The obvious difference between gay versus straight dating is in who you find attractive. However, when you delve below the surface, you notice that there are many other differences, too.
The purpose of this post is to explore what these are and why they exist so you can better prepare yourself for dating in the future. Once you’ve read this article, you will know more about what to expect.
Straight dating doesn’t require “coming out.” People assume that most people are straight and, therefore, don’t need to make any grand announcement.
However, gay dating requires telling everyone your status. This approach helps to avoid confusion when you come home with a partner of the same sex as you.
It can also be necessary in some situations to warn family members that you are gay and don’t follow heterosexual norms. Preparing them for dating is sometimes essential.
Gay dating also tends to have higher visibility than straight dating. The main reason for this is to make it easier to find potential partners. Straight people have the luxury of being able to date most people they bump into on the street, while gay people are fewer in number and often harder to find.
Being more conspicuous is part of the gay dating lifestyle and helps individuals find others like them. To this end, gay clubs, apps, and communities are highly active and regularly attract people looking for love.
The power dynamics in traditional dating and gay dating are also different. Household responsibilities may diverge from conventional gender roles.
For example, in straight relationships, the man will usually work in the shed, the attic, or the car, while the woman will take care of areas like the kitchen and the bedrooms. However, in gay relationships, couples won’t necessarily fall into these roles and may have different expectations.
The emotional dynamics may also be considerably different. Straight relationships often involve the man listening to the woman’s problems. However, in gay relationships, this type of expression is more likely to be two-way. Both parties may feel the need to express themselves emotionally, or neither. It depends on the couple!
Who has the most power may also be unclear in gay relationships. In straight relationships, the answer is obvious, but in gay relationships, things may be more egalitarian. However, power dynamics can emerge if one partner adopts a submissive role and the other prefers to be authoritarian.
Gay dating also challenges established gender norms, again adding complexity. This process is also occurring in straight relationships, but not to the same degree. For example, straight couples will often share housework, with the man taking on a greater role. The woman will also spend more time at work and be more financially independent.
However, in gay relationships, these norms don’t exist to anything like the same degree. Therefore, it is very much up to the couples themselves to decide what works for them. It isn’t clear, for instance, what roles each gender should have in the home or how to divide up the work. It requires less rule-following and more compromise.
Straight dating usually occurs at the individual level while gay dating also occurs in the context of the community. Many people find partners on the gay scene or as part of a larger group of friends.
The community can play a significant, even imposing role when it comes to gay dating. Dating can also be more fluid because of the changing gender dynamics and the number of people available. Many people feel a sense of belonging that simply doesn’t exist in the straight community.
Both gay and straight people have arguments in their relationships. However, the types of conflict in the latter can differ significantly from the former.
Lesbian relationships, for example, may feature more passive-aggressive arguments, while gay relationships can be more confrontational. However, evidence suggests that people in gay relationships don’t expect one person to be passive and feminine, as can happen in straight relationships.
Interestingly, there are also studies showing that gay relationships may resolve conflicts more amicably than straight ones. Male partners can often understand each other’s motivations and reasoning more than heterosexual couples, allowing them to resolve issues faster than would otherwise be possible.
Of course, if there are children involved, parenting is also different. Straight couples can often (though not always) produce children themselves, while gay ones require surrogacy. Furthermore, while the children of straight couples share their genetics, gay couples must choose which partner will pass on their genes to the next generation with each child. Alternatively, gay parents can adopt or foster.
As such, having a baby in a gay relationship can be more complicated. Gay parents require support and sometimes just down-to-earth practical advice about how to go about the work of rearing children.
Straight and gay relationships can also differ on the extent to which each party wants to have fun. In heterosexual relationships, the good times fade fast, whereas in gay ones, the community and scene help to maintain the spark.
For example, straight couples rarely go out dancing, clubbing, or on couples’ cruises for much more than a couple of years after they begin seeing each other. However, on the gay scene, this lasts much longer. Just ask any seasoned dating coach!
Gay couples are less likely to feel the pressure to have a family, either. While some may want to have children, it might be something they are willing to put off indefinitely.
The way gay and straight people meet their partners is also quite different, as alluded to earlier. Studies show that gay people are much more likely to rely on dating websites than straight individuals. Again, that’s because gay individuals can find it harder to identify people who might want to be in a relationship with them. Straight people, on the other hand, can find partners at the office, at the gym, at regular clubs and bars, or even at the park.
The situation is even more challenging for other members of the LGBTQ community. These individuals may face additional struggles to find suitable partners in real life.
That’s why apps and online dating are so successful. These tools aggregate everyone by community and make it far simpler to find partners than would be possible via conventional means.
Money can be a source of problems in straight and gay relationships, however, issues tend to be more pronounced in the latter because of competition. In straight relationships, the man typically earns more and retains his higher earnings for the duration of the relationship. However, in gay relationships, men sometimes compete to see who can earn the most, which can lead to conflict.
Many relationship experts and dating coaches believe the most dangerous time in a relationship is when one party encounters substantial success. This can make the other partner jealous and resentful, and increase their efforts to sabotage the other party. The same dynamic can play out in straight relationships, but it is less likely to do so.
Sometimes families approach straight dating with hostility, but it is rare. Most in-laws are happy with the relationship taking its natural course and helping everyone continue their genetic line.
However, that might not happen in gay relationships. While society is becoming more tolerant of not being straight, some family members will still take issue with someone in the clan being gay.
As such, prepare yourself for uncomfortable or downright offensive interactions with some family members. While most of society accepts gay relationships, you still might encounter hostile people who don’t understand the “gay thing.”
The temptation, of course, is to avoid these individuals altogether. However, that can put a strain on your relationship. The best approach is to discuss any issues with your partner if you are gay so they can prepare you ahead of time.
Gay relationships generally accept that work must come first. However, people who aren’t straight can sometimes take their responsibilities too far to the point where it damages the relationships.
Straight men will usually set aside time for family at the weekend, spending time off to look after their partner and children. However, many gay people, especially men, believe that working evenings and weekends simply “comes with the territory.” As such, the dating experience can be different.
People with experience in this area believe that gay men capitulate more often to their bosses than straight men. For example, if their boss asks them to come in on the weekend, they are more likely to say yes. However, therapists caution against this approach. If straight men wouldn’t capitulate, why should gay men?
Finally, there can be differences in the value of appearance between gay and straight relationships. In gay relationships, appearance is of paramount importance as men tend to be more visual creatures. As such, there may be more competition among gay males regarding looks than straight males, though that is increasing in both categories.
Iskra Banović is our seasoned Editor-in-Chief at BlueFashion. She has been steering the website’s content and editorial direction since 2018. With a rich background in fashion design, Iskra’s expertise spans across fashion, interior design, beauty, lifestyle, travel, and culture.