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Why do lesbians divorce more often than gay men?

Marriage equality was long a dream for same-sex couples. Once it finally happened, however, researchers noticed a strange phenomenon that seemed to be happening just about everywhere that same-sex marriage is legal: Lesbians end up getting divorced more often than gay men.

Studies on the subject turned up the following facts:

  • Over a decade in the Netherlands, 30% of female couples who married wound up divorced, which is double the divorce rate for male couples and considerably higher than the 18% divorce rate among heterosexual matches.
  • In Belgium, 11% of female couples who tied the knot after same-sex marriage became legal in 2003 divorced by 2010, while only 6.7% of male couples did the same.
  • Similar statistics have been noted in England, Wales, Denmark, Sweden and Norway.
  • While statistics in the United States on same-sex marriage and divorce rates aren't as readily available, there have been some high-profile splits, including the one between the lesbian couple that made headlines with their Massachusetts union in 2004.

What gives? Well, experts think that the high divorce rate among female couples is tied to several different things. First, there's the fact that some lesbians may simply be less afraid of divorce because they've been through it before. About 18% of lesbian women who marry have been married before, compared to only about 10% of gay men who marry.

Statistically speaking, women tend to be more inclined to end an unhappy marriage than men, in general. When you two women marry, that may simply up the odds that at least one of the two will opt for divorce over staying in a bad match.

Finally, some experts noted there may be a cultural factor involved. Lesbian women tend to plunge into committed relationships quickly (so often that the term "u-hauling" has become commonplace in many circles). That may not give them the time to spot the red flags in a relationship before they actually marry.

Whatever the reason that you're seeking a same-sex divorce, there's assistance available. Find out how an experienced advocate can make the process smoother and easier on everyone.

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