Relationships Are Relationships
It's too bad that people, when they talk about homosexuals, just think about the sex act, when it's really a relationship . . . it's the caring, the feeling, the understanding that we have for one another.
The title of this final chapter and the quotation above speak to the heart of our findings. Because the data upon which this book was based were part of our research on adult relationships that last ( Mackey and O'Bien 1995), we had the unusual opportunity to compare same-sex and heterosexual relationships. This chapter explores heterosexual and same-sex data about roles, relational fit, conflict including its management, decision making, and sexual and psychological intimacy.
The instrument of data collection was essentially the same for all our studies. While the time frames for our studies of heterosexual and same-sex couples were somewhat different, they were similar enough for developing an understanding of how committed relationships evolved over the years. That data permitted us to get a glimpse of the similarities and differences in these relationships during early, middle, and recent years.
Although we were reasonably successful in matching heterosexual couples with same-sex couples by educational level and religious back-