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Thu Nov 29, 2012, 08:33 PM

Not quite sure how to frame this question.....

..but here goes.

When two people of the same gender decide to join together in a civil union, or marry, is it commonplace for each to assume specific duties and functions around their home and in their lives, as might be found in a heterosexual relationship?

There are two retired gay men (married) living near me, wonderful neighbors, etc., and each seems to have a role that's very much like what my wife and I have. For example, one tends to the yard work, the other does most of the cooking, decorating, and so forth.

My nephew, a really great guy, (mid 20's) just "announced" to his parents (staunch conservatives, BTW) that he is gay and living with a companion, and I was just wondering how it plays out in a gay relationship.

If I've said something that offends anyone here, it was not intentional. I'm just trying to understand a little more about gay relationships, and if they differ from what I'm accustomed to.

Thanks,
TCCH

edit: sp, one word

15 replies, 1253 views

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Response to TheCowsCameHome (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 08:37 PM

1. It depends on the couple

just like it often does with hetero couples.

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Response to TheCowsCameHome (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 08:38 PM

2. The roles depend on the people in the marriage.

Not the sex of the people in the marriage.

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Response to TheCowsCameHome (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 08:42 PM

3. In both my hetero world and in observing coupled same sex friends' roles...

I don't find many differences.

A man or a woman are pretty much equally likely to rule the checkbook and finances, or be the boss of the garden and/or interior remodeling decisions.

Similarly, the seem nearly equally as likely to be the determinant of child rearing and discipline.

There are, not surprisingly, many roles that we inherit from a gender based culture and educational heritage, such as who might be more likely to be handy with tools or know how to sew (damn I'm old).

But I have never seen any template apply so universally to hetero couples as to be able to draw conclusions or comparisons to same sex couples.

And, in fact, any observations about roles that I might be inclined to make I would apply equally to any couple regardless of gender makeup.

Opposites attract; division of labor makes more sense than competition; go with your strengths and support your partner's strengths, and others such as these.

JMHO.

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Response to TheCowsCameHome (Original post)

Thu Nov 29, 2012, 08:49 PM

4. Well... Here goes...

And this comes from my experience (disclaimer alert!).

Gay and lesbian couples have a distinctly interesting position thrust upon them by gender roles and the tasking out of jobs around the house. Traditional images of the man doing the yard work and the woman cooking and cleaning... the man taking care of the car(s) and the woman the children... are impossible (and frankly fairly outdated).

As with many straight couples, chores are frequently doled out based on three criteria... ability (especially when you're talking about things like cooking or fixing the car) or the desire to learn, interest and stimulation generated by the task, and simple necessity. That is if I (as a gay man) were dating someone or married to someone, we would fall into roles that best fit our skills rather than simply into stereotypical gender roles.

This reminds me of a quotation from the tv show American Dad, where the main character misguidedly kidnaps two children from their loving lesbian parents. He demands the older boy tell him who will teach him how to play football. To which the boy replies firmly, "my football coach".

In a real life example.... I am a very good cook. So generally I cook when I'm in a committed relationship, particularly if we're living together. Likewise, I'm very good with my hands too (ignore the peanut gallery's ohhs and ahhhs) and I generally work well around the house. I'm very good at problem solving those things even if I don't know exactly how it works... for instance a light socket that no longer worked. Whereas in the past, my boyfriend would take care of other tasks that he was good at. Like budgeting and scheduling, and since messes generally don't bother me... cleaning the dishes after dinner or generally cleaning the house. Personally I hate dealing with bills and utility companies and the like. So he would.

Then of course there are things neither of us like to do... like the trash or locating the cat when she gets outside. (You try catching an apeshit kitty!)

Generally there are roles that each partner falls into over time, but they aren't based off what is typically considered "mens work" or "women's work" a la the 1950's. It depends person to person and even relationship to relationship (that's not to say like we swap around like crazy but rather even the best intended relationships do sometimes fail.)

I hope that helps some!

EDIT TO ADD: Feel free to ask questions anytime by the way! Always happy to discuss!

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Response to TheCowsCameHome (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 06:46 AM

5. Not offensive at all.

If you don't know, ask!

To me, cooking, laundry, household budget, yard work, etc. is as second nature to me as waking up in the morning. They are things that need to be done so I do them and don't even think about them.

At the same time I'm not mechanically inclined, and I couldn't care less what makes things work (cars, vacuum cleaners, washing machines, etc.) so those are things best left for someone else.

I guess, as with any relationship, you go with your strengths.

