Did you hear the news about the young Russian woman who got her new boyfriend’s name tattooed on her face after their first date?
There has been a contentious debate about this all over the Web, some respecting the girl’s right to make decisions about her own body and others shaming her for making an impulsive decision that has now permanently “disfigured” her in the name of love.
As gay men, we are no strangers to prejudice and ostracism.
As a marginalized group, many of us learned from a young age to protect ourselves from homophobia.
Therefore, we can be more armored to deal with social backlash and empowered to do what we want to do with our lives.
This news, however, brings up an important question for homosexuals to contemplate as they search for love: What would you be willing to do for love? How far would you go?
There are three important things that I believe are essential in making this type of decision:
When making a personal decision or a sacrifice with a new partner relationship, self-awareness means knowing who you are and what you stand for with your value system.
Does the decision you are about to make align with your belief systems in a logical way, or do you feel emotional and want to make this act as a statement?
Negative repercussions usually follow with the latter.
“I encourage caution and
tempering emotion with logic”.
This means loving yourself enough to know what you will and will not do to protect yourself in the context of a relationship.
Are you doing this for yourself or for the other person?
This requires assertiveness and standing up for yourself and your values. It also requires an assessment of the short- and long-term consequences of your decision.
If it seems like a good idea now, will it be a good idea 10 years from now? Will this decision enhance or hinder life opportunities (social, occupational, etc.)?
3. Relationship education is another important factor.
Remember, most love and attachment theories identify the “honeymoon phase” as the first stage of a romantic relationship.
This exciting time at the beginning of a relationship is marked by great chemistry and attraction, the desire for contact with each other most of the time, and is filled with hope and expectation.
Psychologist Dorothy Tennov coined the clinical term limerence to describe this euphoric state and happy longing for the new love interest that is triggered by the release of the body’s attachment hormones.
It is a moment fueled by the fantasy of their ideal partner being projected onto this new love object, and their “flaws” and incompatibilities tend to be minimized or dismissed.
The honeymoon period is scheduled to last from several weeks to a couple of years and is highly individualized for the couple. Knowing these stages of love is important for decision making.
Is what I am about to do driven by my values and logic or by the blinding influence of limerence and the honeymoon phase?
As hard as it is to imagine this relationship not lasting at this point, will I regret my decision to act on my desire if the partnership ends at some point or when we reach the “power struggle” phase?
You can use these elements to help you make informed decisions about dating. New love can be an exciting and joyous time, but it can also make you vulnerable if you are not careful.
I recommend caution, tempering emotion with logic and taking the time to make sure your new dating partner is truly compatible; this is something that generally cannot be assessed after a first date and requires consistent shared experiences over time to observe and evaluate their interactions with each other face-to-face.
What do you think of the Russian girl’s decision? What are some of the things she has done “in the name of love” and how does she feel about those decisions now?
What other suggestions do you have on this topic?
You can see the full story here with photos.