The UK’s Independent newspaper reported some good news for gay couples today. According to a major study by the UK’s Open University, you’re likely to be happier and more positive about your relationships than straight couples.
On the other hand, there is still fear about disapproval from members of the public when displaying affection out in the open, such as at work or on public transport, even in relatively tolerant cities like London.
5,000 people were studied, with 50 detailed follow-up interviews that looked at the top ways of maintaining a happy relationship. ‘The simple things’ came up on top. Things like:
1. Saying thank you and noticing a partners achievements
2. Buying thoughtful gifts and showing kind gestures, like a cup of tea in bed
3. Talking and listings, regularly
4. Physical affection, with cuddles and foot massages featuring prominently
5. Sharing the household chores and/or child care
Dr Jacqui Gibb, co-author of the report, said: “Grand romantic gestures, although appreciated, don’t nurture a relationship as much as bringing your partner a cup of tea in bed or watching TV together.”
One of the gay couples involved in the study, Joe and Will from London, said:
“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.
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.”