Conscious Girlfriend

Out of the Closet and Saying "I Do" - but Can Lesbians Avoid Divorce?

New Program, The First of its Kind, Helps Lesbian Couples Create Happy Relationships

 

Healdsburg, CA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 04/08/2014 -- “Early studies suggest that the lesbian divorce rate is astronomical – nearly three times higher than the heterosexual divorce rate, and more than twice as high as the divorce rate for gay men,” says Drs. Ruth L. Schwartz of Healdsburg, California. “We founded Conscious Girlfriend to help lesbians gain the skills to create happy, healthy, lasting relationships. To our knowledge, we’re the first such program in the entire world.”

“Many lesbians struggle in relationships,” adds Schwartz’ partner, Dr. Michelle Murrain. “And until now, help really hasn’t been available to us. There are hundreds of heterosexual relationship coaches and workshops, but few female couples would feel comfortable being the only lesbians at a workshop, or talking to a straight man or woman about their intimacy challenges.”

Schwartz, 52, is a psychologist, and Murrain, 54, is a neuroscientist. “We’ve been life partners for eight years, and we have an amazing relationship,” explains Schwartz. “But each of us went through many painful relationships and breakups before gaining the skills to build the partnership we have today. Now we’ve combined our backgrounds in psychology, neuroscience and spirituality to provide cutting-edge, lesbian-specific relationship help.”

“It’s not surprising that lesbian couples have a hard time,” says Murrain. “After all, we didn’t grow up knowing healthy, happy lesbian couples on whom we could model ourselves. And we may have been rejected by our families, tossed out of our churches, and subject to taunting and even violence.”

But Schwartz and Murrain believe that even beyond those factors, female couples face some particular challenges. “It’s well known that women demand ‘higher relationship quality’ than men. That’s why women initiate 60-80% of heterosexual divorces,” comments Schwartz. “So, what happens when two women come together? We believe women are very clear on what we want – including intimacy, affection, respect, security and autonomy. But we often lack the skills to find, create and sustain the kinds of relationships we long for.”

Conscious Girlfriend, which Murrain and Schwartz launched in January of this year, fills that gap by providing coaching, workshops, retreats, online classes and even “conscious matchmaking.” “Many of the women using our services so far are over 50. Quite a few are over 60,” says Murrain. “They’re tremendously excited by the possibility of marriage, but there is also a lot of concern about ‘doing it right.’ At our last workshop, a 69-year-old woman, a retired physician, broke down in tears. She kept saying, ‘There was nothing like this when I was young. You just can’t imagine. Absolutely nothing.’”

“But we also heard from a 26-year-old woman who was thrilled to find us,” says Schwartz. “She said she’d been looking for something like this for a long time. Another woman told us we were the best birthday present she’d ever gotten! Lesbians are really excited to have the chance to come together and learn the skills that will help create and sustain real love.”