Likewise, it is unfair to lump all straight couples together, and disingenuous to suggest that they are not capable of arguing in a healthy way.
But because male and female same-sex couples each have different strengths that help them endure, we can all learn from them, Miller said.
Here are some constructive methods to handle disagreements, as observed by researchers of gay couples:
Use humor to diffuse anger
Cracking a joke in the midst of a heated moment can backfire, but when done properly, “it almost immediately releases the tension,” said Robert Rave, 45, who lives with his husband, David Forrest, in Los Angeles.
Rave cited a recent car trip where Forrest, 35, used humor to help end an escalating argument over whether they should rely on Google Maps.
“For me, as a general rule, I self-admittedly will get very much in my head. And David will just simply take the piss out of it and make me laugh,” Rave said.
A 2003 study compared 40 same-sex couples with 40 heterosexual couples over the course of 12 years to learn what makes same-sex relationships succeed or fail. The findings suggested that same-sex couples tended to be more positive when bringing up a disagreement and were also more likely to remain positive after a disagreement when compared to heterosexual couples.
“Gay and lesbian couples were gentler in raising issues, far less defensive, and used more humor than heterosexual partners,” said John M. Gottman, Ph.D., the lead author of the study and co-founder of the Gottman Institute, an organization that provides resources, like workshops and online courses, to help couples strengthen relationships and offers professional training to clinicians. “These were large differences.”