All relationships involve conflict, negotiation, and compromise. Same-sex couples, however, tend to be happier than heterosexual couples. What's a significant difference between same-sex and straight couples? Equality is typically a shared value among same-sex couples. Same-sex couples are dramatically more egalitarian, leading to fewer power struggles, less anger and aggression, and more humor in the relationship (Garcia-Navarro and Jay-Green, 2014). Same-sex couples are also more likely to share child care and household duties. Tasks are divvied up according to preference, and not on the default of gender roles. With more equality also comes better communication. Why? Because both partners feel like they have a voice (Matos, 2015).
Here's a list of eight ways that same-sex relationships succeed. The first four come from research by Gottman & Levenson's (2003), 12-year study on gay and lesbian relationships:
1) Same-sex couples have lowered physiological arousal when together, meaning they're more likely to soothe each other, unlike straight couples who tend to have higher levels of ongoing physiological arousal, indicating ongoing stress and aggravation.
2) Same-sex couples tend not to take things so personally. Negative comments don't bear as much weight as positive comments do. Straight couples tend to be more affected by and upset by negative comments.
3) Same-sex couples tend to use more affection and humor to help repair the relationship during and after conflict.
4) Same-sex couples tend to use fewer hostile, domineering, and controlling tactics. Equality and power-sharing are values more common to gay and lesbian couples than straight couples.
5) Sexual Satisfaction: lesbians may have less frequent sex, but they focus on duration and have more orgasms than straight or bisexual women (Blair & Pukall, 2014).
6) Rather than have affairs, same-sex couples are more likely to negotiate and discuss their expectations openly about monogamy and non-monogamy. For instance, half of gay men report having sexual experiences outside of their relationship, with their partner knowing (Hoff, et al., 2010).
7) Same-sex couples are more likely to share household chores, divvying up work around the house based on time and talent rather than relying on traditional gender roles to determine who does what around the house (Matos, 2015).
8) Same-sex couples make great parents. Children from gay and lesbian parents tend to be slightly happier and healthier than children from straight parents (Crouch, et al., 2014).
Blair, K.L. & Pukall, C.F. (2014). Can less be more? Comparing duration vs. frequency of sexual encounters in same-sex and mixed-sex relationships. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality 23:123–136; doi:10.3138/cjhs.2393 123Blair, K.L. & Pukall, C.F. (2014). Can less be more? Comparing duration vs. frequency of sexual encounters in same-sex and mixed-sex relationships. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality 23:123–136; doi:10.3138/cjhs.2393 123
Crouch, S.R., Waters, E., McNair, R., Power, J., Davis, E., (2014). Parent-reported measures of child health and wellbeing in same-sex parent families: A cross-sectional survey. BMC Public Health, 14:635 DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-635, Retrieved from https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2458-14-635
Garcia-Navarro, L. (Host) & Jay-Green (Guest). (2014). Same-sex couples may have more egalitarian relationships [All Things Considered]. American University, Washington, D.C.
Gottman, J.M. Levenson, R.W., Gross, J., Frederickson, B.L., McCoy, K., Rosenthal, L., Yoshimoto, D (2003). Correlates of gay and lesbian couples relationship satisfaction and relationship dissolution. Journal of Homosexuality, 45, 22-43, doi:10.1300/J082v45n01_0