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I have clients who tell me that it’s painful for them to walk down the street and see all those happy LGBT (or straight) couples.

“It makes me feel so lonely and unwanted,” they say. When you’re single, and people around you “appear” (and I use that word deliberately) to be much happier than you - so in love, arm-in-arm with their gorgeous partner - it’s tough not to compare your lonesome, solitary self and feel you’re lacking.

Feeling alone and unloved is common to us all, coupled or not. If you live the Hallmark card life - you have a wonderful, perfect partner and the two of you regularly enjoy sunsets on the beach and great sex by the fireplace, followed by hours of hugging and kissing – then this column is not for you.

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Joseph Gregory and Chuck Rapp, partners for 22 years, have formed a happy life together by pursuing separate interests while sharing a deep respect for each other's abilities.

So what then are the keys to a healthy, long-term relationship?

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Joshua Twent was a guy I had run into while out and about with my best friend Shianne at Nashville’s Play dance bar. We bumped into each other one Friday night and exchanged numbers to meet for dinner the next day. We met at Centennial Park at the Parthenon. We walked and talked for nearly an hour before heading to our venue, Chili’s on West End Ave across from Vanderbilt. We somehow managed to find even more to talk about as we ate. Things were going so well until;

“Do you ever want to get married?” he asked giving me a curious look over his rectangle framed glasses. I took a sip of my Margarita (they were two for one so needless to say our table looked like a minibar) before answering.

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