Up to a quarter of gay couples who have opted for a civil partnership didn't invite their families for fear of how they would react.
The study by the University of Manchester also found that many gay couples faced a distinct lack of enthusiasm from friends and family when they announced their intentions.
Despite an overall acceptance from families, some gay men and lesbians said that their experience of announcing their plans was like a "second coming out".
"For some parents it meant that they could no longer assume that their son or daughter was going through a 'phase' that they would grow out of," said Professor Carol Smart who led the research, based on interviews with 91 gay men and lesbians who are either planning or have had a civil partnership.
The report also found that 22 per cent of individuals decided against inviting family members to the ceremony.
Although few couples met with hostility, some found that either friends or family could be reserved in their enthusiasm. The findings back a similar study taking place at Aston University.
Research assistant Adam Jowett - who is working with Dr Elizabeth Peel on the nature of same sex civil partnerships - said some couples had been disappointed by the way their families took the news.
"Most couples said their parents were supportive but some who had married siblings said they reacted differently to the civil partnership," Mr Jowett said.
"Parents tended to be pragmatic, looking at the legal benefits, rather than being excited.
"I think one of the problems is that a lot of people do not know how to react to civil partnerships."
Mr Jowett added that parents could feel civil partnerships challenged their attitude towards their son or daughter's relationship.
"Parents may have accepted that their child is lesbian or gay, but to go to a ceremony may seem to them to be actively supporting the couple when before they were passively accepting them," he said.
The University of Manchester research also found that although couples welcomed the civil partnership's legal protections, 80 per cent had already made wills to safeguard their partner.
"It's quite varied why people choose to take up civil part-nerships," Mr Jowett said.
"For many, they see it as the same as marriage and that it is about commitment.
"A few of them have already had commitment ceremonies before and feel they are already married, but want l egal recognition from Government."
There have been 385 civil partnerships in the West Midlands since they were introduced at the end of last year, representing six per cent of the 6,516 civil partnerships that took place nationally.
By March 31, 238 had taken place in Westminster, 236 in Brighton and Hove and 194 in Kensington and Chelsea.
In the Midlands, 89 couples chose a civil partnership in Birmingham, 62 in Staffordshire, 56 in Worcestershire and 40 in Warwickshire.
Only 39 couples chose civil partnership in Shropshire.