Well here’s something contrary to the stereotype. The stereotype is that lesbians go on three dates and then stay together for thirty years. This article says they break up sooner and more often than gays do. It makes sense in a way though, since wives tend to initiate divorces more than husbands do.
The writer, Marina Adshade, quotes, Giles Hattersley, the writer of the root article, on some reasons for the disparity. Let’s see how they stand up:
1. Women are impulsive about relationships.
This would take a lot of proving. He seems to be trying to say that women, who are proverbially cautious about casual sex, are going to somehow conversely be rushing into long-term relationships.
2. Men are more pragmatic about relationships.
There may be something to this, but again it would take a lot more proving than this article does. Perhaps women do buy into all the Romance bullshit – but even Jane Austen’s heroines knew the difference between maundering on about their infatuations and taking their career machinations seriously; how’s that for pragmatism – and start out with more unrealistic expectations, which are easier to fall short of. It’s possible. Not demonstrated.
And then she offers some alternative explanations of her own, and these make more sense to me:
1. Women just initiate divorce more. A relationship with TWO women in it starts out on very shaky ground to begin with.
Adshade points out that inequalities in divorce proceedings and child custody awards may drive that more than anything else, which weakens this particular argument. But I still think it has a lot more basis to it than Hatterley’s..
2. Female relationships tend to have boundary problems and breaking up is the only way to get some individuality back.
This may well be true. It certainly comports with the stereotype of the airless, in-grown lesbian circle of friends. So how valid is the stereotype? Citation please?
3. “If lesbian women are more likely to have been in a heterosexual relationship in the past that ended in divorce (which appears to be true) than are gay men, then there is nothing surprising about their higher divorce rates in that gender group.”
I’m not sure that actually is true, because she appears to have narrowed her pool to people who are getting civil partnerships or marriages. That is hardly the whole or even necessarily a representative pool of gay men or probably even of lesbians either.
So this article sheds light on something new, at least new to me. It is an interesting departure point and I look forward to further research into the subject, as well as implications for heterosexual relationships.
Over the years some studies have shown a greater incidence of Intimate Partner Violence in lesbian couples, some have contradicted that, but the mere existence of the debate shoots a gaping hole in the Duluth Model of DV. So this observation of Hattersley’s, with Adshade’s commentary, may do the same with the old stereotype that divorce is due to men running off and abandoning their marriages. For what that’s worth.