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Enduring Love?

Enduring Love? Wordle image
Why couples stay together? Our research focuses on the meanings and everyday experiences of long-term relationships.
September 2011 - September 2013

The Enduring Love? project is a mixed methods study on long-term adult couple relationships. The findings will add an important dimension to understandings of personal and family lives in contemporary society.

Increasing knowledge on how long-term relationships work and the emotional and practical relationship work that goes into sustaining them, will facilitate more effective points of intervention, informing the improvement of policy making, governance and support services, and relationship education.

The Enduring Love? research project is an exciting development in the study of personal and family lives in contemporary Britain. Much recent policy, academic and professional research has focused on the causes and effects of relationship breakdown, but many heterosexual and same sex couples also remain together for significant periods of time. In some ways, then, these couples appear to sit outside a growing tendency towards serial or transitory relationships. To understand more about couples who stay together, our research will focus on the meanings and everyday experiences of long-term relationships. However we will not be presupposing that such relationships are uniformly loving or straightforwardly associated with contentment. The project will rather be concerned with what helps people sustain relationships and how cultural myths, such as finding ‘the one’ and living ‘happily-ever-after’, are understood and reconciled by adult couples whose own relationships may fall short of these romantic ideals.

Learn more about the research programme: Intimate Relationships