Jeni L. Wahlig, Ph.D., is a 2017 graduate of the PhD Program in Marriage and Family Therapy at Antioch University, New England

Dissertation Committee:

  • Kevin Lyness, PhD, Committee Chair
  • Megan Murphy, PhD, Committee Member
  • Justine D’Arrigo-Patrick, PhD, Committee Member


same-sex couples, gay, lesbian, bisexual, relationship quality, satisfaction, longevity, relationship success, resilience

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Therapists are often called upon to support same-sex couples along their journey to success. Yet, only limited information is available for understanding what success means for same-sex couples, what the journey to success might look like, and how we might support them in navigating that journey. In this dissertation, I seek to begin to fill this gap in knowledge by conducting an extensive literature review of factors that affect same-sex couple relationship success and a qualitative research study. In the study, I use narrative inquiry to explore the challenges and life-events important to couples’ journeys toward success; the resources and qualities that support these journeys, and how same-sex couples understand and narrate their experiences of relationship success. In the first chapter, I provide an introduction to the dissertation that follows. The second chapter presents a critical review of the literature, in which success is defined as a measure of quality, satisfaction, and longevity and factors affecting each of these constructs are identified and considered. Limitations and are explored, and the need for the present study is identified. In the third chapter, I discuss my research methods. Results, explored in Chapter Four, are organized into three sections which explore common "chapters" along the relationship journey, factors that contribute to relationship success, and how stories were told. Finally, in Chapter Five, I discuss the results, their implications, limitations, and directions for future research. The electronic version of this dissertation is available in open-access OhioLink ETD Center,


Jeni L Wahlig

ORCID Scholar ID# 0000-0001-6912-8609