Same-sex couples are particularly awesome at communication, according to new research.

There's a lot to learn about same-sex relationships. So why is there almost no research?

One of the most important elements of a healthy relationship is the ability to communicate well.

It's hard to have a happy long-term relationship without figuring out how to talk (and, yes, fight) in productive, healthy ways. In fact, research has shown that communicating effectively and openly is one of the key determinants of a stable, satisfying relationship. Almost half of divorced people say they plan to change how they communicate with their partner in their next relationship.


Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images.

Some research shows that same-sex couples are particularly awesome at talking it out.

That's something that Dr. Megan Robins picked up on when she was doing her dissertation research on couples coping with breast cancer diagnoses. Most of the couples in her study were heterosexual and of mixed genders, but the study also included seven lesbian couples.

"They [the same-sex couples] had this qualitatively more positive feel to them than the opposite-sex couples," Dr. Robbins said in an interview. "It was only my impression, so I wasn't coming to any scientific conclusion, but they did seem to laugh together more, to be a little bit closer and more positive."

There was a problem, though: Robbins couldn't find much other research on same-sex marriages.

"When I looked for background literature on same-sex couples, I came up really short. There was almost nothing there," Dr. Robbins said. "There are certainly notable studies on same-sex couples out there, but we're talking thousands of articles on opposite-sex couples compared to a handful on same-sex couples."

Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images.

One of those "notable" studies she's talking about is one of the only other studies out there on same-sex relationships and happiness. It's a survey conducted by the Families and Work Institute and PriceWaterhouseCoopers, which found that gay couples don't really pay attention to gender roles when they're splitting up chores, and they're better at communicating openly.

According to the study, people in same-sex relationships also tend to be better at fighting fair and at resolving conflicts well. They have more positive relationships, on average, likely because they treat each other more like equals and care less about adhering to gender stereotypes.

Researchers drew these important conclusions from a really small body of evidence, so there's a lot more to learn.

That's where Dr. Robbins' new project comes into play. She's launching a study that looks at LGBTQ and straight couples and their day-to-day interactions.

"The focus of this study is how these couples can support — and maybe in some cases hinder — each other's health behaviors, things like smoking, drinking, and exercising. We know a lot about how heterosexual couples do this and what strategies work for them, but we know very little about how this information applies to same-sex couples," she said.

I'm hoping this study is one of many more to come because it's hugely important.

Often doctors and public health professionals aren't trained to address the health issues of the LGBTQ demographic; they may ask the wrong questions, give bad advice, or say really insensitive things.

Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images.

"LGBTQ people are at-risk [health-wise] in the first place, and we don't know how to target them better, as far as couples go. I'm hoping that this information will help people to tailor interventions geared at improving health behaviors down the line," Dr. Robbins said.

More

We all know that social media can be a cesspool of trolly negativity, but sometimes a story comes along that totally restores your faith in the whole thing. Enter the KFC proposal that started off being mocked and ended up with a swarm of support from individuals and companies who united to give the couple an experience to remember.

Facebook user Tae Spears shared the story with screenshots from Twitter, and the response has been overwhelming.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via Twitter / ESPN

Madison Square Garden in New York City is known for having hosted some legendary performances. George Harrison's Concert for Bangladesh in '71, Billy Joel's 12 sellouts in '06, and Carmelo Anthony's 62 points in a 2014 victory against the Charlotte Bobcats, just to name a few.

But it's hard to imagine one person holding the legendary arena in the palm of their hand quite like Pete DuPré, better known as "Harmonica Pete," did on Veterans Day.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Many of us are too young to remember the hijacking of Pan Am Flight 73 of 1986, much less any details about it. But thanks to a viral Facebook post from Misfit History, some attention is being shed on an incredible heroine who saved many American lives in the standoff.

The post reads:

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via Thomas Benjamin Wild Esq. / YouTube

Whenever life becomes too tedious or stressful, it seems that the human psyche has a release valve that turns on and we just go, "F it."

I give up. I no longer care. I got nothing left.

It's a wonderful moment when we go from being at our wits end to being on the other side of the madness. Because, after all, as Mark Manson, author of "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck" says:

You and everyone you know are going to be dead soon. And in the short amount of time between here and there, you have a limited amount of fucks to give. Very few, in fact.
Keep Reading Show less
popular