Miami Herald

Miami Herald1WORK/LIFE BALANCING ACT: COMMUNICATION IS KEY FOR SAME-SEX COUPLES WHO ALSO WORK TOGETHER
by Cindy Krischer Goodman / January 26, 2016

Monte Levin never gets upset with his partner, Gary Lazarus, for working too much, nor does Gary get mad when Monty spends weekend time at the office. The couple understands the demands of each other’s jobs because they work together as a team selling homes in South Florida.

Living and working together for 20 years could be a formula for disaster, but the two have a method for surviving the togetherness: “You have to negotiate your own space and know what each person needs to do to decompress,” Levin says.

Levin and Lazarus are among many couples who once had separate careers but have created a work and home life together. Like other couples, they have discovered that working with your spouse or partner can be a monumental fiasco, or the ideal marriage of work and life.

While every couple is different, same-sex couples have an advantage in blending their two spheres successfully. A 2015 survey by the Families and Work Institute of 225 dual-earner couples found that, for the most part, same-sex couples share household duties and financial management based on preference and split child care equally. They tend to be happier with the division of labor because they communicate about it more often. “It is much more consciously discussed and negotiated,” says Jennifer Allyn, managing director of diversity for PricewaterhouseCoopers, which commissioned the survey. In contrast, straight couples tend to slip into roles at home based on gender, income, hours worked or power position in the relationship — which sometimes can lead to resentment.

“Perhaps because they can’t default to gender, people in same-sex couples are in more of a position to have these conversations. That can carry over and become an advantage in the workplace, too,” says Ken Matos, senior researcher at the Families and Work Institute, a nonprofit that studies and advocates for families.

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