American couples, once again, personify the resiliency of happiness and love even during times of political uncertainty. The Third Annual “The Happiness Index: Love and Relationships in America,” a national report commissioned by the dating service, eharmony, and conducted by Harris Interactive, reveals that year-over-year, couples continue to report being happy in their relationship – but it requires some work.
As evidenced by the recent caucuses, American politics is messy, and opinions run rampant. Up 50 percent from last year, couples are more likely to argue about politics at least once a week in 2020. From a Presidential impeachment hearing to the political debates, this election year has drawn a divide among Americans. Luckily, this divide is not resulting in unhappier couples with 82 percent reporting to be happy in their relationships, according to an eharmony news release.
“As champions of love, we are thrilled to report that couples are taking time to focus on their relationship through actions like the quality time they spend together, sexual intimacy and viewing one another as equals,” said Gareth Mandel, COO of eharmony in the news release. “We’re also tracking new trends for couples of all ages, especially Millennials and Gen Z, regarding love, commitment, cultural concerns and happiness as these generations have grown up in the digital age where online dating has been omnipresent.”
In fact, while still a small sample, Gen Z is the happiest demographic with 90 percent report being happy in their relationship compared to Millennials (85 percent) and Gen X (81 percent). All three generations, Gen X (70 percent), Millennials (76 percent) and Gen Z (67 percent) report that being in love is more important than being married, according to the eharmony news release.
“No matter how they met, anyone in a relationship can confirm it takes work,” Mandel said in the eharmony news release. “While cultural phenomena like elections can shine a spotlight on our perceived differences, it’s more important than ever to be considerate and conscious of your behaviors, and your partner’s behaviors. Think of it as relationship democracy.”
Not a big surprise, but couples who have sex daily or weekly are happier than those who have sex monthly or less. But sex alone is not enough – it’s focusing on both quality time and sex where couples report being happier (87 percent) compared to couples only focusing on either sex (69 percent) or quality time (82 percent).
With happiness and love claiming victory over the top political threats concerning American couples, economic crises (15 percent), climate change (19 percent) and potential terrorism (29 percent), relationship satisfaction is looking good in the future no matter how America votes. Personal happiness remains our nation’s front runner.
Key takeaways from the 2020 study include:
Meet Me in the Bedroom
It’s clear that regular sex is an important part of happy and healthy relationships, and couples in 2020 are taking that advice to heart! In 2020, couples are significantly more likely to have sex at least five times a week, compared to 2019.
- Couples in 2020 are significantly more likely to focus on sex than in 2019, whereas couples in 2019 were significantly more likely than in 2020 to focus on quality time than sex.
- 86 percent of individuals who have sex with their partner weekly are happy. While 78 percent of couples who have sex monthly and 66 percent of those who have sex a few times per year are less happy than their counterparts.
- Put the phones down, especially when you’re in bed – men are significantly more likely (17 percent) than women (10 percent) to be made ‘really angry’ when their partner “phubs” them.
- Phubbing is the habit of snubbing someone to play on your phone.
The Key to Happiness is Equality
Despite the constant barrage of negative news about the state of the world, American couples are as strong as ever. At least 82 percent of couples report being happy in their current relationship, consistent with past years’ numbers. Unsurprisingly, equality in a relationship is an important factor in happiness:
- Couples that consider themselves to be equal in their relationship report greater overall happiness.
- Couples that share the same level of education, political affiliation or income are overall happier.
- 87 percent of couples who put an equal focus on quality time and sex are happy, compared to 82 percent of those who focus more on quality time and just 69 percent of those who focus more on sex.
Love is Love
LGBT couples and non-LGBT couples report the same level of happiness in their relationships in 2020. 82 percent seems to be the sweet spot for both groups. There are also no significant differences between genders and generations when it comes to the degree of happiness in relationships, according to the eharmony news release.
- LGBT couples who have the same political affiliation are significantly more likely at 38 percent to be extremely happy than those who do not share the same affiliation at 22 percent.
- LGBT couples report higher percentages of happiness compared to non-LGBT couples in instances where both members of the relationship have the same education level (35 percent vs. 33 percent) and same level of income (39 percent vs. 33 percent) as their partner as well as different levels of education (32 percent vs. 27 percent) and different levels of income (30 percent vs. 28 percent) than their partner.
- LGBT men tend to be more optimistic in their beliefs about marriage than LGBT women.
- While LGBT men are more likely to be married than LGBT women, LGBT men are also more likely than women to seek something more casual.
What’s Keeping Americans Up at Night?
In today’s divisive landscape, it seems like all anyone can talk about is politics. The same is true for couples, who are significantly more likely in 2020 than in 2019 to argue about politics at least once per week. Couples consider economic crisis (15 percent), climate change (19 percent) and terrorism (29 percent) to be the most serious possible threats to society, and women are significantly more likely than men to be concerned about climate change and terrorism, while men are more concerned about an economic crisis and epidemics, according to the eharmony news release.
- Compared to Millennials and Gen X, Gen Z is more likely to say they consider the most serious possible threats to society to be climate change (21 percent), poverty (16 percent), armed conflicts (9 percent) and epidemics (6 percent).
- Half of the couples say both members of the relationship are very concerned about climate change.
- Men are more likely to say they talk about environmental issues than women.
End the Stigma
As Americans from all walks of life open up about their challenges with mental health publicly, people are more inclined than ever to share their own stories and seek help. Unsurprisingly, mental health issues take a toll on people’s happiness in general, but 63 percent of all couples say their relationship has had a positive impact on their mental health. While the spotlight can often be on young men as it relates to mental health, women are more likely to talk about or suffer from a mental health issue.
- Women are more often the ones in the relationship to identify mental health issues either internally or in their partners.
- Women compared to men are significantly more likely to say the following mental health issues have affected her or her partner: depression (30 percent vs. 17 percent), anxiety (41 percent vs. 23 percent), insomnia (18 percent vs. 15 percent) and a clinically diagnosed disorder (18 percent vs. 11 percent).
Men Want Love – Just Ask Them!
Contrary to outdated gender stereotypes, 71 percent of men feel at least very happy in their current relationship. Men are more likely than women to believe that being in love is more important than being married (70 percent vs. 64 percent) and are also more likely to believe that being married has made/would make their relationship happier (68 percent vs 46 percent). Men are stepping it up, the news release added.
- Nearly 50 percent of men feel they share equally in the household chore responsibilities.
- 73 percent of men believe it’s important that they and their partner spend the rest of their lives together, which is up from last year at 67 percent.
- Men are significantly more likely than women to say they married their current spouse because they wanted to have kids.
About “The Happiness Index: Love and Relationships in America” Report
“The Happiness Index: Love and Relationships in America” 2020 report was commissioned by eharmony and conducted by Harris Interactive. This is the third year of the Happiness Index survey. It was fielded online between January 17 – 29, 2020 and surveyed 2,391 participants. Participants (both heterosexual and LGBT) qualified if they were aged 21+ and were married, cohabiting or in a long-term relationship. Results were weighted to be nationally representative by age, gender and region.
Source: eharmony, Inc.