It should be noted that couples may form while the individuals are at any of the given stages.The individual members of the couple may also be at different stages of the coming out process.Mc Whirter and Madison begin their discussion of gay relationships by discussing the climate in which gay relationships develop.They explain that "Heterosexual couples do not grapple with issues about roles, finances, ownerships, and social obligations in the same way as gay men do.Internalized homophobia, models about how relationships develop, isolation from role models, ideas about how couples act, what couples should do and not do... Maintaining - Stage 3 - Years 4 and 5 This stage is characterized by the re-emergence of the individual, establishing traditions and customs, dealing with conflict, and taking risks.The members of the couple may re-assert their individual needs and deal with the conflicts that will result.Each member may take risks by expressing something that they dislike about the other.This involves the risk of hurting the other, losing the relationship, and of admitting that one is not everything to one's spouse.
One partner who did the cooking for several years may turn the job over to the other partner and go back to school.Two men may have a hard time giving up control, negotiating responsibilities, learning to rely on and support each other, and being able to show each other their strengths as well as weaknesses.Nesting - Stage 2 - Years 2 and 3 This second stage is characterized by homemaking, finding compatibility, declining limerence, and ambivalence.Non-gay people rarely question the rightness or wrongness of their sexual orientation, but at some point gay persons do." (p.
3) It should be noted that Coming Out is not a single step, like high school graduation, or even a "clean" stage by stage progression.
It can be a very difficult time for couples, in that the two members of the couple are socialized in very similar ways.