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Response to LeftofObama (Reply #5)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 09:55 PM

10. Yep, I was gonna say the same thing - the question is not at all offensive.

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Response to TheCowsCameHome (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 10:21 AM

6. Not Applicable (goes beyond your question)

"Traditional" gender roles is a cultural bias that same sex couples have ALWAYS been at odds with and is why so many heterosexuals do not feel equality is deserved for LGBT couples.

In same sex relationships assumption of the existence of traditional gender roles is simply not applicable. Having said that by extension maintaining this cultural bias in general is inappropriate. It is another reason the Christian right is adamant towards crushing sames sex marriage as it destroys the significance of culturally maintained gender roles and inherent bias. (i.e. once gender roles are not required in a relationship's definition then women are free to not maintain existing "traditional" female roles and patriarchal dominance falls apart...which is a good thing btw.)

That is a tough concept to wrap around ones head...so before jumping to a conclusion mull it over for a few days....and think about how you look at and recognize couples...it might just change your life a little.

Concerning your nephew...these types of questions are best answered by accepting the relationship as you would any other. Get to know the couple and over time you will learn to see both aspects of your perception of gender roles play out and how unimportant they actually are in the scheme of things.

Then you will know why now it really isn't applicable to think of any relationship in terms of "traditional" gender roles.

So I suggest inviting your nephew and his partner to your next party or gathering and be a loving extended family...treat them like any other couple because that is what we are....

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Response to TheCowsCameHome (Original post)

Fri Nov 30, 2012, 06:50 PM

7. A valid question that is in no way offensive...I'm in a 24 year relationship....I do most

of the cooking because I like to cook-ditto shopping. Michael does vacuuming/dusting etc because I hate cleaning and he enjoys it. We both love gardening/yard work so we split it. He does most of the driving (I'm too aggressive for his taste and I don't mind at all). We split the laundry also. Neither of are particularly mechanically inclined, though he's better with carpentry stuff than I am.

I generally keep the TV remote control because....well, just because....

In other words, we both do what we enjoy and do well and it works for us. Neither of us are interested in accept a "feminine" role-why should we-we're into men.

Overall, I'd say our roles vary substantially from those I saw from my parents growing up. We have far more equality and are more concerned with treating each other well.

Congrats to your nephew for dealing with his sexuality and his family while he's still young-hope he has a good partner.

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Response to TheCowsCameHome (Original post)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 06:20 PM

8. Thank you to everyone that responded. Bless you all.

I sincerely appreciate your insight and replies. Your responses make perfect sense, and I applaud you for sharing them and living your lives to the fullest. My question was just something that I've wondered about from time to time. Perhaps it was the fact my nephew has come out that finally prompted me to ask.

As far a my nephew is concerned, I wish him all the happiness in the world with his partner, just as I always would have done.

TCCH

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Response to TheCowsCameHome (Reply #8)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 08:34 PM

9. +1000!

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Response to TheCowsCameHome (Reply #8)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 10:21 PM

11. Well, TCCH - it doesn't look too bright for your nephew according to the folks @AFA, FFC, FFI

FFFF, FRC, FRI and, of course, E-I-E-I-O - who all say that same sex relationships just don't last. So, my partner (of 31 years) are just waiting for the day when everything falls apart. Same with our best friends who have been together 29 years and another couple, only 23 years.
It's a crock and you know it by now and I wish your nephew every happiness.
I know things are changing (and very quickly it often seems) but when we were young, it was more difficult to celebrate our relationships outside of the gay community. There wasn't Will & Grace or Brokeback Mountain and the panoply of shows that have gay characters now. No, we were reviled for being something that we couldn't change and this always seemed such an irony to me. The straight community had it so easy - family, job security, community support and hated us for being gay. They, for the most part, were born on third and thought they hit a triple and had the audacity to BE MAD AT US, TO HATE US. We were never going to have children and yet, on top of that denial, we were reviled.
I didn't really mean to get off on this tirade - I really just want to wish your nephew happiness and the great fortune of having you for an uncle

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Response to TheCowsCameHome (Original post)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 10:30 PM

12. Not much different. After 40 years we have chores/interests each likes to do and

fortunately they complement each other. We function as two friends trying to make a go of life. Neither of us take any prescribed roles.

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Response to RKP5637 (Reply #12)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 08:40 AM

13. I'm in my late 60's now

and I'll be damned if I'd go through my life judging others. Life is too short - live it to the max.

Your signature line sums it up quite nicely.

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Response to TheCowsCameHome (Reply #13)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 09:15 AM

14. Thanks!!! I'm about the same age now, I still can't figure where all of

the years went ... so quickly. Yep, IMO too many go through life trying to make others 'just like them.' Life is very very short.

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Response to TheCowsCameHome (Original post)

Wed Dec 5, 2012, 09:38 AM

15. I love your username.

nt

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