After over a decade has passed since same-sex marriages began in the US and much of Europe, we are getting a clearer picture of just how long-lasting gay marriage is in the real world. As same-sex marriages become more common around the world, more and more data is pouring in about divorce rates for same-sex couples when compared to straight couples.
Gay Men Have the Lowest Divorce Rates of Any Couples
One 2015 study by UCLA on US same-sex marriages found that marriages between gay men had a divorce rate of only 16%. That is significantly lower than the 19% that of straight couples over the same period. This is compared to lesbian marriages which showed the highest rate of divorce at a whopping 30%. In fact, gay men have the lowest divorce rate of any marriage pairing in the US and around the world.
A study in the Netherlands between same-sex couples looking at divorce rates between 2005 and 2015 showed near identical results. There, marriages between gay men had a 15% divorce rate, while lesbian couples saw a divorce rate of twice that, of 30%.
Why Do Gay Men Have Such Low Divorce Rates?
So what explains this discrepancy? Well, part of it may have to do with the fact that same-sex couples often wait longer to get married than straight couples. In the US, the average age of marriage for gay men is 39. That’s compared to the average ages of 28 and 26 for straight men and women respectively. This may mean that same-sex couples are simply more sure of their decision to get married before taking the plunge.
Another explanation may have to do with the fact that same-sex couples often face more challenges than straight couples when it comes to getting married. In many parts of the world, same-sex marriage is still not legal. This means that same-sex couples often have to fight for their right to get married, which may make them more committed to making the marriage work in the long run. Although, this line of thinking does not explain why divorce rates are so much higher among lesbian couples.
Why Do Lesbian Couples Have the Highest Divorce Rates?
But why exactly are divorces so much more common among lesbian women than compared to gay men? There is no definitive answer, but one theory is that gay men may be more open to handling infidelity and cheating when compared to women. This is when taking into account that cheating or infidelity is listed as the number one reason for filing for divorce. Gay men may simply be more forgiving when it comes to infidelity or open relationships, which could lead to lower divorce rates.
Lisa Power, a co-founder of Stonewall, told The Economist her theory that the stereotype of lesbian couples moving quickly, or what is commonly known as “U-Hauling” might have something to do with the higher divorce rates. Power argues that the stereotype might lead to lesbian couples rushing into marriage without being truly ready for it. She noted that “We all used to move in with each other at the drop of a hat.”
Much of this is speculation though, and like all new trends, more research is needed to truly answer this question.
Whatever the reasons, it’s clear that gay marriage is here to stay and divorce rates for same-sex men are likely to continue to be lower than those of straight couples. So if you’re looking for a long-lasting marriage, it may be worth considering tying the knot with a same-sex partner.