On Nov. 6, 2012, Maine became the first state in the country to approve gay by voter referendum. Some same-sex couples joyously celebrated the news and within mere hours, businesses began advertising wedding and other related services to the gay community.
The excitement can't be overstated and the major topic of conversation between most of these couples was whether or not they would now get married. Something then started happening that was totally unexpected — presented with the possibility of getting married, some long-term couples started splitting up.
When they entered into relationships, many people within the LGBT community had never considered marriage to be a possibility; it was a fantasy, and many didn't think they'd see passage of same-sex marriage in their lifetime. The development of gay relationships typically takes a less formal path than their straight counterparts.
Gay couples fall in love, move in together and proceed to live their lives with no engagement and no legal binding. If at some point they decided to end their relationship, these couples would negotiate who got what and just say goodbye.
Marriage as a viable possibility is now testing the level of commitment between many gay partners and, in some cases, revealing huge disparities. Partners who have been together for years are now being asked by others when they plan to get married; if the answer they give is "no," then why not? Perhaps one person in the relationship wants to be married and the other doesn't. After spending years together, if one is choosing not to want to marry, what is the other partner to think?
Take Joan and Sandy. They've been together 16 years. From the outside their relationship seems fine, but Joan hasn't really been happy for several years. It's easier to just continue along knowing if she ever decides to break things off, it won't be overly complicated.
Sandy, on the other hand, has no idea how Joan is feeling. They have their share of arguments but doesn't that happen in every relationship? Suddenly gay marriage passes, and their same-sex coupled friends start discussing their own weddings. Couples they know who have been together many years less than them are joyously planning their nuptials. Keep reading ...
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