This paper identifies the stages of gay male relationships through a qualitative analysis of the interviews of 12 gay men within the context of the Sternberg () three component model of love. Four stages were identified: Confrontation with sexuality: Preparing for intimacy, Exploration of Sexuality: Engaging with passion, Experimentation with Relationships: Uniting intimacy and passion, and Formation of Committed Relationships: Integrating passion, intimacy, and commitment. Confrontation with Sexuality was a necessary first step before forming intimate relationships, as it provided a context for the second stage of Exploration of Sexuality, where passion could be explored. Once sexuality had been explored, Experimentation with Relationships was the next stage which involved uniting passion with intimacy, often including a period of experimenting with the types of relationships that are usually explored much earlier for heterosexuals. Finally, the fourth stage of Formation of Committed Relationships was identified which involved the integration of passion, intimacy, and commitment. The therapeutic implications of these results are elaborated by an analysis of these stages in clinical cases.
|Number of pages||22|
|Journal||Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy|
|Publication status||Published - Mar 2013|