63395

Terrible odds of mixed orientation marriages lasting

27 posts in this topic

I came across this article which reckons only 17% of marriages last over three years after a spouse comes out as gay or bisexual. 

I'm in a bi group and this seems to be accurate among the ladies I know, even those with husbands who were initially fantastically supportive. 

 I think the quality/happiness of a marriage should also be considered,  not just if you end up together or not.  Also, the divorce rate for heterosexual couples isn't zero, so one person being bi isn't ever the only factor in a divorce. 

 

Do do you think this is accurate? Do statistics like these even matter? 

 

According to the Straight Spouse Network, it is estimated that there are up to 2 million mixed orientation couples. According to Amity Buxton of the Straight Spouse Network, "When the gay, lesbian, or bisexual spouse comes out, a third of the couples break up immediately; another third stay together for one to two years, sorting out what to do and then divorce; the remaining third try to make their marriages work. A half of these couples divorce, while half of them (17% of the total) stay together for three or more years."

The Family Pride Coalition compiled the following statistics:

  • 20 percent of all gay men in America are in a heterosexual marriage.
  • 50 percent of all gay men in America have fathered children.
 
  • 40 percent of all lesbians in America are married to a male partner.

  • 75 percent of all lesbians have children.

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Wow.  That seems crazy to me.  I haven’t looked into statistics but I know quite a number of bi people in long term marriages.  I don’t know any couples that have broken up because of that. 

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Wow is right @Lael

Those statistics are interesting. It is hard to believe....I am wondering if this study is similar to studies that only publish the results and draw correlations, rather than giving the full picture.   So for example: this study might merely be looking at a sample of people who divorced,  but not looking at why.   Bisexuality might have had nothing to do with why a percentage of those couples spit.

However, the second study you cited seems to support the first in some ways.   I would imagine many of us in the LGBTQ community DO marry into  traditional, heterosexual, marriages partially because that is what is most widely socially acceptable.  It seems logical that would inevitably put strain on a relationship... which may result in an increased number of gay/lesbian/bisexual individuals in divorce situations.

 Hope that makes sense. ... my brain is scrambled from work today :blink:

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Thanks for sharing @63395

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For America, the interracial stats are probably right, I've seen a lot more mixed relationships there come to end in ways that partnerships of the same race did not, different tensions, cultural refs and stituations that are less of an issue in other areas. So globally, I don't agree and we have to accept this is mostly a subsection of the generation above my own or more parents, considering I'm under thirty.

I've only ever had mixed relationships. So for me the data is rather strange to look at. I'm not surprised though, there's all sorts of factors from etiquette, lifestyle, economic, that can be vastly different by race - even if you took two people who at a glance would be considered the same class, there can sometimes be a sea between you when you really start looking deeper. These issues are a different beast in the US where race is still a hot civil topic and in my opinion there is still an air of needing to identify your race, even several generations in because of everything that came before and still exists to this day. 

I'm the product of an interracial marriage, I grew up in both diverse and traditional parts of the world, the one thing we have to accept is that as time moves on, even a decade from now there is going to be more of a melting pot and higher rates of interracial marriage. I see how the strains and fractures aren't easy to identify or dealt, so when you add in the LGBTQ spectrum, perhaps it's not that strange after all.

The other stats, the lesbians being married to men, I would of put that much higher, I think it is, it doesn't include bisexuality, which we all know is far more common than you think once you're aware, take this site for example. The stat of gay men having children seems high, but perhaps there are more men identifying as gay in or having had hetero-relations and moving on now, which is comforting. Lesbians with children is in line with what I've seen. Gay men are more likely to leave a marriage than a woman, I would have expected even larger gap.

Married in the second study, doesn't account for seperations or those still cohabiting in less than stellar circumstances, in the process of ending a relationship /even thinking of it due to a desire to pursue same-sex relations in future. 

A few sweeping observations - people in other parts of the world seperate far sooner than in the US. Also if co-parenting happens at least in Europe after the failure of marriage more couples tend to try to move on and their children tend to know. Co-parenting seems much more common in the US, I'll go as far as to say it's a trend - it's almost like another stage for a divorcing couple to try out before actually getting round to it.

