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Gay Relationship Control Issues

Discussion in 'Family, Friends, and Relationships' started by OnTheHighway, Jun 26, 2018.

  1. OnTheHighway

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    Control issues in gay relationships seem to be a common theme. I have spoken to many guys that have split blaming perceived control issues between their respective ex’s. And in relationships with significant age gaps, such as the one I was in, perceived control is typically a common and heightened cause of concern.

    In my breakup with my soon to be ex, we have talked over the years about his concerns that I, as the older partner, maintained all the control in our relationship; and my similar concerns I expressed to him of my perception that he, due to his absentee parents at an early age, micromanaged our relationship and always sought to control numerous aspects of my life.

    Control was an underlying theme in the few sessions we had with our couples counselor (we even had one counselor that I first interviewed reject wanting to work with us initially because he did not feel our issues were solvable). Ultimately, as I look back, perceived control was a driving force behind our respective decision to end our marriage - this despite my epiphany some time ago deciding I did not want to let my own ego interfere with the direction of our relationship.

    Tonight, while helping him work on his new home he is moving to once our divorce is finalized, we had a discussion on the reasons for our marriage failure, and our respective perception of the others underlying control in the relationship was readdressed amongst other issues. And with resignation we both agreed to disagree on each of our respective perspectives. But of all the issues we discussed, perceived control seems to stick out in my mind the most.

    So I am curious, why does control seem to be such a common theme in failed gay relationships (age gap or no age gap as I have heard from others)? And why is it such a hard issue to resolve?
     
  2. resu

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    I think I've read some articles that for gay men in particular, they are raised (along with straight men) to be individualists/providers/leaders/etc. along with promotion of male competition. In the case of both partners claiming the other is controlling, the truth may be closer in the middle.
     
  3. normalwolverine

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    I'm not a man, obviously...but it really seems like men want to be in control, period, like it's just a testosterone thing. So, it stands to reason that if you get two men in a relationship with each other, you're going to have a power struggle.

    In some gay relationships, I'd also imagine there are sometimes issues with one person or maybe even both not wanting to be seen as "the woman" in the relationship, even if one is more on the feminine side. There is a stigma attached to that--always a stigma attached to men being or doing anything considered feminine--and the natural inclination with that seems to be to fight very hard against fitting those stereotypes or being seen as less of a man.

    If you lack self-awareness on stuff like this, then of course you can't fix it. You have to recognize these things and then be willing to work on them. You also have to be willing to actually communicate about these issues and listen to what the other person is saying and really think about it instead of just preparing your response/argument. The natural response, though, is not to listen and consider, but to get defensive and start defending yourself. You don't get anywhere with that, or not anywhere good anyway.
     
    #3 normalwolverine, Jun 26, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2018
  4. OnTheHighway

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    This thought is why I specifically used the term ”perceived control”, as I did not think I consciously tried to make unilateral decisions without his input; and my feeling that he pushed for control probably not because he to wanted to control me but as a result of his need to feel he had some degree of control of his own life in our relationship.

    A fundamental problem related to the life experience I had and the lessons I already learned from prior bad decisions I made in life. I often knew the outcome of decisions he would make, and I would express my opinion to him regarding such decisions. However, he always had a desire to “put his finger in the fire” and experience the results of decisions rather than appreciate the experience I had knowing the potential outcomes to begin with and would stubbornly insist on his decision even when I knew it to be incorrect. Then with the result of such decision in hand, his pride would limit his ability to acknowledge his mistake to begin with or appreciate he could have avoided the wrong outcome had he followed my advice, I found it difficult to simply let him proceed with his decisions if I knew they were incorrect without expressing my concern.

    This seems to be a stereotypical and generalized perception that many with some who may have unconsious feelings of homophobia hold which I nor he believe has any merit, at least not in our relationship (and I am not suggesting you feel this way was whatsoever but it is a common misconception). And in the discussions with others whom experienced control issues in their relationships, I have never heard this from anyone.

    Even with self awareness, where my husband and I continuously discussed and tried to address these issues, our relationship still failed. We both kept going back to old habits even when we would recognize and agree to take corrective courses of action.
     
    #4 OnTheHighway, Jun 27, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2018
  5. OGS

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    I honestly don't think the issues are more common I think they're just more commonly discussed. I think when two people try to, at least in some measure, live one life the issue of control is always going to be a big one--we're both on this ship, who's steering? I think in gay relationships, because everything really is sort of up for grabs, those issues are often discussed in exactly those terms. In straight relationships there are often a lot of unspoken notions about who steers when and they are envisioned around the difference between the sexes. All the same issues exist they just bubble up as other resentments because in a lot of relationships the actual issue of control isn't really up for discussion or at least not fully. So people fight about other things: sex, money, family, chores--but it's really all about control.
     
    OnTheHighway and LostInDaydreams like this.
  6. OnTheHighway

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    This was the root of our disagreements for the most part, no doubt. And now that you related it to heterosexual relationships, it got me thinking about my straight marriage. There certainly was a lot of control issue disagreements as well.

    That said, and I can’t quite put my finger on it, the control issue seems to be heightened in gay relationships. Almost all my discussions with friends (my perception at least) about their prior failed relationships center around control. Last night I had dinner with a friend and he was talking about his failed relationship which also recently ended. His entire discussion was attributed to the lack of control he felt he had. Maybe, as you suggest, we are just more conscious of it?
     
  7. OnTheHighway

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    And I should add one more item to your comment about in regards to:

    Some of these topics are not always about control. One of my own faults relates to my over sensitivity to household income and expenses. “Money” issues is and has always been an emotional trigger for me having been raised in an environment where I was exposed to parents whom were disfunctional handling and discussing personal finances. It annoys me that the topic is an emotional trigger for me, but many unnecessary disagreements have result over the topic. And it had nothing to do with control but instead my own insecurities (and I am unbelievably fiscally cautious and conservative as a result).