Those currently in a relationship were more optimistic about the chances of sticking with a partner for life – even if their current partner might not be “the one”, the research showed.
Of the 1,800 men and women interviewed by the Allensbach Institute polling company (IfD), 72 percent said they were in a relationship while 28 percent were single.
Almost all of the people in a relationship said they believed in the idea of love lasting forever while 56 percent of singletons said they thought it was an illusion. And around 70 percent of those going it alone said they were either happy that way, or indifferent.
Yet while just nine percent told the researchers they were miserable in their relationship, a further 16 percent admitted they were unsure if the person they were with was the one they would stay with forever.
“There is this idealistic concept of a love for life, but many ask themselves whether they have reached this target with their current partner,” said Renate Köcher, Allensbach manager.
People who had gone through five or more break-ups were still more positive than those flying solo, however, with 50 percent of them hanging on to the idea of love, the poll showed.
Respect and mutual appreciation were named by most of those taking part as important in a relationship, but when it came to arguments, sex and intimacy the answers were far broader.
Those deemed to be better-educated and higher earners said the ability to have a good argument was important, while around 74 percent of women in this bracket said it was vital that their partner be a good father. Whether the men were asked if it was important that a woman be a good mother, was not included in the report.
The less academic and lower earning women respondents were not so insistent on considering the parenting potential of their men, with just 53 percent rating it as a priority.
Sex became less important to respondents the older they were, with 47 percent of the men over 60 saying it was very important that their woman could cook well.
The study showed that in general the importance of sex and passion in a relationship waned with age and that after 30, harmony and day-to-day support were more highly valued than fireworks in the bedroom.