real talk

Are gay men more likely to stay in toxic relationships?

Say it isn’t so! Are gay men prone to stay in unhealthy relationships out of a lack of options? Do we not even consider whether the grass is greener — because we think some grass is better than none? Welcome to one of the latest debates on Reddit’s /askgaybros forum.

User Abhorrent69 got the conversation started, wondering if we are more likely to settle for toxic partners because we’re still outnumbered by straight men — despite recent generational shifts — and our dating pool is thus smaller.

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“It’s scary going into an unknown future when you know for certain that the amount of people you can date is so small!” he observes. “Do you guys think that we tend to stick to relationships or stay in bad ones longer than straight people because of this? Maybe this is a good thing because it makes us focus inward and work harder to fix relationships?”

Responses to his post, as you might imagine, varied wildly.

“I don’t know but I would assume we do,” one commenter wrote. “We really are a small percentage from the population.”

Another, however, replied to the question with a resounding absolutely not.“ Can you even imagine how many miserable straight people maintain their marriages/relationships for their kids?” he wrote.

One studious commenter quoted a thoroughly researched Psychology Today article about whether same-sex or heterosexual relationships are more stable. (We’re taking out the scholarly citations for readability, but rest assured, there are many.)

“Overall, same-sex couples reported shorter relationship lengths than different-sex couples,” report Theresa E. DiDonato, Ph.D., and Perrin Robinson, M.S. “And male same-sex couples experienced significantly higher rates of dissolution than female couples or different-sex couples. This is consistent with previous findings: Gay and bisexual men are exposed to minority stressors that can de-stabilize relationships. Where these men differ from women in female couples is in their engagement with protective factors: Many men do not emphasize emotional intimacy and minimization of boundaries to the extent that women do.”

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Back on the Reddit thread, another guy took a more universal stance. “All humans are limited by time, so some people stick it through because you don’t live forever and have time to constantly do trial and error.”

Overall, the consensus among the Redditors seems to be that all relationships are imperfect — i.e. they all require hard work — but when they go from challenging but worthwhile to downright toxic, it’s time to bail.

But enough with other people’s opinions — we want to know your take on this thorny topic! Hit up the comments with your observations and musings.