Apr 14, 2020
Case Study

How couples meet and stay together

Maximilian Zachow

Valentine’s Day is arriving and whether or not you share this day with someone, you probably already happened to think about how your perfect partner and relationship would look like. If you want to know what data (source in footnote) says about one of our most essential questions “How couples meet and stay together?”, we can provide you some helpful insights.


Most of the couples meet at work or in school, followed closely by nightclubs, bars or private parties. The gym, as a place to meet your chosen one is almost as popular as online dating services or apps. Also interesting is the insight we could extract when comparing gays and lesbians with each other. More than half of the gay couples say they met in bars or parties, but only less than 20% of lesbian couples met there. Lesbians usually meet each other at work or in school.

Have you ever wondered if there is a dependency between how couples were introduced to each other and how happy their relationship turn out to be? If your family introduces someone to you, be careful! Most of the people that met their partner through their family later have poor or very poor relationships. Based on the data, we observed that being brave pays off. Couples that met each other through self-introduction are happier than others. Isn’t that encouraging? Tomorrow, you should make the first step to your crush, it is data’s recommendation


Happy couples usually state that their parents approve of their partner. Apparently, it is easier to for someone to enjoy a relationship knowing that you can count on your family’s support as well. Besides that, we also see that the working status has a very high impact on the quality of a relationship. Someone that is unemployed will find it harder to maintain an excellent relationship than someone that has a regular job. Most happy with their love lives are Entrepreneurs. One could conclude that personal well-being and fulfillment has to come first before being able to enjoy a stable relationship.


Money doesn’t buy happiness. That’s what you often read when you come across social media or online platforms right? However, what we found out is that money definitely does buy an excellent relationship for people of the age of 60 and older.

The average household income for relationships that describe themselves as very poor, poor or fair is $32,000. Excellent relationships earn on average around $13,000 more and receive a total income of $45,000. Focusing on your career, therefore, is not at all selfish. The next time your partner complains about you always staying too long in the office, feel free to refer to our analysis to show that after all you mostly care about the quality of your relationship.

You can access and explore the project by yourself here: https://embed.graphext.com/3d13371a19a9fe97/index.html

Let’s find some more insights together!

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Dataset source:
Rosenfeld, Michael J., Reuben J. Thomas, and Maja Falcon. 2018. How Couples Meet and Stay Together, Waves 1, 2, and 3: Public version 3.04, plus wave 4 supplement version 1.02 and wave 5 supplement version 1.0 and wave 6 supplement ver 1.0 [Computer files]. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Libraries.

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