Dynamics may be the same as the heterosexual couple, however the way same sex couples deal with is may be quite different.
Since I have 30 years plus of expertise on SSC here are some of my insights. A good number of my clients are same sex couples:
- Same sex parents may bring more talents to the table than straight parents.
Gay parents tend to be more motivated, more committed than heterosexual parents on average, because, they CHOSE to be parents.
Gays and lesbians rarely become parents by accident, compared with an almost 50 percent accidental pregnancy rate among heterosexuals. That translates to a greater commitment and more involvement.
- Kids may also have the advantage of open-mindedness, tolerance and role models for equitable relationships, according to my work.
There are hundreds of triggers in any stepfamily that can pave the way to divorce, if not addressed and normalized. For example rejection is a typical factor in the stepfamily. In my experience SSC have had to handle rejection for much of their lives and are more facile in dealing with it. But it may still haunt their union.
The cardinal issue is blood vs. sex. That is to say in the intact family the force of biological connection and the sexual connection are unified. In the stepfamily these powerful forces compete. Instead of the child being a blessing to the couple it is often an alien intrusion. This true for the straight couple as well.
The issue of who comes first-- the partner or the child -- further complicates this dilemma. The stumbling block may be assuaged by SSC because PLANING is generally more endemic to their survival.
These few generalities clearly do not apply to all same sex couples. There may be SSC as
cruel, wicked and dysfunctional as the worst heterosexual couple.
This is a fascinating and exciting new area of study. Stay tuned.
Author's note: There may be much for us to learn from SSC in step.
Please note: As part of our ongoing study we are interested in hearing from and
speaking with same sex couples in stepfamilies about their experiences and insights.
We are looking to film a lively roundtable discussion. All participants will get a copy.