Credit: ©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co.

If there’s one thing that Glee does well, it’s getting fans invested in the various relationships created between the show’s characters. Fans ship the sh*t out of Glee love, from Rachel (Lea Michele) and Finn’s (Cory Monteith) crush that grew into a marriage proposal and ended in heartbreak, or Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Blaine’s (Darren Criss) innocence, first times, and ultimate betrayal.

The loves and losses of couples like Brittany (Heather Morris) and Santana (Naya Rivera) have resulted in OTP blogs and nicknames like Brittana, Finchel, and Klaine. Gleeks live and breathe with the characters’ ups and downs, and we think that’s pretty rad.

But these fans also notice things that the casual viewer doesn’t. For example, the kisses that couples share aren’t all equal. Everyone kisses and consummates, but they don’t all do so in the same ways (not like that, guys), or in ways that mean something to the people who love their love.

Before we get too abstract, let’s talk about a few examples. Fans pointed out after Season 4, Episode 9: “Swan Song” that Brittany and Sam (Chord Overstreet) kissed almost immediately after the declaration that they might like each other. Their kiss was in the hallway, by some lockers, and it was long, wet, and cute. But it was also treated differently than the kisses between Britt and Santana.

It should be noted that even though B & S talked frequently about “lady kisses,” we didn’t see one between them for a long time on the show. Yet, when Brittany started dating Sam, they kissed before they were even together. The same quickness happened with Artie (Kevin McHale).

Even though Brittany and Santana were in love, the majority of their loving happened behind closed doors. Whereas Bram kiss openly in the hallways, kisses between gay couples that are out in the open are short — almost apologetic. Finchel kiss on stage at nationals; Klaine kiss in the library, alone. Despite the impassioned conversations gay couples on the show have — which are often more feelings-rich and memorable than those between straight couples — the physical display of their love is not equal.

Credit: Adam Rose/FOX©2012 Fox Broadcasting Co.

Another big difference is what the couples withstand to be together. While Kurt and Blaine lasted mere weeks apart, Will (Matthew Morrison) and Emma (Jayma Mays) have made it through OCD, intimacy issues, and moving. Rachel and Finn got together despite status differences. Sure, Blaine moved schools to be closer to Kurt, but he also cheated on him as soon as there was more than a town separating them.

And yes, it could be argued that Wemma is much older and more mature and able to deal with different problems than younger students. But it seems that the understanding of limitations and sacrifice, the willingness to compromise and make the relationship they’re in worth fighting for, is missing from many relationships on Glee. And though they are all young, the ones who feel the brunt of this are the gay characters.

Every relationship is different and has its own challenges. There are things about relationships between two gay kids in Ohio that don’t apply to a pair of adults in New York City. But it doesn’t seem like these are the things that are being treated as factors important to the dissolution of the relationships that shippers celebrate and lament. Although challenges like pregnancy, separation, and life changes have affected couples of every orientation, we can’t help but notice the different outcomes.

What do you think — are there issues being ignored here, something we missed? Tell us. We can take it.

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