And they said it couldn’t last.
A new study conducted by the Journal of Marriage and Family concludes that same-sex male couples have the lowest stress level compared to opposite-sex couples and same-sex female couples.
Titled “Marital Strain and Psychological Distress in Same-Sex and Different-Sex Couples,” the study included 756 midlife U.S. men and women in 378 gay, lesbian, and heterosexual marriages. Each participant kept a diary detailing daily points of stress in life and their marriages. Gay male couples had the lowest stress level, while women in heterosexual marriages had the highest. Men in opposite-sex couples and women in same-sex couples fell somewhere in the middle. The study also found that same-sex parents spend more time with their children than their straight counterparts, suggesting same-sex parents are actually more attentive.
Study authors Michael A. Garcia and Debra Umberson suggest the disparity in satisfaction could have something to do with traditional gender roles. In a same-sex couple, duties that normally would be expected to be carried out by one gender or another get co-opted. In essence, same-sex couples make up their own gender roles as they go, and are more likely to discuss and divide duties according to personal preference, rather than gender models.
Release of the study has already prompted an opinion column in The New York Times, in which author Stephanie Coontz advocates for straight marriages becoming “gayer.”
Frankly, we can’t argue with that.