While the world and our current society have come a long way in regard to LGBTQ rights and acceptance. With same-sex marriage legalized nation-wide and more rights for the transgendered community, coupled with increased awareness, now is the best time in history to be out and proud. However, the continued social stigma this community faces continues to put them at a severe disadvantage when it comes to relationship challenges. In today’s post, we will discuss just a few of the challenges that same-sex partners experience.
Intimate Partner Violence
Unfortunately, intimate partner violence people from all walks of life. No race, ethnicity, orientation, religious or political affiliation, or socioeconomic status is spared. However, data does suggest that lesbian and bisexual women and bisexual men, as well as transgendered persons, are at a disproportionate risk of being subject to physical and sexual violence by their partners. In fact, nearly 67% of bisexual women and 70% of transgendered persons admit to having suffered some form of intimate partner violence as compared to 26% of their heterosexual counterparts.
Intimate partner violence can cause a host of mental health problems during the relationship and for many years afterward. Sometimes couples counseling can help a couple overcome emotional abuse. In other situations, trauma counseling may be required to move beyond the abuse.
Family Building Struggles
Same-sex couples encounter disproportionate rates of infertility and difficulties with adoption than their heterosexual counterparts. These challenges, as well as child loss, can have a much bigger negative impact on the relationship as well as the mental health of each partner because conception is typically a much longer process and the rates of success are not as high to begin with. Grief counseling, family counseling, and individual counseling may help ease these struggles in same-sex relationships.
Interpersonal Relationship Difficulties
One thing you may be surprised not to see on this list is divorce. While divorce rates across the nation suggest that 36% of marriages will end in divorce, lesbian couple divorce rates are closer to 30% while only 15% of gay marriages result in divorce. That does not mean that every homosexual marriage is a happy one. All relationships take work and compromise and couples therapy can be an invaluable tool for any relationship.
Over the last decade, decreased social stigma surrounding “coming out” and living individual lives regardless of familial expectations has improved. However, for many LGBTQ community members, their families may still have a difficult time accepting their identification and coming out may cause a strain on relationships. Subsequent marriage and family building can cause further familial distancing causing grief or depression. Family counseling can help tremendously.
Dr. Beth Firestein at Innersource of Loveland has decades of counseling experience, specializing in same-sex issues and couples counseling. Whether your relationship is experiencing tough waters or smooth sailing, regular counseling can help foster healthy relationships and a healthier individual. Contact us to schedule your initial assessment today.