Whether you’re in a lesbian or straight relationship, getting into disagreements from time to time with your partner is normal. Being able to fight well can be a sign of a healthy relationship if both parties are brought closer once the argument is resolved.
But how do lesbian couples differ from straight couples when it comes to arguing?
It’s important to note that differences in how couples argue stem largely from individual personalities and how we approach/resolve conflict rather than from sexual orientation.
Throughout all of my relationships with women, the types of arguments I’ve had with each person were all very different from one another even though we were all women.
This is to say that there’s definitely a lot of variety out there–no two relationships or two lesbians are the same.
While we can’t speak for all couples, both Chia and I have had relationships with women and previously with men (before we came out).
Here’s our take on how lesbian and straight couples differ when it comes to arguments.
Ways lesbian and straight couples' arguments are different:
1. It’s easier for us (lesbians) to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes.
If men are from Mars and women from Venus then, in lesbian relationships, at least both women are from the same planet. This means that it’s easier for lesbians to be more attuned to their partner’s emotions. During an argument, we can often read between the lines and understand nuanced body language and adjust in real-time to diffuse a situation.
Similarly, if it’s that time of the month and I’m feeling particularly grumpy or crampy, Chia can understand how my hormones might be in flux and be more forgiving about certain things because she’s experienced this herself as well.
2. The topics we argue about are different.
While there is a lot of overlap between the types of things gay and straight couples experience, naturally, same-sex couples have unique obstacles that they have to overcome together. This can lead to arguments that are unique to gay and lesbian couples.
For example, when I was in my first relationship with a girl back in high school, she was much more open about being gay than I was willing to be at the time. I wanted to keep our relationship a secret because my family dynamics and priorities at the time were different than hers. I simply wasn’t ready to live my life out of the closet yet, and I can’t stress enough how you should never feel pressured to come out when you’re not ready.
So unsurprisingly, we would often argue about this topic. I would feel like she was deliberately breaching my trust by telling others about our relationship.
For straight couples, neither party has to “come out” as part of telling others about their relationship.
Similarly, if a lesbian couple decides to have kids, discussing the logistics and who (if either) wants to carry the child and how to make it happen (finding a sperm donor, etc.) is definitely a topic that can lead to disagreements. For a straight couple, deciding how to have a baby is generally a nonissue.
3. There’s less adherence to a strict gender role structure so both parties tend to be on more equal footing during arguments.
In gay relationships, both parties are less likely to feel pressure to adhere to strict traditional gender roles (i.e. who is the “wife” or “girl” in the relationship) and as a result, we tend to argue less about things that result from these gender role expectations.
For example, Chia and I do all of our chores together—there’s no default person when it comes to who always does the cooking, dishes, laundry, cleaning, etc. This type of equality is one of the things I love about our relationship.
From a purely anecdotal perspective, most of our straight friends tend to have arguments that stem from mismatched expectations in their relationships (e.g., “he forgot my birthday”, “she overreacted”, etc.). While everyone can learn and become better partners especially during arguments, in our experience, lesbian couples may start with more commonality.
Ways lesbian and straight couples' arguments are the same:
1. It typically stems from a miscommunication or an underlying issue that hasn’t been resolved.
All couples fight over universal things like finances, romance, infidelity, pet peeves, whose family to spend the holidays with, the tone of one’s voice when arguing, etc. If these underlying issues don’t get resolved, then they'll likely manifest into new arguments each time that can be triggered by the smallest things.
For instance, if Chia and I get into an argument about something seemingly small like making the bed each morning, once I dive into the underlying reason of why a messy bed upsets her, I’ll find that it stems from wanting a clean and organized home which helps her feel the most productive at work. Knowing this helps me understand how small actions I take can reduce her stress.
2. One person usually has to be the bigger person and make a peace offering first.
When both parties are done simmering over the argument, usually one person will have to initiate the first round of apologies. In a healthy relationship, this burden should equal out over time (you never want one person to always take the blame).
Even though I’m typically someone who needs more time to process and reflect after an argument than Chia does—which means it might take me longer to make a peace offering—I’m able to still admit whenever I’ve made a mistake and could've done better to prevent or resolve our argument.
3. Humor and civility go a long way in dissolving the tension.
Treating the other person with kindness and respect and being able to laugh together afterward at the silliness of your arguments is the foundation of a healthy relationship. When you look at the most successful and happy couples, they’re usually the ones who treat each other with respect, never call the other person names, and don’t hold grudges after arguments.
At the end of the day, regardless of what type of relationship you’re in–lesbian, gay, or straight, we all want to feel heard, understood, and loved by our partners.
Similarly, there are universal red flags to look out for in every relationship. If you find yourself constantly having the same arguments with your partner without feeling like you’re getting closer to understanding each other, or they constantly use disrespectful and demeaning language towards you, it might be time to do a deeper reflection on your relationship.
For tips on resolving arguments effectively, check out our post here about the dos and don’ts of arguing with your partner.
Lastly, throughout all of my relationships, I’ve learned that the most important thing you can do to reduce the number of arguments and have a happy relationship is to choose the right life partner.
When you find the right life partner who you’re compatible with, communication naturally becomes easier and your arguments get resolved more easily. When you’re with the wrong life partner, the opposite is true.
Other Posts You Might Like:
- How to Pick the Right Life Partner
- 5 Dos and Don’ts of Resolving an Argument
- 10 Long Distance Relationship Tips