The Intimacy Dance: A Guide to Long-Term Success in Gay and Lesbian Relationships

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In 1988, Betty Berzon's Permanent Partner was widely hailed as the first significant book aimed at helping lesbian and gay couples build fulfilling relationships. Now, drawing on additional insights gained in the intervening years, she provides specific advice for those in long-term relationships who are coping with the inevitable surprises and complications that arise in a relationship that passes the crucial three-year mark. Dr. Berzon discusses couples' fears of growing intimacy or of the loss of identity, and...
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Overview

In 1988, Betty Berzon's Permanent Partner was widely hailed as the first significant book aimed at helping lesbian and gay couples build fulfilling relationships. Now, drawing on additional insights gained in the intervening years, she provides specific advice for those in long-term relationships who are coping with the inevitable surprises and complications that arise in a relationship that passes the crucial three-year mark. Dr. Berzon discusses couples' fears of growing intimacy or of the loss of identity, and their concerns about waning sexual desire or "predator" others. Since gay and lesbian partners have few models to guide them, couples too often opt for ending the relationship rather than learning to work through their problems. Dr. Berzon's goal, of course, is to help people work it out - not bail out - and to that end she offers effective strategies for reviving a relationship that has gone stale; coping with change and transition in one partner that the other sees as betrayal; understanding the true motives behind a fight that is repeated over and over; opening lines of communication blocked by some unresolved issue; managing external pressures, such as family, career, or children, and internal pressures, such as anxiety, depression, or anger; and learning about couples counseling and how it can help provide stability, continuity, and renewal. While addressing these issues, Dr. Berzon weaves in the story of her own long-term relationship. She deals too with the question of monogamy, and though she encourages gays and lesbians to intensify the pleasures and comforts of permanent relationships, she provides ideas for how best to deal with an open relationship when that is what a couple decides to have.
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Editorial Reviews

Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy
Berzon does an admirable job in communicating with her audience, regardless of their sexual orientation.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A book on the problems of gay and lesbian couples faces two major challenges. It must first establish what, other than specifics of physical intimacy, differentiates gay and lesbian relationships from heterosexual ones. Second, it must not dwell on those differences to the exclusion of constructive observations and advice. This book succeeds on both counts and so qualifies as a helpful guide to maintaining long-term relationships, which Berzon (Permanent Partners), a Los Angeles psychotherapist, defines as those connections that weather the gay and lesbian three-year itch. The book falters, however, in its construction and its writing, and these failings are sufficient to make it at times exasperating reading. Its chief expository device is synoptic case studies that alternate between male and female. These snippets are far too simplified to offer much. But the book manages to shine in its extended recognition not only of homosexual relationships in general but of long-term homosexual relationships. In this, the case studies serve a purpose, as do Berzon's frequent references to her own 22-year lesbian relationship. And as she implies toward the end of her study, in the realm of gay and lesbian couples, psychotherapeutic theory and practice are not nearly as important as a generally affirmative attitude. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Berzon (Permanent Partners, LJ 11/15/88) continues to take a leading role in helping gay and lesbian couples establish more meaningful and long-lasting relationships. Drawing on her experience as a psychotherapist and lesbian in a 22-year partnership, she addresses the problems of communication, the challenge to keep growing, competing career demands, waning sexual relations, and unresolved familial issues. In addition to discussing how the universal demons of fear, rejection, and anger interfere with intimacy, in any relationship, she also focuses on issues unique to homosexual couples, such as the lack of institutional support, differences in each partner's coming out, and the absence of intergenerational gay and lesbian "family models." Berzon provides intelligent, practical, and compassionate advice on exploring and resolving conflicts. Anyone contemplating a serious relationship or already involved in one would likely benefit from her insights. Highly recommended for psychology and gay collections in public libraries.Pamela W. Bellows, Northwestern Connecticut Community Technological Coll. Lib., Winstead
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525942344
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/1/1996
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.85 (w) x 8.77 (h) x 1.19 (d)

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