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  1. Enduring Love?
  2. Methods


The Enduring Love? survey was designed to generate statistical data on relationship satisfaction and the experience of couple relationships in the 21st Century. It also included free-text questions which aimed to open out the research agenda, listening to what participants identified as the 'things' that made their relationship work.

The survey is now closed. It was completed by over 5000 people and we are currently analysing all these data.

Interim Survey Report (PDF document)

Archive copy of the questionnaire (PDF document)


Participants in the in-depth study will keep a personal diary for one week, writing down the events and everyday activities that relate to the couple relationship. Diaries will also provide a space for personal reflections on media representations of ‘the couple’ and other relationships that are encountered during this week and the individual’s responses to these different representations.

Emotion maps

Emotion maps aim to chart how couples interact with one another. To create emotion maps, individuals will place ‘emoticon’ stickers on a floor plan of their home to indicate where different kinds of interactions take place, between the couple and wider family network. This method will be completed over the same one week period of time as the personal diary.

Emotion maps (PDF document)


Photo-elicitation interview

In the photo-elicitation interview couples will be interviewed together and asked to talk about eight collages of images on different aspects of long-term relationships. Participants will be encouraged to respond to the images and to reflect on how these connect with/diverge from their own personal experiences and/or opinions on the meanings of enduring relationships.

Individual interview/s

Separate interviews with both individuals in the partnership will be undertaken. The interview will begin with a discussion of the emotion maps and diaries that have been produced, talking through the interactions that have been identified and the language used to describe feelings and relationship practices. It will then move on to focus on the individual’s biographical narrative, exploring personal experience of enduring couple relationships and how this experience is understood in the context of wider networks of family and friends. It will also include discussion of any sources of support and advice that couples may have turned to in troubled times.

A practical guide for researchers on how to complete the methods used in the Enduring Love? project is available as a working paper.



  • Art of relationships

    Marcen Coffee Maker

    We would like to invite you to attend the premiere of a film by the artist Steve Geliot. Inspired by cutting-edge research on ‘enduring love’ conducted at the Open University, Steve has created a film that explores the nature of intimacy. It presents cameos of everyday lives and loves, and is designed to provoke the audience to think about their own relationships. This premiere will be accompanied by live music from the singer David McAlmont with accompaniment from Guy Davies.

  • Enduring Love? Findings, Dialogue, Future Directions

    , ,

    To hear the study's findings and critical debate about the scope and relevance of relationship research by leading contributors in the field, you are warmly invited to join us at this end of project celebratory event.

  • Couples living apart together

    About 10% of adults in Britain today are in a relationship but not living with their partner. On 26 May 2013, Jacqui Gabb was invited to respond to findings of an ESRC-funded research project on the phenomenon of "living apart together" (LAT).