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Study finds female same-sex couples have highest breakup rates

With the emergence of same-sex marriage in Maryland and nationwide, social scientists have asked whether differences exist among female-female, male-male and male-female marriages. A newly published study based on data from 515 couples collected between 2002 to 2014 found that female-female couples had the highest chance of terminating their relationships. Male-male couples broke up at the lowest rates, and the percentages of heterosexual couples splitting up fell in the middle.

Among the study subjects, 29.3 percent of the female-female couples ended their relationships compared to 18.6 percent of heterosexual couples and 14.5 percent of male-male couples. The women's studies professor who authored the study said that the high rate of relationship dissolution for female-female couples might be explained by the high standards that women set for their relationships. Previous studies that only looked at heterosexual couples showed that relationship quality mattered more to women.

In the 12-year study, researchers identified factors that reduced the chances of a breakup between female partners. Every year two women stayed together lowered their chance of splitting by 13 percent. Higher education produced a 16 percent reduction in relationship termination. Age mattered as well with every additional year lowering breakup odds by 4 percent. These factors also insulated male-male and heterosexual couples from going separate ways.

When a person wants to end a relationship, legal advice might prove helpful. An attorney may inform the person about rights to portions of shared property. If children are present, an attorney may explain how to pursue child custody. Legal representation might buffer a person from difficult emotions during negotiations about dividing property and choosing a custody schedule. The services of an attorney may also include writing the necessary agreements and court petitions to complete the divorce or same-sex separation.

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