eHarmony Releases Annual ‘The Happiness Index: Love and Relationships in America’ Report

eHarmony
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How in love are couples in America? What exactly makes a relationship thrive? For the second year running, eHarmony has released The Happiness Index: Love and Relationships in America to answer these questions and others. The national survey took place online between December 13, 2018 and January 3, 2019, with 2,327 interviews conducted by Harris Interactive.

eHarmony wastes no time announcing the good news: 83 percent of Americans are happy in their romantic relationships. Those who are blissfully paired up say the secret to their success is having a monogamous relationship with open communication, a healthy sex life, and an equal partnership between both halves. Only one in nine people say they are unhappy with their partner or spouse. These troubled couples are often together for companionship rather than love, have infrequent sex, and feel a sense of inequality in their relationship.

This year, a strong correlation between romantic happiness and an interest in social justice issues emerged. Couples who reported shared awareness of important cultural movements, such as #MeToo, also reported increased relationship happiness. Additional links emerged between relationship happiness and openness about mental health, honest political discourse, and voting in the 2018 midterm elections.

As social and cultural norms shift, have we changed the way we date? According to the survey, today's relationships emphasize deeper, more meaningful connections over looks. Overall for both men and women, being happy and intelligent are the most desirable characteristics in a partner. Men value happiness, attraction and health more than women, while women value emotional and financial stability more than men. Both sexes find that seeking a committed relationship from the outset is more fulfilling than starting out casually.

Despite what the old adage says, opposites do not attract. Sharing personality traits is one of the strongest predictors of happiness in a relationship. Similar education, income, political allegiance, and power in the relationship also contribute to making a couple significantly more happy than average. Happy couples also have more sex, in fact 60% of people surveyed have sex at least once a week.

Communication remains key to healthy relationships. More than half of Americans say mutual compromise is the best way to resolve a disagreement. Of the five love languages (words of affirmation, gifts, quality time, acts of service, and physical touch), the happiest relationships place the most importance on words of affirmation. Gift giving is perceived to be the least important.

"Our survey results encapsulate not just the state of relationships in America, but the state of mind of many Americans as we confront monumental shifts in social norms and expectations as a result of movements like #MeToo," says Grant Langston, chief executive officer for eHarmony. "We feel invigorated by the positivity shown by the youngest couples among us and by those who have embraced a sense of cultural awareness, and it's clear that for a growing number of people across generations, qualities like intelligence and happiness are considered desirable in a partner."

For more on this dating service you can read our review of eHarmony.