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Same-sex couples may have an upper hand in dealing with stress

same-sex couple
Posted at 10:41 AM, Dec 13, 2022

AUSTIN, Tx. — Anthony Sobotik and Chad Palmatier are partners both in life and in business; the two opened their first ice cream shop in Texas back in 2011.

“I think we’ve learned a lot about each other, how we get along and cope. It’s still an evolution," said Palmatier, who helped open Lick alongside Sobotik.

Spending so much of their time together, there are times when both men admit they do get a little sick of one another. But new research suggests same-sex couples might have an easier time dealing with stress compared to their different-sex counterparts.

“We all know spouses are an important role of support,” said Yiwen Wang, a researcher and Ph.D. student at the University of Texas in Austin.

Wang recently wrapped up one of the nation’s first studies on marriage that included same-sex couples. What she found is that same-sex couples handle stress better than different-sex couples.

“Gay and lesbian couples are more likely to deal with stress as a team, compared to straight couples,” Wang explained.

What’s really going on here, though, likely has to do with gender and gender roles. It turns out that men and women in same-sex marriage are more likely to cope with stress collaboratively and more likely to work together to deal with stress, possibly because they share similar gender-related experiences.

“Same-sex marriages, you don’t have that gender difference. You don’t have that man versus woman, masculinity versus femininity. Because they don’t have those gender differences to draw on, they are more likely to draw on gender similarities,” Wang noted about the study’s findings.

In all of this, Wang sees lessons for every couple gay or straight.

“Marital interaction and communication is something straight couples can learn from," Wang expressed.