2.1 Hopes and wishes onto partner

Being part of a couple is socially more accepted and valued than being single. In social and economic monogamous relationships, the partners have to fulfil most of the social, emotional, sexual and economical needs. Alongside the traditional concept of monogamy, homophobia plays an important part in how lesbians arrange their partnerships. Many lesbians are still “in the closet” and their partnerships seem to be the only place for self realization. At the same time, some lesbians see a necessity to keep their partnerships secret. But even “outed” couples experience their partnerships as a place of shelter from homophobic attacks, as a place where they feel safe and free. Another impact on the arrangement of lesbian partnerships may be gender- specific expectations of the partner. Women are perceived as caring, loving and altruistic. Women share the same ideas about other women – even though they might reject them for themselves. Further, the presumed same gender-based socialisation is regarded as an aspect of closeness. Thus, some lesbians expect their partners to be ‘giving’, caring and highly empathic because they have the same socialisation. Differences are blocked out in order to maintain closeness. High expectations and needs may lead to frustration and anger since they will not be fulfilled. Conflicts may increase so as to restore closeness.

Violence may occur if differences aren’t accepted or anxieties aren’t quelled and closeness is not restored. Finally, the partner will be destroyed either symbolically or physically. The fear of losing either the partner or the partnership and the prospect of being single may hinder the decision to leave a violent partner.
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Funded by:and
European Commission and the German Federal Ministry of Family, Seniors, Women and Youth.

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