Same-sex relationships and their dissolution

Ramona Faith Oswald, Eric Clausell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


What is the strongest predictor of divorce? Marriage! This joke was a graduate school favorite, and it has remained amusing because of the same-sex relationship conundrum that it revealsHow can one divorce if one cannot marry in the first place? The legally insecure status of gay and lesbian couples has been one motivation for scholars to document that same-sex couples exist, and to investigate the dynamics of these relationships. Considerably less scholarly attention has been paid to the dissolution of same-sex couples. The two seminal studies of “gay divorce” that continue to be cited (Blumstein & Schwartz, 1983; Kurdek, 1992) were conducted more than 10 years ago, well before the current “gayby boom” or battle for marriage rights. Given the increasing visibility and legalization of same-sex couples (and their children), a closer examination of lesbian and gay divorce certainly seems overdue. Our goal in this chapter is to present what is currently known about the dissolution of same-sex relationships and, perhaps more importantly, to articulate what we do not know so that relationship dissolution scholars can consider ways of expanding their research to include same-sex relationships. Before we do this, however, we believe it is important to put relationship dissolution in context by summarizing what we know about the prevalence, formation, and relational dynamics of gay and lesbian couples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Divorce and Relationship Dissolution
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781317824213
ISBN (Print)0805859055, 9780805859058
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Psychology(all)


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