Our friends get to know us for who we are . . . that's supportive.
While mutual support between partners nourished self-esteem and contributed significantly to relational stability, acceptance and help from others was important to individuals and couples. First, we explored how respondents perceived their families and the families of their partners as sources of support. They were asked how parents, brothers, and sisters reacted upon hearing of their sexual orientations and their relationships with partners. We also explored the significance of the reactions of family members to their relationships over the years. A second potential source of social support was religion, so we inquired about its significance to their relationships. As 68 percent of respondents had been in psychotherapy, which was usually focused on relational issues with partners, we asked them to talk about the effects of therapy on relationships, a third source of support. A fourth area of inquiry were the friends of respondents, which included their involvement in gay and lesbian organizations.