How To Save Your Lesbian Relationship By Ignoring Your Problems (Yes, Really!)

lesbian relationship

If you’re a woman in a same-sex relationship that’s on the brink of demise, listen up.

I’ve got a revolutionary fix to your heart-crushing, relationship-ending problems.

And the best part of this solution is that you can stop focusing on your lesbian relationship issues, struggles and frustrations. Actually, let me restate that in a different way…

In order to save your relationship, you must stop focusing on your problems!

I mean it. Put a kibosh on those never-ending conversations you’ve been having with your partner. You know, the ones where you talk (and talk and talk) about everything that’s wrong with her. And with you. And with your relationship.

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Stop trying to solve your lesbian relationship problems by communicating better. The popularized advice of using “I” statements, paraphrasing and other pro communication tips aren’t going to keep your relationship from taking a nose dive — right off the edge of the cliff where it’s been teetering.

As a lesbian, the single most effective thing you can do to save your relationship is to re-instate the “admiration” system that you likely neglected after the early phase of your relationship.

Remember how you were your partner’s secret admirer for awhile before you ever went on your first date? You admired her from afar. And even though you didn’t really know her yet, you told your BFF all about this new chick’s awesomeness.

Then, for the first year or two of your relationship, you and your partner had quite the “mutual admiration society” going. Your friends were always commenting about how in love you guys were.  And they’d say things like “You two are so cute together. And so sappy!” Remember how good that felt?

Let me ask you: When did you stop admiring one another? When did you stop noticing all the little things about her that made you feel so fond and proud of your beloved?

Unless couples work on keeping the fondness and admiration alive, it naturally declines after the initial falling in love phase of a relationship passes.

Love and relationship experts call this the limerence phase, and it usually lasts about a year.

Limerence is that lovely, initial euphoric period in a relationship that is characterized by involuntary love hormones flooding your body. You remember the phase, where your brain and body was captivated by near-obsessive infatuation, strong sexual attraction, and overwhelming admiration?

But all phases come to an end. Even in lesbian love relationships.

Instead of allowing fondness and admiration to be short-lived, one of the simplest ways to keep a lesbian relationship happy and healthy is to sustain a practice of mutual admiration.

So if your partnership is barely holding onto the ledge of survival, it’s time to build what Dr. John Gottman calls a “fondness and admiration system.”

In Gottman’s plan for how to build a happy and secure relationship, his second layer to building a solid relationship structure is called Share Fondness and Admiration. By focusing on this step, you will be able to get your relationship back on solid ground, fast.

Here's how the "fondness and admiration" system works:

The main concept is that you’ll begin to purposefully search for what you respect and appreciate about your partner. Do this by looking for what she’s doing right.

First, you’ll take note of what she does that you’re fond of. These are the things you like about your partner. The things about her that you’re attracted to, that you’re impressed by, and that you feel proud of.

Try this… Think of your partner and take a minute right now to fill in these blanks:

I like how you ___________________________________________.

I’m attracted to your _____________________________________.

I am so impressed that you _______________________________.

I’m proud of the way you _________________________________.

Make it a point over the next couple of days to say these sentences out loud to her.

You might believe that your partner already knows this stuff, but I guarantee she’ll enjoy hearing you say them to her. And it’ll make you both feel closer.

Decide to make this a habit that you practice every week. It’ll become a solid foundation for your post-limerence love.

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The second part of the “fondness and admiration” system is for you and your partner to show appreciation to one another. In this case it’s not just about saying “thank you for what you do for me,” but to express gratitude for “who you are.”

In his book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, Dr. Gottman shares an exercise he calls “I Appreciate…” which goes like this:

Think of three words that describe positive attributes that you think are characteristic of your partner. Then for each word you chose, briefly think of an actual incident or situation that illustrates this characteristic of your partner. Write about it in a notebook or just on a piece of paper.

For example you might write:


I appreciate how thoughtful you are.


Yesterday when you brought me lunch, it really meant a lot to me. I really admire your thoughtfulness. That’s one of the things that I love about you.

Make a list of three characteristics and corresponding incidents. Then share your list with your partner. Let her know what it is about these traits that you value so highly.

It is time for you to start ignoring your problems. Really!

Instead of dwelling on and nit-picking every little thing your partner is doing wrong, start noticing what she is doing well. On purpose. And be sure to tell her what you notice — what you appreciate and value about her.

Research shows that what you pay attention to the most is what you end up feeling.

If you focus on negative things, you’re going to feel negative emotions. So shift your focus off of the negative (the problems) and onto the positive.

The simple act of putting your attention on things that you like and appreciate about your partner will cause you to pay less attention to the things that are making you feel bad. You’ll feel more loving and connected, and your relationship will turn around.

Instead of spending time focusing on the negative things about your partner and your relationship problems, pay attention to what you fell in love with in the first place. Then sit back and watch how your feelings improve. You’ll get back to being a happy couple!

Then, make a commitment to practice the fondness and “I appreciate…” exercises every single week to keep your lesbian relationship happy and healthy.

This practice will help save your relationship.

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Lynda Spann, PhD, LMFT is the founder of The Lesbian Couples Institute and a couples counselor. For more information visit the LCI website.


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