That's not me trying to be rude, in lots of cases it works but it's also a strange way for a couple to live without their children's knowledge and children regardless of age are perspective. 

Also it seems much easier on the surface to seperate if your partner is gay/lesbian than bi because they're honestly saying they're not really interested in the physical aspects on offer even if they're emotionally connected to you. Bisexual doesn't mean that's off the cards in all cases, it also might make the hetero partner feel optimistic about your future, there's also denial, ignorance etc - after all, if you're still attracted to their gender/them, it's fine, right?!

We can't be certain of the validity of the samples in the first place given that these are only people who reach out to these groups and networks etc and you've got to wonder if things aren't skewed due to the nature of funding and image, I'm not suggesting it's true.. it's unlikely, but a snapshot cannot account for everything. There's certainly hope for the future on all fronts, but there's always going to be the undercurrent and perceived shackles of society that some would rather live within unhappily than be casted outside of.

Edited by Hungry
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3 hours ago, 63395 said:

Do do you think this is accurate? Do statistics like these even matter? 

Statistics can only be accurate and matter if they are reliable. It can be misleading when done inappropriately. I should be able to know first the source of the raw data, how the indicators are selected, how the variables are compared, or to simplify things if the study itself is peer reviewed, before it makes any sense to me. 

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6 minutes ago, blueberry said:

Statistics can only be accurate and matter if they are reliable. It can be misleading when done inappropriately. I should be able to know first the source of the raw data, how the indicators are selected, how the variables are compared, or to simplify things if the study itself is peer reviewed, before it makes any sense to me. 

Agreed. I could of just written that! :P

Edited by Hungry
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3 minutes ago, Hungry said:

Agreed. I could of just written that! :P

Oh, @Hungry. You've covered everything in a snap. :O 

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8 minutes ago, blueberry said:

Oh, @Hungry. You've covered everything in a snap. :O 

In long-winded paragraphs, but what can I say. I do try :D 

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5 minutes ago, Hungry said:

In long-winded paragraphs...

Exactly. My head hurts. :blink: 

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Just now, blueberry said:

Exactly. My head hurts. :blink: 

Apologies. At least I made paragraphs though. Maybe try one of those injury-claim lawyers and see if you can make a case? :P 

 From first glance and gut reaction something is off with the stats. Or the other option is I'm cynical, require more information and am basing my novel on personal experiences/geography, but none of it matters anyway. They'll always be people who cite their marriage ended because or they remained marriage for XYZ. Fact is, as far as I know you've got one life and you live it how you wish, it's just sometimes people become so caught up and bogged down by life, they forget they have choices...

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I think that there's a key element to this that is missing - this statistic seems to be specifically about marriages where the not-straight partner came out after they were already married. And that, in itself, implies that the relationship may have deeper issues than just the person's sexuality, like mistrust or lack of self-awareness/self-acceptance.

I know an awful lot of bi people in stable, long-term, heterosexual relationships where everyone knew about the bi part from early on.

I'd also be curious to know what percentage of marriages where the person came out as bisexual break up vs. where the person came out as gay, since one implies an inherent incompatibility, while the other doesn't.

Edited by moonbynight
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2 hours ago, moonbynight said:

I think that there's a key element to this that is missing - this statistic seems to be specifically about marriages where the not-straight partner came out after they were already married. And that, in itself, implies that the relationship may have deeper issues than just the person's sexuality, like mistrust or lack of self-awareness/self-acceptance.

I know an awful lot of bi people in stable, long-term, heterosexual relationships where everyone knew about the bi part from early on.

I'd also be curious to know what percentage of marriages of marriages where the person came out as bisexual break up vs. where the person came out as gay, since one implies an inherent incompatibility, while the other doesn't.

That was my first reaction too. I mentioned it to my boyfriend and his reaction was, "but we knew from the start so it's not really applicable."

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@blueberry, you are right.  This seems to be an observation from the SSN (straight spouse network), not a scientific study. They encourage the straight spouse to take care of themself emotionally, financially and medically. 

 

The other online support group, MMOMW (making mixed orientation marriages work) probably has different experience, as the name suggests. 

Lots of SSN people seem to have started out in MMOMW  

I also think maybe women are more likely to divorce a gay/bi husband than men divorcing a bi wife. 

