- How are Gay and Heterosexual Relationships Different?
- “The Best is Always Yet to Come”: Relationship Stages and Processes Among Young LGBT Couples
- What Makes Same-Sex Relationships Succeed Or Fail?
- Editors' Picks
Her phone held dozens of similar messages, and the woman only stopped harassing Zoe when she was no longer single. So, no, dating women isn't as easy-peasy as straight women seem to think. But I get why they sometimes wish they could give up on men. They're tired of men being confusing, misogynistic, emotionally uninvested, and sometimes just plain gross — and that's totally understandable.
There's no question that misogyny is more rampant among straight, cisgender meaning: Still, I wish straight women wouldn't say things like, "I wish I could just date women. They don't really mean it. But, at best, thinking that it must be so much easier to be a lesbian is just factually wrong. At worst, it's offensive. In saying that they wish they could be lesbians simply to avoid dating men, straight women are ignoring all of the terrible shit real queer women have to go through.
Like worrying that their friends and family will no longer love them once they come out, feeling as if they can't hold their partners' hands in public or weathering dirty stares when they do , and dealing with homophobia from strangers, coworkers, law enforcement, and even family let me tell ya, my grandfather wasn't exactly happy when I told him I was dating a woman — all of which can lead to some serious consequences.
We're at a greater risk for violence from partners, too.
All of that aside, it's also just not true that being a lesbian magically takes away the stress, drama, and insecurity involved in dating. Believe it or not, even lesbians have to go on awkward first dates and deal with people who disappear out of the blue. So, please stop telling me that being a lesbian is so much easier than being a straight woman.
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Journal of Marriage and Family, 66, Marginalized relationships: The impact of social disapproval on romantic relationship commitment. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32, Mathematical modeling of conflict interactions. Journal of Homosexuality, 45, Relationship outcomes and their predictors: Longitudinal evidence from heterosexual married, gay cohabiting, and lesbian cohabiting couples.
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- “The Best is Always Yet to Come”: Relationship Stages and Processes Among Young LGBT Couples;
- FYI: Dating Can Be Terrible When You're A Lesbian, Too.
- What Makes Same-Sex Relationships Succeed Or Fail??
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Journal of Marriage and Family, 60, He also conducts research on commitment, sexuality, and safer-sex practices. Of the eligible couples, 57 lesbian 57 treated women and 57 partners and 63 heterosexual 63 women and 63 men couples participated in this study and responded to the questionnaire. Previous studies have shown that the similarities between lesbian and heterosexual couples far outweigh the differences [ 1 , 27 ].
How are Gay and Heterosexual Relationships Different?
The lesbian and heterosexual couples turn to assisted reproduction due to a strong desire to conceive and to have children. Before being accepted for assisted reproduction the couples undergo a psychosocial investigation and consequently, the couples in this study are psychologically healthy. These aspects of similarities provide a solid foundation for comparisons of changes in relationship satisfaction during a time of assisted reproduction between lesbian and heterosexual couples. There were no differences in age between participants lesbian vs. Amongst the lesbian couples, 3 treated women and 4 partners had previous biological children; in the heterosexual couples there were no previous biological children.
More lesbian Personal issues: Items focus on the level of comfort felt by the respondent in sharing and receiving emotional and cognitive information from the partner. Conflict resolution: Items focus on how openly issues are recognised and resolved, as well as the strategies used to end arguments. Financial management: Items assess spending patterns and the manner in which financial decisions are made. Leisure activities: Assesses preferences for spending free time.
Items reflect social versus personal activities, shared versus individual preferences, and expectations about spending leisure time as a couple. Sexual relationship: Items reflect attitudes about sexual issues, sexual behaviour, and sexual fidelity. Children and parenting: Assesses attitudes and feelings about having and raising children. Family and friends: Assesses feelings and concerns about relationships with relatives, in-laws, and friends.
Items reflect expectations for and comfort with spending time with family and friends. Egalitarian roles: Items reflect occupational, household, sex, and parental roles. High scores indicate a preference for more egalitarian roles. Conception of life: The Swedish version of this scale, originally created by Olson and co-workers [ 28 ] has been evaluated [ 29 ] and shown to be reliable and valid. Scores vary between 1 and 5, with higher scores indicating a better relationship. The scale has been used in long-term follow-up of IVF-couples and has been found to be a valid and reliable instrument to measure relationship satisfaction in clinical samples of couples requesting assisted reproduction [ 21 - 23 ].
The study resulted in the identification of five distinct types of married couples. Vitalised couples reported high relationship quality in all subareas.
Harmonious couples had relatively high relationship quality. Traditional couples had scores that were slightly above average with markedly higher scores on parenting and religious scales.
“The Best is Always Yet to Come”: Relationship Stages and Processes Among Young LGBT Couples
Conflicted couples were characterised by moderately low scores on all but the role scale. The study did not report any mean values or cut-of scores for the different types of couples, however, the range reported for vitalised couples were mean As the assumption of normality could not be met in all of the studied variables, we chose to primarily use a non-parametric approach when analyzing the data. The Mann—Whitney U test was used to examine differences in ENRICH scores between the two study groups, as well as subgroups, while paired samples t-test was used to examine scores over time.
