In the family chapter, the textbook authors briefly discussed the changing nature of the family. Let’s extend this discussion to a more inclusive understanding of intimate, romantic relationships. Much of the relational communication literature is founded upon the participation of heterosexual participants (disclosed at least), but thankfully more work is being conducted and published regarding non-heterosexist ways of knowing and relating. For example, in chapter seven, the Gambles list female and male preferences in romantic relationships. While many women and men may attest to the accurate experience of women preferring connection and men preferring autonomy, in 2009 I think it’s safe to assume that the boundaries are a bit more blurred.
To begin stretching our understandings of gender romantic relationship norms, please read the following New York Times article, then post your thoughts on the findings the writer reports regarding same-sex v. heterosexual relationships. Please pay special attention to the findings on egalitarianism and fighting styles. Based on your understanding of the family and romantic relationship concepts you’ve read so far, what do you think is going on here? What gender dynamics are or are not at play in the different types of relationships? Finally, religious/personal preferences aside, what influences do you think these different styles of relationships might have on the couples’ children and overall family and relationship dynamics? Please respond thoughtfully and thoroughly and be sure to comment on others’ responses where appropriate.