• What Makes Gay and Lesbian Relationships Succeed or Fail?

    Two women lying on the hood of a truck

    Gay and lesbian couples face a unique set of relationship challenges. A 12-year study involving 21 gay and lesbian couples was conducted to find out whether there were differences in patterns of relational success and failure between same-sex couples and heterosexual couples. The study concluded that while, like heterosexual couples, same-sex couples experience several relational struggles, they have some unique strengths and weaknesses.

    The study found that same-sex couples are more willing to share power and realize the importance of fair play in relationships. It also found that gay couples rarely expressed or discussed emotions related to control issues.

    For example, the research showed that in heterosexual couples, it is easier to hurt a partner with a critical comment than to delight a partner with a positive, uplifting comment. In contrast, a positive comment sits well with a same-sex partner, and criticism does not cut as deep as in the case of straight couples.

    How Do Gay Relationships Start?

    Gay folks meet each other at parties, on social media, or through a common friend. When two gay folks click, they go on dates. If they enjoy each other’s company, they start hanging out more often.

    What Do Gay Couples Do For Fun?

    Like straight couples, same-sex couples go to parties, jam to their favorite music, hang out with their friends, go on dates, enjoy movies or shows together, and go to music concerts.

    How Do Lesbian Couples Differ From Straight Couples When it Comes to Arguing?

    It’s easier for lesbians to put themselves in their partner’s shoes. They are able to read their partner’s body language and take steps to diffuse the situation. Also, the things lesbian couples argue about are often different.

    The researchers also concluded that same-sex couples display lower levels of fear and antagonism than straight couples. Same-sex couples handle arguments and conflicts better than heterosexual couples. Lesbian and gay couples use humor to lighten the mood when they bring up an argument and stay positive after fights.

    Same-sex couples display low levels of psychological arousal. As a result, they are better able to handle their emotions and stay calmer during tough conversations than straight couples. A lower level of psychological arousal also means that same-sex couples are better able to soothe each other than heterosexual couples.

    It was also noted that lesbians are more emotionally expressive than gays and display more agitation, humor, and anger during fights. The researchers concluded that this difference in behavior may be the result of being socialized in a culture where women are allowed to be more expressive than men.

    The study found that in gay relationships, if the initiator of an argument becomes too negative, the other partner may harbor resentment against them for a long time and may be unable to heal emotional wounds as effectively as a lesbian or straight partner.

    Gay men may need help identifying effective ways to offset the impact of negative emotions. If you are in a same-sex relationship and are struggling with difficult emotions, give couples counseling in NYC a try. A gay couples counselor can help you become more comfortable expressing vulnerability. Your counselor can also help you cultivate a positive mindset so you can better deal with the ups and downs in your relationship. As you become emotionally stable, you are able to heal effectively and swiftly after arguments.

    Cooper Mental Health Counseling is a trusted counseling center serving Manhattan & NYC. We offer couples counseling for both straight and same-sex couples. Our licensed counselors help couples that have grown apart over the years identify and address the root causes of relationship problems. To make an appointment, call (347) 244-7873.

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