Gay Relationships, Straight Relationships

John Cloud writes with sometimes painful candor about the break-up of his seven-year relationship and explores the still-largely-unknown world of comparative studies of gay and straight marriages. There is so much we still don't know, and without the support of civil marriage, we're not dealing with apples and apples. But even now, there are some interesting findings:

Gottman, Levenson and their colleagues found that gays and lesbians who exhibit more tension during disagreements are more satisfied with their relationships than those who remain unruffled. For straight people, higher heart rates during squabbles were associated with lower relationship satisfaction. For gays and lesbians, it was just the opposite. Gays conduct their relationships as though they are acting out some cheesy pop song: You have to make my heart beat faster for me to love you. For gays, it is apathy that murders relationships, not tension. Straight people more often prefer a lento placidity.