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  1. All my life I sought a life-long relationship, and, yes, I found true love for ten years, (in my forties), only to lose it for my refusal to marry her (back then, a Holy Union), for fear of losing my Disability benefits and bankrupting her as a result.
    As I approach my 60's, I realize I have become more complex, because of all the life experience I have been through, making it more difficult for me to find someone with whom I am compatible.  What brought this home to me was my experience with four Lesbian dating websites, (from my mid-fifties to the present), where the women my age (59) were more complicated and had more complex demands on a potential partner.
    Slowly, it gradually occurred to me, that if I didn't find an alternative way of looking at love and companionship, that very likely I would remain single and have no romantic love and companionship for the rest of my life.
    Gradually, I realized serial brief relationships (with the possibility of a relationship growing into a friendship or even a long-term relationship) would be a lot more realistic.  
    Here are my reasons:
    WHY IT'S BEST I LIVE ALONE
    Am set in my ways.Needs to use the bathroom on short notice.Gassy.Terrible odor when I use the bathroom.Never shared my living space (not even with my lover of 10 years).Can not share my apartment and finances due to being on Disability.Needs to live in HUD Public Housing (if anyone wanted to live with me, they, too, would have to be "very low income," too).Allergic to horses, dogs, cats and birds (most Lesbians not only have cats and dogs, but sleep with their pets).Am actually happy with my apartment (and I am unlikely to find as good an apartment - especially HUD Housing - anywhere).Only negative where I live is some residents in Beacon and many residents of my apartment complex, I don't like.  Avoid them and save money to take trips every three or four months.Love my building.Management treats me humanely.Maintenance treats me humanely, and does an efficient and thorough job maintaining and cleaning the building as well as making repairs in my apartment. (Most HUD Public Housing properties are poorly maintained.)Very low crime rate where I live.  (The lowest crime rate I have every seen at a HUD Public Housing property I have ever seen.)​Here are what I think are the advantages of short-term relationships:
    The Advantages of Short-Term Relationships
    Due to very low income (some would call this a "budget income," I can not relocate quickly to continue dating a woman (in order to avoid a "U-Haul" situation where I would move in with her, and hope for the best!)Most women do not qualify (very low income) and are uncomfortable dating a woman who lives in HUD Public Housing, especially if it is poorly maintained and is in a dangerous neighborhood.Able to enjoy the relationship before the drama and games begin.Can't find a woman locally to me because of homophobia where I live.  (Most women are already coupled before they move here.)Both parties should be single out of respect for other relationships and for themselves.Sex is not the primary reason for such a relationship, but companionship.​Of course, there are many other reasons people may choose short-term relationships rather than long-term or lifelong relationships.
    Would like to hear from others if they resonate with this in their own lives (especially if they are 60 +) and how realistic they think this is.
    Am I selling myself short?  Or am I having realistic expectations for a 59 year old, average-looking woman, who is kind, compassionate, supportive and has many interests?
    Thank you in advance for your comments!

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  2. The following is an article that a friend sent me, with which I really resonate with.
    "Wondering what relationship stage you're in right now?  Here are the nine relationship stages that all couples go through, not how love starts."
    "Relationships are unique.  No one experiences love in the same way."
    "You may have been in several relationships in your life, and every relationship is unique.  But there are a few traits that are in common with every relationship."
    "Relationships, just like life, have their own stages.  It starts off with infatuation/limerence and goes through several stages.  These stages are like tests that check your compatibility with each other.  Go wrong anywhere along the way, and your relationship will take the brunt of the fall."
    "Have you ever met a couple who seemed like they were going to stay together forever, but ended up breaking up a few years later?  Perhaps, in all probability, they went wrong in one of these stages of the relationship."
    "Are you in a new relationship?  Or are you in a seasoned relationship with someone you've been with for several years?  It doesn't matter how long your relationship lasted because all relationships will fit in one of these relationship stages."
    "Find your own relationship stage here, and it'll definitely help you understand your own love life better."
    "Stage #1  THE INFATUATION STAGE.  This is the first stage in every relationship.  It almost always starts with an intense attraction and an uncontrollable urge to be with each other.  Both of you may be intensely sexually attracted to each other, or both of you may just love the cuddles and each other's company.  In this stage, both of you overlook any flaws of each other and only focus on the good sides."
    "Stage #2  THE UNDERSTANDING STAGE.  In this stage, both of you start getting to know each other better.  You have long conversations with your partner that stretches late into the night, and everything about your partner interests and fascinates you.  You talk about each other's families, ex's, likes and dislikes and other innocents secrets, and life seems so beautiful and romantic."
