Breaking up is hard to do: Women's experience of dissolving their same-sex relationship

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16 Scopus citations


While prior research has compared same-sex to heterosexual relationships, very little attention has been paid to the unique experiences of women dissolving same-sex relationships, especially in the context of shifting legal and social policies. The current study examined the experience of 20 women who dissolved their same-sex relationship between 2002 and 2014. Participants were drawn from a longitudinal sample of same-sex and heterosexual couples and were interviewed using a semi-structured protocol. Interviews focused on three primary research questions: reasons for dissolution, emotional reactions, and role of legal status. While reasons for dissolution largely mirrored literature on women in heterosexual relationships, emotional reactions and the role of legal status were both influenced by sexual minority-specific factors related to minority stress and the recent societal changes pertaining to legal relationship recognition. Results are interpreted in a framework of minority stress and the ongoing legacy of institutional discrimination experienced by women in same-sex relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-46
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Lesbian Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Lesbian relationships
  • divorce
  • minority stress
  • relationship dissolution
  • same-sex marriage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies


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