Lesbian couples therapy focuses on common couples issues as struggles with intimacy, communication skills and commitment issues. Therapy can help to develop relationship skills that handle conflict and stress, resolve differences and promote positive ways to nurture one another and the relationship. Sometimes lesbian couples have additional stress to deal with as lesbians living in a world that has prejudice and legal discrimination. This can affect each individual’s self esteem along with making planning for a future or family more complicated. Another area of potential stress is the degree of “outness” each individual has. Some lesbian couples are more “out” in one setting rather than another. Also if one lesbian is more “out” than the other, this can be a potential source of conflict.
Every lesbian couple is unique and each individual brings with them their own particular set of expectations, strengths and wounds. Learning how to negotiate differences is an essential skill for any successful relationship. An important area in forming intimate relationships is managing a balance between time together, functioning as a “we”, and being separate and autonomous. Sometimes in lesbian relationships when women feel really close and alike in so many ways, it is hard to factor in how very different each individual really is. There can be unrealistic expectations set up about how to maintain a certain level of closeness. Negotiating differences can be challenging and lead to hurt or angry feelings. Therapy can help facilitate communication that can lead to more understanding and healing. Respecting individual differences while maintaining intimacy is part of having a healthy couples relationship. Lesbian couples therapy can be a safe place to explore those differences, foster trust and learn new ways of being intimate.