D. Merille Clunis and G. Dorsey Green. Seal Press, 1988
Taken from the experiences of lesbians it covers all of the topics important to building, starting and sustaining a loving lesbian relationship. The topics discussed in the book make good reading for anyone gay, lesbian, or heterosexual who is entering into or hoping to build a stronger relationship even though it was written twenty years ago.
They book is broken down into the following eighteen parts:
1. What is a Couple Anyway?
- Defining relationships within the context of lesbian love and modern culture.
2. Stages of Relationships
- Labelling and defining the stages of relationships; 1. pre-relationship stage (assumptions that are made about one another), 2. romance stage (merging and fusion together), 3. conflict stage (what we think we are going to get, what we actually get, and negotiating the difference,4.acceptance stage( the calm before the storm).5.commitment stage(making choices and being responsible for them, letting go of the fantasy and accepting the reality of relationships,6.colloboration(focusing together on the bigger picture).
3. Separateness and Togetherness
- creating intimacy, personal boundaries, trust, openness, and caring.
4. Living Arrangements
- the advantages and disadvantages of living apart, long distance relationships, living apart in different countries, living with others, living alone with a partner.
5. Work, Money and Time
- pooling resources, value differences, contracts in the relationship and time are covered.
- butch/femme, sadomasochism, current controversies about lesbian relationships, frequency, enhancement, initiation and desire.
7. Monogamy or Nonmonogamy
- The advantages and the disadvantages
8. Friends, Family, and Sense of Community
- friendship networks and jealousy, family and sense of community,
9. Lesbain Couples with Children
- coming out, being out and how children react to it, types of families and society at large.
10. How Racism Affects Couples
- discrimination in society and dealing with it.
- class, age, politics, values, spirituality, sexual orientation
12. Understanding Each Other
- blocks to communication, different perspectives and the skills involved in gaining a better understanding of one another.
13. Resolving Conflict
- asking for what you want, fighting styles, and a useful model for resolving conflict: step 1. Warm-up, personal preparation done individually, step 2. Set the time (the length of discussion about the conflict), step 3.State the problem (clear description with the facts), step 4. State the feeling (using I statements), 5. Specific request for change, step 6. Respond and negotiate (summarizing and agreeing to conditions) step 7.Reach resolution (agreement to deal with the conflict or agreeing to meet to discuss the conflict again), step 8. Clarify the agreement.
- focuses on incest, child abuse, adult children of alcoholics, and chemical dependencies
- covers stereotypes, the impact of disability on relationships, chronic illness, self esteem and internalised oppression, includes suggestions for ablebodeid and disabled partners.
16. Growing Older Together
- highlights the needs of older couples and the issues that are related to growing old together are detailed.
- gives advice about breaking up and the reasons that most lesbian relationships end along with dealing loss are
18. Beginning Again
- how to understanding the past and how to love again.