How do emotional dynamics in same-sex relationships differ from those in hetero ones?

I’m looking for personal experiences here, and I wasn’t sure whether IMHO or MSPIMs was msot appropriate. I flipped a coin and Mundania lost.

I’m not looking for tales of how the sex is different. But for those of who who have had long-term relationships of both sorts, how would you say the dynamics differ?

Timely thread. Two words: “Dyke drama”

My partner and I are very much in love, but a couple of days every month … eesh.

I don’t think it’s possible to generalize any more than with hetero relationships. The only real problems we ever had were from trying to live together; we were the ultimate “odd couple.” We solved that problem by living next door to each other.

We have very different personalities in so many ways, yet we’re very complementary. I’m basically sedentary, and can be doing my art or computer work for hours at a time. He can’t stand still for more than five minutes. This is all a good thing for the relationship, since I provide the anchor and he provides the energy.

I’ve known gay couples where the two people were almost clones of each other and it worked for them. The last thing I’d want would be someone just like me.

Bit of background… I didn’t cross the path to lesbianism til I was 29, by which time I’d been married (and divorced), so I have a fair perspective of the differences.

I would say that my experience of going out with other women is that, for want of a better word, it’s more ‘intense’. We’re much better at communicating with each other, have many more interests, wants and desires in common and provide each other with more emotional support. The flip side, as Wallflower hints at, is that it’s also much more emotionally draining. My girlfriend and I are much more demanding on each other than any of my experiences of going out with men.

‘Dyke Drama’ is a very real phenomenon.

Would there be differences linked to not having those clear mental pictures of “what’s expected”? Growing up I was lucky to move between three different locations and see that teenagers in each place had very clear expectations about how boys and girls were supposed to behave, people in each place thought “that’s the way it is (everywhere)”, and the expectations changed from place to place… and that’s three locations in the same country, two of them in the same province! Of course, change countries and the assumptions don’t so much change as get tossed out a window. Navigating those assumptions is a pain.

Are there “predefined roles” in same-sex relationships, and are they linked to other labels (like butch/fem, etc.)?

Hi Nava, I think there are, in my experience, a small minority of relationships where role play takes a central focus. I’ve certainly heard it said many times, for instance, that the butch/femme relationship is pretty well established in the US (and I had a friend who moved from London to Washington and struggled on the ‘scene’ because she fitted neither the femme nor butch role and was clearly told on many occasions ‘we don’t really get you here’ for that precise reason).

In London, this idea that one half of the partnership will fulfil a specific role (e.g. the male) is actually pretty rare, although I think people outside of the scene probably think it’s more common than it actually is, if only because butch/femme couples stand out so obviously.

It’s a little different if you date a ‘straight’ girl, as they sort of expect you to fulfil the role of boyfriend (my ex always made me carry the heavy bag, for instance, even though we were the same size), but genuine lesbians tend to be more independent and share traditional male/female roles within a relationships pretty interchangeably (by that I mean cooking/cleaning/hanging bookshelves/mowing the lawn etc).

I wasn’t looking for generalizations so much as personal accounts. Hence the placement of the thread hereabouts rather than in IMHO.

People are people, regardless of sexual orientation. No doubt the full gamut of human response, dysfunction and neuroses can be found in gay couples as well as heteros. Not being gay, I have no idea–just a WAG on my part.
I suppose if one partner has not “come out” to his family or friends etc, that may well be a unique source of stress, but what exactly are you expecting? Why would the emotional dynamics be any different (in any appreciable way)?