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Same-sex couples happier than heterosexual couples

Maryland residents might be interested to hear that research shows that same-sex couples tend to be happier than heterosexual couples. Experts say that there may be pointers that heterosexual couples can take from same-sex ones to make their marriages more harmonious.

While the number of marriages that last is dwindling, same-sex couples are fighting for their civil rights to enter into marriages. It may seem ironic that more and more heterosexual Americans are waiting to marry while same-sex couples' rights advocate for the legalization of gay marriage. However, the number of people cohabitating has risen dramatically.

Some people believe that the reason marriages tend to fail is because of the stereotypes and assumptions that gender brings to marriage. Such age-old gender roles can create stress in a marriage. Although marriage is much more equal than it once was, gender assumptions may still cause problems in marriage. Looking at same-sex couples could reveal just what problems gender creates in marriages.

Because same-sex partners have the same gender, they do not enter into a domestic partnership with preconceived assumptions about who will do what. In traditional marriages, women were expected to care for the children and the household while the men pursued their careers. However, in same-sex marriages, couples negotiate their division of labor, from child-rearing to chores.

Just as married couples sometimes decide to get divorced, so do same-sex couples sometimes decide to split up. However, same-sex couples are not protected by the same laws that married couples are when they decide to split up. The way that same-sex couples handle issues such as child custody and division of property is oftentimes more difficult than the way married couples do. Family law attorneys may be able to assist same-sex couples with their separations though.

Source: The Atlantic, "The gay guide to wedded bliss", http://www.theatlantic.com/liza-mundy/, May 22, 2013

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