Apart from certain legal inequities and social constraints, a lesbian relationship is just like any romantic relationship. Generally speaking, most people want healthy, happy partners for life. If you’re a lesbian, you probably have thought about the qualities you seek in a girlfriend. You’re likely concerned about your relationships and want to feel sure that you have chosen the right partner. But what about yourself? Do you have all the qualities your girlfriend wants? Are you the ‘perfect’ lesbian girlfriend? While nobody’s perfect, here’s your guide to making sure you’re a compassionate, caring, desirable partner.
Take the time to cultivate a healthy relationship with yourself. You need to be happy and fulfilled with your own life before you can truly experience happiness with someone else. Self-love is always the first step toward creating loving relationships with others.
Don’t rush the beginning stages of a new relationship. Resist the “urge to merge” and to spend too much time together too soon. Take things slowly. Get acquainted with your girlfriend’s emotional, sexual and social behavior so that you’ll know what to expect from a long-term relationship.
Communicate well. Be observant and be a good listener. Talk about her needs, desires and contradictions, as well as your own. Communication is essential to any relationship — whether it involves a serious discussion, a conflict or just laughing together about something trivial. Invest your energy in developing communication skills that will greatly improve every aspect of your lives together.
Be honest, authentic and trustworthy. Before you can commit to someone — and before she can commit to you — there must be a foundation of trust. Without honesty, there can be no trust. Tell the truth. Keep promises. Be sincere. Show your girlfriend that you are always real and genuine. Let her see that you can be trusted with her love and commitment.
Compromise when necessary. Accept the fact that you won’t always get your way. This shouldn’t involve forgoing your basic principles or devaluing yourself, but there will be occasional situations that call for compromise — for example, going to a social event or a family function that you would prefer not to attend. Most importantly, don’t keep a mental tally of little compromises. Just know that they are the stuff successful relationships are made of.
Respect boundaries and acknowledge differences. There could be financial disparities between you, for instance, or maybe you come from different religious backgrounds. Perhaps you’re out to everyone, while she is closeted to her parents or colleagues. If there are fundamental differences between you, don’t push her to change. Let the changes happen naturally. Don’t expect or force her to modify something basic about herself. If you want her to change that much, then the two of you shouldn’t be in a relationship.
Accept your girlfriend unconditionally. Respect her as a person. When you truly love someone, you accept her for who she is, not who you want her to be. Ideally, you will inspire one another and bring out the best in each other. But nobody’s perfect. And no one can ever be all things to you, all the time. Nevertheless, you can aspire to perfection yourself by loving her unconditionally -- and, if you do, you will be loved in return.
Shannon Leigh O'Neil, a New York City-based arts and culture writer, has been writing professionally since 2008. Her articles have appeared in "GO Magazine," "The New York Blade" and "HX Magazine," as well as online media. O'Neil holds a Master of Arts in modern art history from the City College of New York, where she also studied French and minored in classical languages.