Good News For Gay Couples
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At the end of March new laws that were passed a year ago came into effect in England and Wales allowing same sex couples to legally marry. For many gay couples, there are now plans to take their vows and be recognised in law as equal to a heterosexual couple. For those who have already committed to each other with a civil partnership, there will also be the opportunity to convert to a marriage via a process that will be in place before the end of the year.

The introduction of the new law is intended to not only promote equality, but also build tolerance and acceptance of same sex partnerships. The law has the backing of all the political party leaders. This doesn’t mean that everyone in England and Wales is in favour of the reforms. Whilst the couples who wish to formalise their love and commitment to each other are now able to do so, they may face disapproval and a lack of acceptance, even from close family members.

Any relationship is made stronger by the support of family and friends. At the start of a relationship the need for this support may not seem so important, but every partnership faces challenges and it is at these times when the positive influence of a support network can be vital. No single person is capable of meeting all the needs of another, so family and friends are necessary for a full and enjoyable life.

Feeling happy, welcomed and comfortable when you spend time with your partner’s family and friends makes it easier to share experiences. In contrast a lack of acceptance can fuel disagreements and highlight differences in an approach to particular issues or situations.

In heterosexual and same sex marriages, there will be unions where family or friends have concerns. Whilst they want their child or friend to be happy, they may not believe that their chosen partner, the person that they love is the right choice. This may be due to a personality clash, religious or cultural belief or other factors including a significant age gap.

The reality is that unless someone is being forced into a relationship, it is down to the individuals themselves to decide who their ideal partner is. Being able to openly discuss issues may help others to understand things from your perspective and accept your decision, even if they retain their concerns.

Couples counselling provides the valuable opportunity for confidential discussion between two people in a relationship. It can be effective in overcoming hurdles, managing challenging times and planning positive steps forward for a future together that is built on mutual respect. In some cases, the problems can be predominantly caused by external factors, which may include family members or friends. In certain situations, couples counselling may be extended to a wider group counselling session that involves other key individuals.

Counselling allows issues to be tackled in an open and supportive environment, where everyone has the chance to share their thoughts and be heard. As a result, positive outcomes can be planned and work can begin on taking the steps to make these a reality.

If you are looking for a supportive and confidential environment in which to openly discuss and make moves to resolve any issues within your relationship, Basingstoke based Geoff Boutle is a fully qualified and experienced Counsellor.


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