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Therefore it is rather a speculation with a hint of certain agenda as far as I can see. Sadly this kind of information can potentially put a healthy relationship at risk of doubting and concluding a predestined doom in their relationship..

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Constantly fretting about ways in which your relationship may be threatened will in and of itself put strain on it. Communication is important of course, but you should be talking about positive things as well, not just potential problems.

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1 hour ago, ChemFem said:

Constantly fretting about ways in which your relationship may be threatened will in and of itself put strain on it. Communication is important of course, but you should be talking about positive things as well, not just potential problems.

Well said, @ChemFem

I use this sort of information, as well as what I see among my bi friends, as justification to not tell my husband I'm bi. I have an intuitive feeling that my marriage wouldn't last if I did, and I definitely want it to. Obviously this only applies to me because everyone's marriage is different. 

Ive been attracted to women for five years. Overall they've been great years of marriage, and we definitely do talk about positive things. I feel like my choice has been the best decision for everyone in my family including myself. 

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I'd like to see the full research design and data sets for this. That is of course if it was even a robust and proper study.

Always be wary of how statistics from even well conducted studies can be used for an agenda too - especially for media purposes. Reminds me of some words of wisdom from one of my old uni lecturers... "Journalists use statistics like a drunk uses a streetlamp - for support rather than illumination" lol 

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Love that quote @ThatsNoMoon

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1 minute ago, Kailee said:

Love that quote @ThatsNoMoon

It's always stuck with me that one 

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Straight Spouse Network has, in all I've heard over many years, a bit of a track record like this - particularly for rubbishing bisexuality and spreading the myth that bi is just a 'stopping off' point on the way to gay.

It's a bit like going to the local Tea Party candidate and expecting a balanced lecture about the pros and cons of taxes.

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I know someone from high school who has been openly bi since a teen-- she's been with her boyfriend for 3 years and was initially honest about that. They're basically swingers because she still has the attraction to women. She tells me they're both happy with the situation, but that it takes 100% trust and honesty. 

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I didn’t really come out to my husband, he was there and discovered/witnessed it with me. So there was never a point I had to tell him. It’s been 4.5 years since that happened. I have a girlfriend and she has a husband as well. My husband and I have been married for 11 years almost and things are still really good btw us. I’m sure this maybe true for some but definitely not all. 

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This is a sidelight to this topic...

I've never been in a heterosexual marriage, but I've known many bi, lesbian and gay people who are or have been, and among those people I've noticed a distinct difference in the way women approach the matter of their sexuality as opposed to the way men approach it. Generally, there seems to be much more truthfulness among women in this regard, so that when they start coming to terms with their bisexualty or lesbianism in their own mind, they feel compelled to come out to their husband, whereas men tend to be much more secretive about it, often never coming out to their wife, and are also more sexually active with same-sex partners (secretly) in the context of their marriage.

The gay dating app Grindr is absolutely heaving with 'hetero' married men looking for quick/casual hook-ups with other men, and over the years I have heard from quite a few guys that their most recent liaison's wife has absolutely no idea that he's gay and having sex with other men. But women tend to be pretty perceptive beings, and unless they are in total denial, usually have some idea about their husband's true sexuality, so I wonder just how much those women are turning a blind eye in the interest of maintaining their marriage (especially if they have children), or if they actually have no idea whatsoever about what's really going on. It's also more common for men to conduct illicit affairs in general, especially with women, and some of those are long-term, without their wife's knowledge or consent, and include children outside of their marriage (we've all heard the one about the guy who has a secret second family - it's not just an urban myth). 

So, it appears that men are much more prone to deception to get what they want (a wife/family, and the attendant societal approval, plus external sexual/romantic partners) and are 'having their cake and eating it too' far more often than women, with regard to both homosexual and heterosexual casual sex and relationships outside of their marriage...while women hold themselves to a higher moral standard, and also prefer to be open with their husband out of respect for him, and in the interest of the quality of the relationship (not just because they disapprove of deception and untruthfulness, but because they want to share who they really are with the person they are married to and presumably love). 

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I’m bi and we’ve been together for 12 years and he’s known since the beginning! There is hope! Xx

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