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Have you heard about these stats? Although lesbian/gay marriage and even civil unions haven’t been around very long, early studies suggest that lesbian couples are 50-167% more likely to divorce than heterosexual couples, and nearly twice as likely to divorce as gay men.
Huh? We’re just winning the right to marry, and we’re already getting divorced en masse? – what gives? Well, social scientists have a few theories:
- Women seem to “demand higher relationship quality” than men, as evidenced by studies of heterosexual divorce (women initiate divorce 70-80% of the time). Women also buy the vast majority of relationship books and initiate the vast majority of relationship counseling. So maybe when two women are together, it’s even tougher for both to feel satisfied in an ongoing way?
- Some speculate that lesbians tend to commit to one another quickly – more quickly than in heterosexual pairings, where women tend to advocate for commitment but men tend to resist (a pattern that is probably biologically based for both sexes.)
Of course, we know we’re up against a lot that straight people aren’t:
- We face many more pressures, including discrimination, religious and familial judgment, and internalized homophobia.
- Few of us grew up knowing long-term lesbian couples, and our marriages don’t receive the same societal support as straight marriages.
- Since we’ve only recently won the right to marry, and still only in a minority of states and countries, our lesbian culture – and perhaps even our lesbian psyches – haven’t yet evolved to favor lasting marriage.
Yet none of these factors explain why our divorce rates are also nearly twice those of gay men!
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Now, frankly, straight and gay male divorce rates are also high, so we might even conclude that the problem is with the institution of marriage itself (or with human beings!) Maybe we’re simply not cut out for long-term intimacy?
And yet, we sure do seem to long for it…
At Conscious Girlfriend, we don’t have an opinion about whether couples “should” marry, or “should” stay married. But we do observe a lot of beauty, depth, passion and power in lesbian/queer womens’ relationships, especially early on — and we also observe a lot of struggle, drama, pain and even bitterness over the long term.
It’s interesting. If you get a group of single straight women together, they’re likely to complain bitterly about men – and if they don’t know many lesbians, they often imagine that lesbian relationships would be much easier! Yet at our Conscious Girlfriend workshops, we’ve heard from many lesbians who have given up on relationships. “They’re just too hard” is a frequent refrain.
So what the !@# is going on here? It seems to me that women (both straight and lesbian) know what kind of intimacy and connection we want – but we often don’t know how to find, create or sustain it.
That’s where Conscious Girlfriend comes in. We’ve found both in our own relationship, and in the relationships of many other couples we’ve witnessed, that it’s entirely possible to eliminate that bitterness, struggle and drama – and keep the beauty, depth, passion and power alive and growing.
But, it doesn’t happen by magic, or just because you meet the right woman. Chemistry alone isn’t enough – yet neither is love! Truly satisfying ongoing relationships are only possible once both partners develop some very particular understandings and skills – so that’s what we’re here to help you do.
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