Enduring Love?

Couple Relationships in the 21st Century

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 LGBTQ+ 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 is focusing 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 is 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.

This research was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (RES-062-23-3056)

In an exciting new development, Professor Jacqui Gabb is now working with Paired on a new app for couples. Drawing upon Enduring Love? study findings, the app aims to improve communication and deepen intimacy through daily interactions.



How lockdown affected our relationships

Professor Gabb talks to Platinum magazine about how couples are managing to sustain or even strengthen their relationships during the pandemic (pp.111-115)

5 July 2021, 14:52

A conversation a day keeps heartbreak away

Research by the OU and University of Brighton shows that technology can play a significant role in improving relationship quality. Our study found that couples who used the Paired app over the course of 3 months saw a significant improvement in communication, emotional connection, conflict management, and comfort in talking about sex issues, and the more couples used the app the better the benefits for their relationship https://www.getpaired.com/oureport.

22 March 2021, 16:00

HuffPost feature, sex and relationships

Why Not Having Sex Can Actually Be Good For Your Relationship, Professor Gabb talks to the Huff Post about why sexual frequency says nothing about the strength of intimacy.

24 November 2020, 11:53

Contact us

For further details on the project and all media enquiries, please contact: 

Principal Investigator

Professor Jacqui Gabb

Chair of Sociology and Intimacy



The Open University
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
School of Social Sciences and Global Studies
Walton Hall
Milton Keynes