December 1, 2008

Economic Woes Can Affect Single and Married Relationships Differently, Survey Finds eHarmony Survey Suggests Relationships Often Help People Cope
with Stressful Times

PASADENA, Calif., December 8, 2008—Bank accounts and retirement plans are not the only things taking a hit in the current financial downturn. More than half of all Americans (57%), and three in five men (61%), are feeling stress in their love lives as a result of their personal economic situations, a national survey sponsored by eHarmony, the Internet's most-trusted relationship services provider, and conducted by Opinion Research Corp, revealed.

“People may not always immediately make the connection between an external stressor, such as the state of the economy, and their close relationships, but our survey shows that people who are stressed about the economy may be drawn to long-term relationships even if they are not aware of it,” noted eHarmony Senior Research Scientist Dr. Gian Gonzaga.

In eHarmony’s 2008 Relationship Anxiety Survey, most unmarried people (69%) believed that the current economic climate does not affect their desire to be in a long-term relationship. However, those who said they are at least a little stressed about the economy were 14% more likely to believe they would be in a committed, long term relationship by the end of next year, compared to those who were not stressed about the economy.

“This makes sense,” Gonzaga said. “Close relationships help people cope with stress, so we gravitate toward finding and maintaining them when times are tough. Across the board, the people we surveyed said companionship, not financial stability, is what appeals to them most about being in a long-term relationship.”

Although desires for relationships are greater during stressful times, for married people, financial stress is also one of the most common causes of conflict. Gonzaga stated that couples who do not see eye to eye on financial matters or cannot communicate about them constructively may experience more stress in their relationship as a result.

An example can be seen among married women. The Relationship Anxiety Survey examined how optimistic or pessimistic people are about their relationships relative to the amount of stress they believe their personal economic situations are causing in their love lives.

As a group, married women believed there was a 92% chance they would remain in a committed, long-term relationship by the end of December 2009. However, those who most-strongly associated stress in their personal financial situations with stress in their love lives believed there was a 15% chance, on average, that they would no longer be in a long-term relationship by the end of next year. Women who did not believe their financial situations were causing stress in their relationships were more optimistic. They believed there was only a 5% chance, on average, that they would not be in a long-term relationship by the end of next year.

“A large body of research has shown that financial stress can put a lot of pressure on a marriage,” Gonzaga said. “Partners spend less time together because they have to work more. There are often more fights over bills and household budgets. And because women more often nurture the relationship, they are more likely to sense this stress and the effects it might have.”

Gonzaga noted that the same pattern was not seen in men. He cautions men to be attuned to the additional strain the economic climate could be putting on their relationships and to communicate with their partners openly and constructively. He also noted that the more similar people are in terms of how they handle and value money, the easier it can be to have those conversations and resolve conflicts.

“The more you understand how your partner reacts to stress and the more supportive you can be of each other, the more likely you are to make it through the trying times together,” he said. “Couples who are similar to each other are more likely to have an easier time understanding each other, which gives them an advantage when it comes to working through the rough patches in their relationships.”

eHarmony’s patented Compatibility Matching System® matches people based on personality trait similarities that are most likely to result in highly successful long-term relationships.

Survey Methodology
The eHarmony economy and relationships survey was conducted by Opinion Research Corporation's ONLINE CARAVAN® among a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1,092 adults age 18 years of age and older. Results were weighted by age, sex, geographic region and race to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total U.S. adult population. Interviewing for this survey was completed from November 10-11, 2008.

About eHarmony, Inc. Santa Monica, Calif.-based eHarmony, Inc. eHarmony, Inc. ( was founded in 2000 and is a pioneer in using relationship science to match singles seeking long-term relationships. Its service presents users with compatible matches based on key dimensions of personality that are scientifically proven to predict highly successful long-term relationships. New peer-reviewed research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) ranks eHarmony as number one for producing the most marriages and the most satisfied marriages. Of all meeting places measured, eHarmony also had the lowest divorce rate.b On average, 438 people marry every day in the U.S. as a result of being matched on eHarmony, nearly 4% of new marriages.b Currently, eHarmony operates online matchmaking services in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and Brazil.
bBased on data on 19,131 marriages from 2005 to 2012 by Harris Interactive, couples that met on eHarmony had significantly fewer breakups than couples who met via all other methods combined. Combining methods that account for less than 1% of marriages sampled."

* 2012 survey conducted for eHarmony by Harris Interactive.®

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