    "Stage #3  THE STAGE OF DISTURBANCES.  This stage usually forces its way into a happy romance after a few months of blissful courting.  Do you remember the first fight or angry disagreement you and your partner had?  For the first time ever in the relationship, both of you confront each other over a conflict, even thought it's sorted out quickly."
    "Stage #4  THE OPINION MAKER.  In this stage, both of you create opinions about each other.  As the months pass by, both of you know what to expect from each other, and you make an assumption about your partner's commitment towards the relationship."
    "When these opinions and expectations about your partner differ now and then in real life, it can either leave you ecstatic OR depressed."
    "You don't expect your mate to buy you flowers, but they do.  You feel ecstatic.  At the same time, you expect them to pick you up from the airport on time.  But they arrive an hour later because they forgot all about picking you up.  It depresses you."
    "Stage #5  THE MOLDING STAGE.  You have your own expectations from an ideal partner.  And in this stage, both of you try hard to mold each other to fit your own wants in a perfect partner.  This stage is a lot about give and take, and both partners constantly try to subtly convince each other to change their behavior towards the relationship.  This can be a power struggle, and one that can end the relationship if both partners are domineering."
    "Stage #6  THE HAPPY STAGE.  If the relationship survives past the MOLDING STAGE, both of you may have changed equally for each other and understood each other's expectations.  In this stage, the relationship cruises along perfectly and both of you may be blissfully happy with each other."
    "Almost always, this is the stage when both of you feel like an ideal match.  You may even decide to get engaged or get married.  This happy stage is also the stage of attachment when both of you truly feel connected to each other and love each other intensely."
    "Stage #7  THE STAGE OF DOUBTS.  It has been several years since both of you have been in a relationship with each other.  And somewhere along the way, doubts start to creep in.  The intensity of the doubts depend on how happy both of you are in the relationship."
    "You start to think of your past relationships, your ex's, and other prospective partners.  You tie your happiness in life with your relationship.  If you're unhappy, you blame it on the relationship."
    "In this stage, you start comparing your relationship with other couples and other relationships.  Would your relationship survive this stage?  It definitely could, as long as your relationship isn't monotonous and repetitive."
    "Stage #8  THE SEXUAL EXPLORATION OR BUST STAGE.  This is the stage when your sex life starts to play a pivotal role.  Both your sex drives may change or one of you may get disinterested in sex."
    "In this stage, you either give up on passionate sex or constantly look for ways to make sex more exciting.  If sexual interests start differing here, one of you may end up having an affair.  But on the other hand, if you find creative ways to make sex more exciting, your relationship could get better and bring both of you a lot closer."
    "Stage #9  THE STAGE OF COMPLETE TRUST.  This is the happy stage when both of you love each other and trust each other completely.  But at the same time, the unbreakable trust in each other could also turn into taking each other for granted."
    "In this stage, both of you know the direction of the relationship and both of you are completely happy with each other and find it easy to predict each other's behavior and decisions.  But with stability in love comes the urge to take each other for granted."
    "As pleasant as this final stage of love may be, it's still no excuse to take each other lightly or stop appreciating each other, because love is an intense emotion that can be rekindled by anyone else at any time if you fail to express your romance to your lover."
    "If you're in a relationship for a while, you may have experienced all OR most of these relationship stages.  And if you're still in a young love, don't let the dark side of these relationship stages scare you."
    "Instead, look at these nine relationship stages as stepping stones into a better future, one that's filled with a lot of love and happiness, just as long as both of you remember to keep love alive all the time."
    ---  Denise S.
    And, now, I would love to hear from you, my fellow TGGuide members, whether or not you resonate with this article, or which parts you do and which parts you do not resonate with.
    Your friend,
    Monica
     
     
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  3. Learned about the concept, "Living Apart Together," (LAT), when I was surfing the 'net for "couples living apart happily," as I love my apartment and my town, Beacon, but miss having a woman (I am a cisgender Lesbian) to love and care about, because my community (Dutchess County, NY) is very TLGB-phobic.  My additional reasons are that I am a loud snorer, and have some other habits that I am too embarrassed to talk about.  
    Interestingly, "Living Apart Together," (LAT) came up.  Most of the information about it came from England, Australia, and Germany, with a little about it from the U.S.  This is probably because the U.S. is a relatively sexually conservative country.
