Relationship Tempo for Bi+ Women Partnered with Cismen, Ciswomen, and Gender Minority Individuals

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Nia Clark
Sarah Whitton


Record ID: 143

Student Major: Psychology

Project Advisor: Sarah Whitton

Abstract: The well-known "U-Haul" stereotype states that female same-sex couples become serious and move in together very quickly. Some data suggest that lesbian women develop relationships faster than heterosexual women, but this conflates partner gender (same-sex vs different-sex) with sexual identity (lesbian vs. heterosexual). To rigorously test this stereotype, we explored differences in relationship tempo by partner gender in a sample comprised solely of bisexual women. Participants were 180 bi+ women in romantic relationships with a cisman (n=107), ciswoman (n=39), or gender minority partner (n=34). 80 were cohabiting. A 4-item scale assessed tempo of getting serious. A 3-item scale assessed tempo of cohabitation. Participants also reported duration of time together before a) officially getting serious and b) cohabiting. One-way ANCOVAs assessed differences by partner gender in the four measures of relationship tempo, controlling for age and income. Results showed a significant effect of partner gender on tempo and duration to get serious. Those partnered with cismen had a faster tempo of getting serious than those partnered with ciswomen or gender minorities. Those partnered with a gender minority had longer duration before getting serious than those partnered with cismen. There was no effect of partner gender on cohabitation tempo or duration. Findings refute the U-Haul stereotype. Among bi+ women, partner gender has no effect on speed of cohabitation and those with male partners had the fastest tempo to getting serious. This highlights the importance of empirically testing, versus assuming, the validity of stereotypes about sexual minorities.

Article Details

Category: Society and (In)Justice
Author Biography

Nia Clark

Major: Psychology