Gay and Lesbian Couples: Voices from Lasting Relationships

By Bernard A. O'Brien; Eileen F. Mackey et al. | Go to book overview

5
Conflict

If something pissed me off, I said it. And she had trouble with that.

In these relationships, as in any relationship that lasts, conflict emerged from differences between partners. Given the high levels of complementarity in role behaviors, conflict was inevitable. States of interpersonal disharmony were manifested in several forms as relationships evolved during the early, middle, and recent years.

Our challenge was to assess the severity of conflict. A distinction was made between minimal and major conflict on the basis of how partners perceived the severity of problems, tensions, and differences between them. If respondents described conflict as highly distressing and having significant disruptive effects on their relationships, the conflict was considered major. If differences did not have these effects on a respondent and the relationship, the conflicts were considered minor.

An example of major conflict was taken from an interview in which Esther described how different her partner and she were. Their relationship has lasted sixteen years. Differences were contained at tolerable levels throughout their early years together. During the middle years, one partner became obsessed with another woman and described the major disruption that occured:

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Gay and Lesbian Couples: Voices from Lasting Relationships
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Figures xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - Roles 21
  • 3 - Relational Fit 43
  • 4 - Decision Making 67
  • 5 - Conflict 93
  • 6 - Intimacy 119
  • 7 - Social Supports 139
  • 8 - Relationships Are Relationships 157
  • Appendix A: Methodology 177
  • Appendix B: Interview Guide 181
  • Bibliography 187
  • Index 199
  • About the Authors 203
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