Here’s an interesting article in the current issue of Psychology Today (April, 2015): Gay Love, Straight Sense: 5 Lessons Everyone Can Learn from Same-Sex Couples. The lessons are these:
1. “Create fluid roles.” Because same-sex couples don’t have to divide roles by gender, they are free to discuss roles and to more effectively share roles. The roles are negotiated, rather than set down by society.
2. “Sexual experimentation is good.” Same-sex couples are more likely to talk about sexual preferences and desires and are not bound by “rules” often found in opposite-sex relationships.
3. “Keep calm amid conflict.” Apparently, same-sex couples engage in conflict in a “less accusatory, less belligerent, less domineering” manner.
4. “We’re all surrounded by attractive others; deal with it.” Unlike same-sex couples, gay men and lesbians have same-sex friends and regularly deal with the normal jealousies and tensions these may present. Straight men and women often do not have opposite sex friends which is confining and restrictive.
5. “Allow for breathing room when it comes to money, family—and maybe even sex.” Gay men and lesbians apparently engage in less micromanaging than do straight men and women. There is, with gay and lesbian couples, less adherence to rules established by society—same-sex couples can have separate bank accounts and don’t have to visit family in the same way that straight couples do, for example.
There is much in this article that both straight and gay men and lesbians will find totally untrue of their own relationships. The generalizing--sometimes to the point of stereotyping—often on the basis of a psychologist’s or therapist’s observations—little real research is cited—can seem somewhat offensive and off-putting to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples. Yet, the idea that one relationship configuration can inform and teach another is useful.