    How it came about was in England, during their census (like ours, every ten years), they noticed starting in the year 2000, but dramatically increasing in 2010, a lot of handwritten comments on people's census forms, explaining they were somewhere between being single and living together.  The British government hired three universities to better explain this new social trend.  
    Most of these couples were monogamous, and had various reasons for being in LATs.  
    Also, without knowing it, I realized that I was in a LAT!  Was very much in love and went with a transwoman for ten years, until her friends started getting married (at that time, Holy Unions), and she wanted to get married, too.  Was very happy to marry her, but my reasons for not marrying was I knew Straight and Gay disabled people lost their disability benefits due to marriage, fear of bankrupting my beloved (she wanted to marry me anyways), because she would then be responsible for my medical bills and medications (at that time, insurance did not cover Gay partners), she lived ten miles off the bus line (she was ok dropping me off at the nearest bus stop on the way to work), and, as a butch, I was not comfortable with a fem supporting me.  Of course, TODAY, I would have had an "underground marriage," (very common even today for people on disability), and would have kept my public housing apartment, using it for storage and as a mail depot, while living with her, just visiting my apartment once a week to clean, check my phone messages and pick up the mail.  
    The advantages may be:
    Be able to avoid getting "underfoot" with one anotherGreat for those who travel long distances for workBe able to keep the relationship "fresh" and "special"Be able to connect regularly by e-mail, telephone, texting, Skype and snail mailBe able to be more romantic by sending packages and gifts​The disadvantages may be:
    In a crisis, may not be able to get together as quickly as you may want toBoth of you must NOT have trust issuesWon't be able to share quality time together on a day to day basisMay not be the best way to raise children​Realized that my relationship was a LAT, even before they had a name for it.  Also, I realized had we moved in together, our relationship would have very likely been short lived.
    Today, I am open to a LAT, either as a prelude to a living together arrangement or as a permanent arrangement.  Would try a living together arrangement on a trial basis, and, if there are problems caused by living habits, return to the LAT arrangement.
    Here are some links about LATs:
    http://www.losangeles.cbslocal.com/2013/05/10/experts-married-couples-finding-bliss-apart/
    http://www.articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-02-14/features/ct-live-0214-amy-20110214_1_couples-happy-valentine-s-day-private-space
    http://www.livingaparttogetherlat.com
    https://www.facebook.com/LivingApartTogetherLAT
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doXVCB1KAno
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4-q1h93Csk
    ​https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ul9YoL7z58
    Would like to hear from others who have been in a LAT and/or living together arrangement and what you think about each!
     
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  4. The other article on Lesbian Connection that hit me between the eyes was about relationships.  
    ""Where are all the 'real' women?"  "I just want someone to be honest and authentic!"  "No one I meet knows how to listen and go deep!""
    "We offer dating and relationship classes for women, and it's amazing how often we hear this kind of thing from the Lesbians we work with.  We have some good news, and some bad news.  First - what you find out there is pretty much always a reflection of what you're bringing.  Now the good news - when you learn to show up with the beautiful, deep, vulnerable, self-responsible "realness" you seek, you can often magically elicit that same level of authenticity from others.  (No, not from everyone.  But from many women - more than enough!)"
    "For example, years ago I went on a first date with a woman who seemed promising.  She was a writer, she was smart, she was funny, and I was attracted to her.  But something wasn't going quite right.  She just kept talking and talking.  Every time I made a comment, or tried to interject something about myself, she'd launch into another story."
    "At first it was okay, because her stories were interesting.  But as this went on, I started to wonder:  Does she always just go on and on like this?  Is she really conceited, or is she just nervous?  Does she just not like me?  What gives?  And as more time passed I thought:  If this is how it's going to be, I don't want to date her.  What's wrong with her?  Doesn't she notice she's hogging all the conversational space?  Why doesn't she know how to listen?  Does she even know I'm here?"
    Then, after a while, a familiar litany started up in my head:  What's wrong with me?  Why do I always end up with women who don't know how to listen?  Maybe I am too picky.  Maybe I'm destined to be alone.  While all these thoughts, fears and frustrations were going through my head, on the outside I was nodding, smiling, being polite, saying "Mmm-hmm," and still trying to get a word in edge-wise about my own life, too."
    "What I was not doing was - being real."
    "I wasn't taking the risk to tell my date what I was really thinking and feeling.  That means I was giving up at the starting gate and not even giving her the chance to go deeper with me.  And I wasn't sharing with her the authenticity that I longed for."
