it too long without resolving the issue: “It's painful to hold onto unspoken feelings. When partners hold grudges there's a risk that resentment and sadness can build inside them and become a barrier to love, connection and intimacy,” says Kivits.
Discuss with your partner, outside of an argument, how you’re both going to respond when arguments do occur and make a promise to each other that you’ll resolve it within a certain time frame.