November 6th, 2005
There’s an interesting column by K. Pearson Brown in the US lesbian and gay online paper Southern Voice. In it she talks about how lesbians just can’t seem to end relationships quickly like straight folks do.
Rather than an abrupt end, lesbian couples tend to stay together, keeping house and even socialising together, only finishing a relationship for good when one of the couple meets someone else.
So why does this happen? Mainly it seems because relationships, even ones on the decline, can offer ‘warmth and comfort’.
Unlike the straight world there are few relationship manuals available to help women (described in this piece as ‘Lesbians are from Jupiter’ guides!). Whilst I’d argue relationship guides aren’t a massive amount of help for straight people whose relationships are ending, at least there are guides out there and models of ending relationships out there to copy.
It may also be linked to how many lesbian relationships begin. Pearson Brown explains: “our relationships begin quickly and intensely. We meld emotionally and nest together immediately. Often our body cycles even get in synch. So when things go south, it’s hard to pull apart”.
This relationship model can create a comfort zone that makes it difficult to separate. Aside from having a shared home, possessions and friends, there’s the difficulty of losing a friendship with one’s partner. In short you may not want to be together, but may not want to be apart either.
Pearson Brown suggests one possible solution might be around legalising lesbian marriage – at least then if a relationship ends there’s the divorce process to go through (although given the way many lesbian relationships play out it may be that this just leads to a dragged out divorce).
Don’t be fooled that it’s all plain sailing though. This piece also recounts the ‘dyke drama’ of door slamming and plate throwing (not to mention shouting matches) that signifies a relationship truly is over. Perhaps lesbian dating classes could be arranged to encourage this phase of a relationship to happen sooner rather than later.
So in the absence of those ‘lesbians from Jupiter guides’, here are a few resources to keep you and your partner happy, or help if you’re splitting up….
Lesbian and gay wedding show
Lesbian and gay radio
Legal advice about living together