For couples, the intimate relationship between partners is one of the most influential in adult life. Couples and relationship education (CRE) intends to provide contextual knowledge and to facilitate the growth of relationship skill sets. However, current CRE programming is largely heteronormative, relying primarily on male/female relationship dyads. Little CRE research focuses on the experiences of gay men in later stages of their lives, despite sweeping social and legal changes such as marriage equality nationwide in the United States. This phenomenological investigation sought a deeper understanding of the lived experiences of gay male baby boomers who have participated in adult education programs which focus on the health and maintenance of long-term, romantic partnerships. Participants revealed the need for CRE with gay male baby boomers to be more sensitive to a variety of unique compatibility issues, including the extent to which each partner is out and individual sexual identity development. Participants also experienced most existing CRE material as appropriate for use with same-sex couples. However, their lived experiences emphasized specialized considerations related to historical trauma such as the AIDS crisis, previous heterosexual marriages while closeted, chronic social stigma, and the significance of being a trailblazer for LGBTQ civil rights. Recommendations for research and practice in CRE and adult education are provided.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation.July 2019. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisor: Joshua Collins. 1 computer file (PDF); 151 pages.
A Phenomenological Exploration of the Lived Experiences of Gay Male Baby Boomers in Couples and Relationship Education.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.