Skip to content The Open University

Enduring Love?

Couple Relationships in the 21st Century

Enduring Love?

  1. Enduring Love?

Project outline

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 LGBT 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.

iTunes audio

In a collection of audio and video podcasts, couples reflect on love and commitment, the effect of children, and the 'relationship work' which they do to sustain their relationships.

Listen to the programmes now


The Enduring Love? Couple Relationships in the 21st Century project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC RES-062-23-3056).