A UK study has found that while gay couples still face some social stigma, they tend to be happier in their relationships compared to straight couples.
Social researchers from The Open University conducted a two year study of 5,000 people in the UK who revealed how they keep their relationships on track.
The Enduring Love? study found that lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer (LGBQ) couples, especially younger people, remain afraid to hold hands in public for fear of reprisal.
Despite these kinds of social challenges, the scientists also discovered that LGBQ couples are generally happier about their relationship quality and are more likely to act spontaneously than heterosexual couples.
The study found that while money issues are one of the most difficult aspects of modern relationships, some stressful scenarios such as being out of work actually appear to pull couples together.
“With a tough economic climate, the rise in grey divorce and social media opening up new ways to start affairs, it isn’t always easy to keep love alive today.,” said study Co-author Dr Janet Fink. “However, our survey has shown that surviving adversities – even very difficult situations such as being out of work – can make a relationship much stronger. What doesn’t break you, can make you.”
The researchers concluded that while sex is important, couples cherish affection and cuddles as much as sexual intimacy. They also confirmed that it’s often the small things in life that count.
“Actions really do speak louder than words and many people consider a loving gesture to be as valuable as hearing ‘I love you’,” noted Co-author of the report, Dr Jacqui Gabb.
“Grand romantic gestures, although appreciated, don’t nurture a relationship as much as bringing your partner a cup of tea in bed, or watching TV together,” she said.
The study discovered that parenthood is the one single factor that shapes relationship quality more than any other factor and that mothers are happiest in their life than any other group.