What gay marriages can teach us about relationships
Gay marriages have much to teach heterosexuals about relationships, claim researchers across the pond.
As California becomes the latest American state to grant same-sex unions, relationship experts say it's time we all looked at gay couples - and learnt something about our own relationships.
'I think there's a lot to be learned to explore how human beings relate to one another,' Sondra E Solomon, a psychology professor at the University of Vermont, tells the New York Times.
'How people care for each other, how they share responsibility, power and authority - those are the key issues in relationships.'
And this isn't just personal opinion: following Vermont's legalisation of same-sex marriages back in 2000, researchers spoke to 1,000 different couples - both gay and straight - and discovered homosexual relationships tended to be far more egalitarian than heterosexual ones.
'Heterosexual married women live with a lot of anger about having to do the tasks not only in the house but in the relationship,' explains Esther D. Rothblum, a women's studies professor from San Diego State University. 'That's very different than what same-sex couples and heterosexual men live with.'
As well as the power issue, other studies have shown that when couples do fight, same-sex couples fight more fairly, while heterosexual couples are more likely to shout, become 'physically agitated' and use 'hostile emotional tactics'.
Professor Levenson, from the University of California notes: 'When they got into these really negative interactions, gay and lesbian couples were able to do things like use humour and affection that enabled them to step back from the ledge and continue to talk about the problem instead of just exploding.'
So, the next time you get into an argument, stop and think: what would a gay man do?
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