Gay Fathers in Mixed-Orientation Relationships: Experiences of Those Who Stay in Their Marriages and of Those Who Leave

Samantha L. Tornello, Charlotte J. Patterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Many gay men have become parents in the context of heterosexual relationships; ultimately, some separate from female partners while others stay with them. In this study, we compared the experiences of 110 formerly married gay fathers who were currently in relationships with men, 44 formerly married gay fathers who were currently single, and 14 gay fathers who remained married to women. In an Internet survey, we examined relationship satisfaction, parenting stress, sexual orientation disclosure, and gay identity among these men, all of whom had become fathers in the context of heterosexual relationships. Results showed that gay fathers who were currently married to women reported lower relationship satisfaction, affection, consensus, and lower overall dyadic adjustment in their current relationships. Formerly married gay fathers who were currently single or currently in relationships with male partners reported greater openness about their sexual identities than did still-married gay fathers. The men who were currently in relationships, however, did not report differences in relationship cohesion or parenting stress as a function of partners' gender. In summary, self-identified gay men who were currently in relationships with women reported less openness about their sexual orientation and lower relationship satisfaction, but not more parenting stress than did formerly married gay fathers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-98
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of GLBT Family Studies
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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