The study was designed according to the Helsinki declaration. M 29— At T1, in general, lesbian couples reported better relationship satisfaction than heterosexual couples. The overall satisfaction with relationship quality decreased in both lesbian and heterosexual couples between T1 and T3. At T1 as well as T3, the lesbian couples had higher congruence scores than the heterosexual couples on all subareas except for Children and Financial.
Difference on the ENRICH scores within the couples for each subarea comparing measurements before treatment and three years after treatment, reported by successful and unsuccessful treatment, was measured. Also an analysis of differences on the ENRICH scores on each subarea, before treatment and about three years after treatment, reported by successful or unsuccessful treatment and couple type was performed. The main finding in this study was that the lesbian couples reported higher satisfaction with their relationship during the trajectories of assisted reproduction.
Although there were differences in many of the ENRICH assessments, the heterosexual couples did not report a low relationship satisfaction. Harmonious Couples and Vitalised Couples [ 30 ]. To date no previous studies have compared relationship satisfaction in lesbian and heterosexual couples during the time of undergoing assisted reproduction in Sweden. The data from this study are unique and contribute important knowledge to the existing research on planned lesbian families.
The strengths of the study design also include the prospective longitudinal method, which allows investigation in changes over time. The couples were recruited from the whole of Sweden, at all university clinics that perform sperm donation treatment and hence the study is comprised of a wide range of couples from both rural and urban areas.
What Makes Same-Sex Relationships Succeed Or Fail?
Furthermore the ENRICH inventory is a well-established instrument which is frequently used in studies of couples undergoing assisted reproduction [ 21 - 23 ]. The large sample of couples responding to questionnaires at two time points provide further strengths to the study. However, one must bear in mind that the couples in this study are a selected group of stable couples that went to a fertility clinic to conceive. Hence, the result from this study can only be generalised to couples that undergo assisted reproduction in a clinical setting.
Due to responses from only one partner in the couple, many of the couples that participated at T1 dropped-out at T3. This means that the sample of this study is comprised of couples that are still cohabiting or married approximately three years after the commencement of treatment. Both lesbian and heterosexual couples reported a decrease in relationship satisfaction compared to when they first commenced treatment. Similar to previous findings [ 21 - 23 ], the subarea sexual relationship was the only subarea that, jointly for the couples, did not decrease over time.
Previously, both Kurdek and Peplau and Fingerhut have reported more similarities than differences between same-sex and heterosexual couples with regards to aspects of relationship quality and wellbeing [ 1 , 27 ]. It has been reported that lesbian couples are more egalitarian in their roles and share household and childcare tasks differently than heterosexual couples [ 31 ]. In this study, we could not see any differences in satisfaction with egalitarian roles; all parties, lesbian treated women and partners, and heterosexual women and men experienced a decrease in egalitarian roles.
Perhaps this mirrors the fact that this is a selected group of couples, highly motivated towards parenthood and with stable relationships. Some interesting differences were found between the couples when the treatment was unsuccessful. Whilst the lesbian treated women and their partners only reported a decline in relationship satisfaction in the subarea communication, an unsuccessful treatment seemed to affect heterosexual treated women much more; several of the subareas were associated with lower scores.
Maybe one explanation for this can be found in the fact that many lesbian couples when they build their family, take in turn to be the birthmother [ 16 , 32 ]. In this way the lesbian couples may perceive that they have another chance to have a child if the assisted reproduction treatment of one of the women in the couple is unsuccessful. For the heterosexual women the alternatives after unsuccessful IVF-treatment are limited to gamete donation, adoption or to live without children. Some minor differences emerged when the treatment was successful and resulted in the birth of a child.
The subareas conflict and financial revealed a significant difference between the lesbian and heterosexual treated women, and the heterosexual women reported lower satisfaction on this matter.
Heterosexual men reported lower satisfaction in personality and leisure compared to lesbian partners with a successful treatment. Perhaps this can be explained by gender differences and that lesbian couples might benefit from the presence of two women in the couple. Some authors suggest that lesbian couples may be able to operate more easily in terms of equality because partners in lesbian couples create their relationships without reference to traditional roles and come to their relationships with a history of being socialised into the same gender roles [ 33 ].
It has also been suggested that same-sex couples may be more effective than their heterosexual counterparts in their ability to navigate conflict [ 34 ] and to work harmoniously on joint tasks [ 35 ]. Some suggest further that women are better support providers than men, and that female partners providing better support can also explain the lower level of conflict in lesbian couple [ 36 ].
At a three-year follow up after assisted reproduction with donated sperm, lesbian couples reported stable relationships and a high satisfaction with their relationship, also after an unsuccessful treatment. Compared to heterosexual IVF couples, lesbian couples reported higher satisfaction. Merck Serono provided financial support throughout the implementation of the study.