Are queer women better at break-ups?
We’ve all been there.
We’re playing that same cathartic ballad on repeat, finding ourselves crying inconsolably over one of their stray socks and ruining every strand of hair in sight under the guise of “self-improvement.”
You’ve guessed it: it’s that blessed heartbreak feeling.
While it might not feel like the greatest experience at the time, it appears that some of us queers have it easier than others.
First of all, we turned to a relationship expert to ask what she thought.
“I think women dating women tend to be better at break ups because women tend to have a greater emotional intelligence than men, even if it is culturally determined and slowly changing, and because they are free from the kinds of egotistical power games that dominate heterosexual couplings and the need to save face at the end of a relationship,” said author of The Curious History of Dating Nichi Hodgson.
“That doesn’t mean they are free from drama – it just means they are more likely to be in touch with their feelings so more likely to speak freely about their emotions which can help massively when getting someone to understand why something isn’t working for them.”
“Particularly around breakups, queer folks are much more likely to stay friends, or connected in community in some way,” said Berkeley-based psychotherapist Jennifer Vera, who specializes in working with LGBTQ clients. “I’ve seen this across gender lines, but I’m most familiar with it among queer women.”
Queer woman Kat Grayston believes that it’s not a case of emotional intelligence that separates queer women from the pack.
She believes that as relationships are built on the foundation of friendships they are less “messy.”
“I would agree that it’s true that a lot more queer women remain pals with their exes unless it was a particularly messy break up and I think because typically most queer gal relationships are built on a foundation of friendship rather than hetero relationships which seem to immediately begin with romantic/sexual encounters,” Kat Grayston who identifies as queer woman told PinkNews.
For Amy, who identifies as a lesbian, that solid friendship is the basis of the entire community.
And as it’s been such a fight for LGBT+ women to carve out their own space, queer women have had to actively carve out a space for their relationships.
“Obviously we can only ever be speaking generally as no one can speak on behalf of every person’s relationship – and every relationship is unique – but I do imagine the queer community generally would be better at break ups,” said Amy, who identifies as a lesbian.
“As queer people, we have a sense of community and often have to be more in tune with our feelings because we’ve had to learn to navigate a heteronormative world and carve out a space for our queer selves and queer relationships.
However, it’s not always easy to carry out a relationship in a somewhat hostile environment, she argues.
“That said, I think LGBTQ people often go through tougher relationship challenges and breakups because we have to deal with so many issues straight people would never be forced to think about, like coming out, harrassment on the street for being queer, not being able to access safe spaces, and so on,” she told PinkNews.
So sometimes those issues in themselves can lead to breakups if a person finds it too much to handle – definitely I’ve had that experience where someone has broken up with me because they’re not ready to deal with being out or aren’t comfortable enough to openly date a woman,” she added.
Lesbian Cydney Yates believes that the size of the community also plays a key role.
“I think a lot of queer women are more likely to remain friends simply because it’s such a struggle to find other queer women. Maybe we’re looking for solidarity, so we can look past any bad feelings,” media worker and lesbian Cydney Yates told PinkNews.
“I’ve been in a similar situation, although it wasn’t a full blown relationship. I dated a woman in my home city almost two years ago now. It didn’t work out as I moved to London, but we’ve met up as friends a few time since and are have talked about hanging out together and going to plays.
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“And when it came to breaking up with one of my exes who I was seeing for a year, we both decided it wasn’t gonna go anywhere further romantically but didn’t want to give up the friendship we had built when we had so much common ground and shared interests.”
So, the jury’s out on this one. While women might be able to use their socially encouraged emotional skills to carry out a tactful, clean break-up, they may also feel confined by the size of their community and a hostile response from the outside world.
Happy breaking up, queer gals. May your indefatigable communication skills and emotional palette forever be weighed in your favour.