As more states strike down laws restricting marriage to "one man and one woman," same-sex relationships are becoming more visible and more socially accepted. Nevertheless, many couples still experience significant stress because of their same-sex status. In every life context — family, work, neighborhood, religious communities, and in social and legal contexts — same-sex couples have to make decisions about disclosure, how to respond to prejudice, and how to cope with negative feelings about themselves and their experiences.

This book helps couples work together to identify, develop, and use their strengths and skills to successfully navigate these issues and flourish. Tough tasks like confronting prejudice will never be easy, but thanks to the stories, tools, and resources presented in this book, readers will learn to manage such situations in a positive way.

Learning activities in each chapter guide couples to become more aware of the causes of stress in their relationship, and to take positive actions to strengthen their commitment. Readers will learn how to cultivate the strengths of their LGBTQ identities, assert appropriate boundaries, create supportive relationships with others, and contribute authentically to their families and communities.

Table of Contents



I. Family of Origin

  1. Coming Out to Grandma
  2. When the Family Rule Is "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
  3. Family Gatherings
  4. Our Families, Ourselves
  5. We Can Choose Our Family!
  6. Warm Welcomes and Family Allies

II. Family of Creation

  1. "You Aren't the 'Real' Parent"
  2. When Bad Things Happen to Our Kids
  3. "Ins and Outs" of Parenting
  4. On the Lookout
  5. "Are We Being Selfish?"
  6. It Takes a Village, People!

III. Religion

  1. "My Family Thinks Our Relationship Is an Abomination"
  2. Looking for God in All the Wrong Places
  3. True Confessions
  4. Good Religion Gone Bad
  5. Letting Our Light Shine
  6. Finding Higher Ground

IV. Work

  1. The Unfriendly Workplace
  2. Cleaning Out the Work Closet
  3. Testing the Waters at Work
  4. Are You for Real?
  5. Taking Pride to Work

V. Neighborhoods and Local Communities

  1. Getting a Bad Deal
  2. I Wanna Hold Your Hand
  3. Out on the Town
  4. What Will the Neighbors Think?
  5. It's a Beautiful Day in the Gayborhood

VI. Laws and Policies

  1. Going to the Chapel
  2. Stepping Out and Looking In
  3. Good Help Is Hard to Find!
  4. Yours, Mine, and Ours
  5. Until All Are Equal

Conclusion: A Future Where We Thrive and Flourish

Additional Resources


About the Authors

Author Bios

Sharon S. Rostosky, PhD, completed her doctorate in counseling psychology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 1998. She is a licensed psychologist in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. She joined the counseling psychology program at the University of Kentucky in 1999, where she is currently a professor and director of training. Her research, published in more than 60 peer-reviewed journal articles and presented in numerous workshops for professional and general audiences, focuses on minority stress and well-being in individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer (LGBTQ) and in same-sex couples. She was honored in 2010 with the APA Division 17 (Society of Counseling Psychology) Social Justice Award.

Ellen D. B. Riggle, PhD, is a professor in the departments of Gender and Women's Studies and Political Science at the University of Kentucky. She is the coeditor of Sexual Identity on the Job and Gays and Lesbians in the Democratic Process. She has also published more than 60 articles in peer-reviewed journals and book chapters. Dr. Riggle has conducted research, lectured, and presented workshops on the impact of stigma on sexual minorities, legal status issues for same-sex couples, and the importance of positive well-being for LGBTQ individuals.

Dr. Riggle and Dr. Rostosky's 2012 book A Positive View of LGBTQ: Embracing Identity and Cultivating Well-Being, was the winner of the APA Division 44 (Society for the Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity) Distinguished book award.

More information about the work of Dr. Riggle and Dr. Rostosky can be found on their website PrismResearch.org.

Reviews & Awards

This is a self-help book in the finest sense of the term: Content is scholarly and based on current literature; it offers nuance, street smarts, and sophistication in negotiating life’s gray-zone dilemmas, yet it is accessible and engaging for lay readers, who are its intended audience.