    "How many times have you found yourself in a similar situation?  And how many times have you broken through it by getting more real yourself?  If your answers are "a lot," and, "none," you're not alone!  Most of us simply don't know how to be that honest, especially with someone we don't know well.  Yet how are we ever going to get to know someone well, if we aren't honest with them?  It's quite a conundrum!"
    "So let's take a look at what I might have said on that date:  "You know, I'm starting to feel really confused and kind of sad because I find you attractive, but it feels like our conversation is just going one way - and I'm really not sure why, or how to change that."
    ""You've got a lot of great stories, but I would really like it if we could switch gears and talk about what's going on between us right now.  I'm finding myself starting to have some familiar thoughts and feelings that are keeping me from really being here with you.""
    ""I was really looking forward to this date, but I feel like something isn't going quite right for me in our conversational flow, and I would love it if we could talk about that together and try to change it.  Would you be up for that?""
    "You'll notice that in each of these statements, I used "I - language" - that is, I'm trying to talk about what I am feeling, rather than make accusations or assume I know what's going on for my date.  When you make I - statements, it's easier for someone to hear you - and it makes it less likely she'll argue or get defensive.  And, most importantly, by talking about what I feel and want, I am being vulnerable and real.  I am offering my date the chance to go deeper with me - if she's able and willing."
    "As I said before, some women won't choose to take you up on that offer.  But some will.  And for most of us, all it really takes is one!"
    "Fast-forward to when I met my partner, M.  I can still remember a few key moments when I took these kinds of risks, and she followed, and we ended up connecting much more deeply, because of it.  Sometimes it was by e-mail (which for some of us is easier).  In fact, that's how I first told her I loved her!  But other times it was in person.  Once, it was when we were in bed and things just weren't working well for me.  Another time, I was having some doubts about whether we should keep seeing each other because I was afraid she felt more for me than I did for her.  And every time I took the risk and told her - in an honest, vulnerable and present-moment way - what was happening inside me, she met me there.  And that's a huge part of why we celebrated our eighth anniversary - and why we keep growing and going deeper together every day!"
    "And it's also a big part of why we started our website (http://www.consciousgirlfriend.com), in order to help Lesbians who are struggling with relationships, learn how to create deep connection.  We offer coaching, retreats and classes, such as "Communicate and Be Heard," and, "Take Charge of Your Relationship Destiny.""
    - R.
    Found this an excellent article, and I would like to make some comments.
    Feel the writer was engaging in what I call "emotional masturbation," also known as "diarrhea of the mouth." Most of the time, this is caused by runaway anxiety, and R. did an excellent job of supporting her date to get a grip on her anxiety, instead of stressing her further by trying to get a word in edgewise.  
    The other comment I have is that R. is a butch, and her partner is a fem, and butches have to be sensitive to how fems perceive a relationship.  Fems, are, by nature, more sensitive than butches, and expect butches to gently lead the relationship.  Forgive me, but it is the butch's job to pleasure the fem in bed, but I applaud this butch for having a conversation about it, instead of breaking the relationship off.
    In my opinion, I find people (not just Lesbians) don't give a relationship a chance to bloom, looking for every excuse to break it off, for fear of intimacy.  
    How do I get past this?  Building friendships, sometimes for months and even years, to build emotional safety for both.  As I am getting older, I realize I have to speed it up a little bit.  With the love of my life, we were friends for two years before we became romantically involved, and we slowly went about it.  Not a big fan of Internet dating websites, as I use touch (in the respectful way) and touch is my major communication tool.  
    Highly recommend Dr. Gary Chapman's book, "The Five Languages of Love," even though it was written for Straight people.
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  5. Found two great free websites with relationship quizzes that will give you insight into yourself and your partner or future partner. They are www.5lovelanguages.com and www.personalityassessor.com/relationshipwants. Took both of them and they were spot-on! They are brief, fun to take and easy to understand. Enjoy!!
  6. Changing up a gear! in CarolineTyler's Blog


    By CarolineTyler, posted
    I can hardly believe that August has come around so soon and wow, things have so moved on.
    My personal relationship with my beautiful partner Ruth has recently reached the maturity of two years engaged and it feels so good to have that special person in my life.
    I got made redundant again in February as the company re-structured and no longer needed my position. As it happens I was about to quit anyway since I had made plans to move to the North of England and come April that has happened. I now live in Bradford within the beautiful county of West Yorkshire, England.
    I own my own house, no mortgage/rent to pay and without that financial load on me I am attempting to work for myself, another major change in my life.

    Happy

    Caroline
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