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Study: Same-Sex Couples Happier, Less Publicly Affectionate

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Tuesday Jan 14, 2014

A new British study found that same-sex couples are more likely to be happier and more positive about their relationships than their straight counterparts, but are less likely to be openly affectionate towards each other, the British newspaper the Independent reports.

The study, conducted by the Open University, published Tuesday found that same-sex couples are less likely to hold hands in public and show other displays of affection because they fear disapproval.

The study surveyed 5,000 people (50 of those people later followed up with in-depth interviews) and aimed to find out how modern couples handled their relationships throughout their lives. The data revealed most couples found it more intimate when a partner brought the other a cup of tea in the morning, rather than saying, "I love you" to them.

"LGBQ participants (lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer) are more generally positive about and happier with the quality of their relationship and the relationship which they have with their partner," the research says. "Heterosexual parents are the group least likely to be there for each other, to make 'couple time', to pursue shared interests, to say 'I love you' and to talk openly to one another."

The study went on to say, "Public/private boundaries of 'couple display' remain fraught. Many LGBQ couples, especially the younger ones, say they would not hold hands in public for fear of reprisal." The study also found couples without children were more likely to be happier than couples with kids.

The Independent cites a 26-year-old man from London named Joe, who has been in a relationship with his partner for four years. Joe says he agrees with the study.

"Although I've never received physical or face-to-face abuse, I am very aware of stares and raised eyebrows when holding my partner's hand. It took us a while to have the confidence to hold hands and kiss on the lips in public, for example when saying goodbye to each other," he told the newspaper. "We spent a year saying our goodbyes at home in the morning rather than on the Tube, despite us both travelling in together, out of fear of potential disapproving looks or abuse. I know in London it's probably much easier than other parts of the UK, or other countries around the world, but I don't think we'll ever feel 100 per cent comfortable in public as a couple."


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