I was just browsing Cracked.com for a story on a post I’m planning when I came across one that may help my dear gentle readers understand why being denied marriage equality is deadly for lesbians and gays and goes a long way toward creating the social instability for which our communities are attacked.
I’ve mentioned in past posts that the dream of marriage has great socializing power because it allows children and teens to imagine building a life with their spouse, which motivates them to make better choices in their education, activities, dates and career.
As murky and dicey as straight people may feel it is to look into the future and believe they will find the love of the life, it is infinitely murkier and dicier for lesbians and gays because we are second-class citizens federally and in most states and we can marry only in a handful of states (and other states and the federal government don’t have to recognize these marriages). In addition, the religions that are anti-gay are zealous about encouraging families to estrange themselves from gay family members.
So, as high as the rates of break-ups and divorces are for straight people, I think it’s a safe bet to say that they are higher for lesbians and gays. I call it the death of a thousand cuts — not every lesbian or gay person dies from it, but it does indeed diminish for each and every one of us our well-being and what we can be and achieve.
So the Cracked.com article gives some substance to my speculation by explaining “6 Scientific Reasons Break-ups Suck Worse Than You Think.” Read the whole thing, but the following are the reasons, plus the parts that jumped out at me as applying especially to explaining a high rate of break-ups and suffering in the lesbian and gay communities due to being second-class citizens and having no federally-recognized right to marry (boldfacing mine):
6. You Might Be Ruining Your Friends’ Lives, Too. (Short version: because when you break up with your partner, your friends are more likely to break up with their partners, too, if they were unhappy — it’s like you gave them permission and showed them how. Break-ups lead to even more break-ups.)
5. You Go Into Withdrawal. “It’s science. When shown a picture of someone you are in love with, the centers of your brain responsible for motivation and reward (the same that are stimulated by other addictive substances like drugs and alcohol) become more active.”
4. You Get Poorer or Lonelier … For Years.
3. You Go a Little Bit Crazy. “Any loving relationship, no matter how short, completely messes with your sense of self. There’s a reason why ending it feels like waking up in a bathtub full of ice and finding one of your kidneys has been stolen.
“Three different studies have found that after a relationship ends people tend to go through a serious identity crisis. No matter how strong or independent you think you are or you were before the relationship, your ability to know who you are gets thrown totally out of whack after a breakup. Whether you realize it or not, in your brain your significant other’s personality started to merge with yours. Despite the terrible cliche, they really are ‘your other half.’
“So why does this even matter? ‘Self-concept clarity,’ while not something you’ve probably ever thought about before, actually affects your life in massive ways. People who don’t really know who they are tend to be more depressed, think less of themselves and are more likely to make rash decisions or changes that might not be good for them.
“Sometimes this can lead to good things after a breakup, like a decision to lose weight. Other times it leads to rushing into rebound relationships, career or school changes, or drastic image changes.”
2. You Can Actually Die of a Broken Heart.
1. It Can Give You Freaking Cancer.