Hey Hey Hay. Let’s talk about love.
In the spirit of Valentine’s day: here are a few things you can do to show love and receive love. Disclaimer: These suggestions may cause more communication, vulnerability, passion, and sex (hubba hubba):
In some circles, these are called “State of the Union.” Get it? Union as in relationship. Take the time (uninterrupted for 30 min.) to meet with your person to discuss your relationship. A couple of prompts could be:
- When did you feel loved this week?
- When didn’t you feel loved this week?
- How can I show you love this week
Plan an activity together
This includes watching a movie or favorite show, cooking, and sex. Yes, sex. Scheduling an activity increases intimacy spontaneity and assures quality time together. The more fun you have, the more fun you want to have.
Pro Tip: Send your partner a sexy text earlier in the day. This sets the intention and gets everyone in the mood.
Find time for you
This one may be a bit unorthodox. When you take time for yourself you get to learn about yourself. Your likes, dislikes, wants and needs. You get to recharge, spend time with friends, read a book, and/or do nothing. In getting to know yourself you get to share and tell others what you need.
This includes love.
While the above is not exhaustive, it does offer a starting point.
What I learned about love as a therapist:
Love is an action. Cultivate and harvest love for it to grow and flourish. Love is not the same for everyone. This is important as there is a belief that love is universal. Love can be tailored to the needs and wants of the participants–with everyone’s expressed consent 😉.
Love is a choice we opt into. We decide how we structure our relationships. This includes ALL relationships i.e. family, friends, poly relationships, non-monogamist. We decide when we want to renegotiate the terms and conditions. We choose how we engage and disengage.
Love can change and that’s okay. What you felt yesterday may not align with your feelings tomorrow. See, love is a choice. Love gets to mature and shift and so do we. If you are in a season of change, aka fighting with babe, a few things to think about:
- Am I fighting to be heard or to win?
- Am I fighting fair?
- What is my goal here?
If you’ve read this far: thank you. You are my new best friend. It was just that easy.
What I outline in the beginning is useful, in my biased opinion, when discussing, thinking, and offering love. I’ve shared this with a myriad of couples to support them when a shift in their relationship occurs or just to check-in. Sometimes we all need a reset.
Are therapists, myself included, taking into account the needs and wants of couples who don’t fall within the traditional ideas of relationships? I would say there are some blind spots.
For context, this blog was written from the perspective of a Black gay guy whose clients identify across the gender and sexual orientation spectrum. Including those who identify as straight. My identities inform my work. It has been an important step for me when working with LGBTQIA+ folx to identify and take into account past and current traumas that surround the couple, their relationship, and even the individual. Why?
There are nuances that should be accounted for when working with folks who identify and have sexual orientations that fall out of the binary: the stigma against LGBTQIA+ folx, complex relationship dynamics including gender roles, open/ non-monogamous relationships, relationship changes/hardships that may come with gender confirmation surgery or family planning. So why share this?
Cause I am repping my set! 👏🏿👏🏿👏🏿 In laymen’s terms: because of my proximity, I want folx to have a therapeutic experience that feels safe, informed, and well, good. Therapy is a place where vulnerability thrives. Having a therapist that takes the time to center you and your needs is important to your process. I have worked with clients who have had experiences with therapy that have left them feeling judged and demoralized. If you are reading this, I ask with love that you not only tailor your intimate relationship, but your professional ones as well.
I’m sure you didn’t expect the blog to go this way! HA. As the saying goes. Put the medicine in the candy. Giggles.