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The Male Couple: How Relationships Develop Paperback – February, 1985

5.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 342 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall Trade (February 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0135475635
  • ISBN-13: 978-0135475638
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #604,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By David Rumsey on June 25, 2004
This book is still the best guide to the ups and downs of gay male relationships. All the other books out there tell you how to "find" a partner/relationship, or set up a joint household, etc., but none of them tell you what being in a relationship is actually like, especially long-term relationships.
The first half of the book is divided into a series of "Relationship Stages" which discuss the typical characteristics of gay relationships from 0 - 20+ years. They use interviews from several couples to highlight the point.
The remainder of the book discusses the demographics, etc. of the people interviewed. The fact that the book was written pre-AIDS doesn't really make a difference. The focus here is on the emotional relationship between two men, not the sex.
Just I am ready to call it quits with my husband, I open this book to discover that the troubles we are going through are quite normal. After 15 years together, I discovered we are clearly in phase 5 - taking each other for granted. But I'm looking forward to Phase 6 - Remembering.
What is perhaps most impressive, is that you can see other couples exhibit the traits characteristics of various stages. Watch out for stage 2!
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I knew the writers (Drew and David) in the days when they were just about to publish this book. I bought one of the first copies. As a result, I've had two long-lasting, continuous relationships since then (my first husband died after ten years together).
Male-male relationships ARE NOT THE SAME as male-female relationships. The dynamics are very different. I ask gay men if they went to their Senior Prom with a female, and if they say yes, I ask them if that experience had even the slightest relevance to any long-term relationships that they've had with a male. Unanimously, they say no. Our whole culture is biased in a way that messes with our expectations about long-term relationships.
Women are wired to protect the nest, and males are wired to spread it around. This book provides wisdom that allows males to get past the expectations of the culture around us and forge relationships that really work, and aren't based on what we grew up with.
Male-male relationships based on male-female relationships are doomed to fail, in my experience. Read the book and gain greater understanding.
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Do everything you can to find this book.
Sometime it seems that the place my partner and I are at is a new found land. None of our friends have been together for the length of time we have and sometimes a little "compare and contrast" is required.
The relationships that are featured in this book are grouped by the time they've been together and the statistics from each group as well as the stories of the couples themselves serve as a real touchstone.
This book is a mandatory addition to every gay couple's library,
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The authors (themselves a "couple") wrote in their Introduction to this 1984 book, "Many of the old myths about gay men and their relationships have been proven wrong by the findings of the study that forms the basis of `The Male Couple.' There are many male couples who have been together for years, living out their lives quietly and productively in the mainstream of American life... This is a study of 156 such male couples in loving relationships lasting from one to thirty-seven years... We always have been very careful to explain that the very nature of our research sample, its size (156 couples), its narrow geographic location, and the natural selectiveness of the participants prevent the findings from being applicable and generalizable to the entire gay male community... As behavioral scientists we cannot report our conclusions as being derived from a representative sample. However, as clinicians working with a variety of male couples, we have found daily applicability to every couple we have seen in the past three years. As lecturers and discussion leaders ... we have found agreement with our findings everywhere we have gone." (Pg. ix-x)

They observe, many of the values and practices that are cornerstones of heterosexual relationships are absent in male couples. Indeed, it was startling to find that some of the qualities identified with stability and intimacy between opposite-sex partners can be detrimental to homosexual relationships. As an example, although most gay couples began their relationships with implicit or explicit commitment to sexual exclusivity, only seven couples in this study considered themselves to have been consistently sexually monogamous... Sexual exclusivity is not an ongoing expectation among most male couples." (Pg.
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