GIVEN the chance, would you leave, re-do or re-woo in your relationship?
New research released by Universal Sony Pictures Home Entertainment to coincide with the release The Vow on DVD reveals the true feelings of Australians when it comes to romance and relationships.
Inspired by a true story, The Vow sees lead character Leo (Channing Tatum) having to re-woo his wife Paige (Rachel McAdams) after a terrible car accident leaves her with amnesia and no memory of the last five years of her life or him.
Universal Sony asked Australians what they would do if they found themselves in the same situation and, while 88% said they would similarly re-woo their partner, two million Australians would take the opportunity to simply leave the relationship.
While there is no exact science to finding and maintaining love, one of Australia's leading relationship experts, Emma Merkas believes that relationships experience 'life stages' and our feeling towards our partner, and whether we decide to stay or leave the relationship, are influenced by different factors at each stage.
According to Merkas this evaluation process - stay, leave, redo - is common as couples move through the three stages of a relationship which she describes as:
- Romantic Love
"It's interesting to look at how the statistics relating to happiness and the notions of leave, redo or re-woo change according to while life stage the relationship is at," she said.
"It also differs between men and women. What's common across the board, however, and no real surprise, is that 97% of Australians agree all relationships require a constant level of effort and 'wooing' to keep things alive and exciting."
Stage One: Romantic Love
The Romantic Love stage is designed to show partners the full potential of their relationship together - they can do no wrong, want to be around each other all the time and there is a heightened sense of spontaneity.
Of those surveyed, 68% of men believe they did most of the romancing during this stage, compared to 26% of women.
"We call this stage the honeymoon period and it is literally sheer ecstasy," Merkas said.
"Your brain chemistry in this stage of love mimics someone who has a drug addiction, as it is flooded with endorphins. You don't even have to try to be romantic, you just are.
"It's easy to work out when we're in the Romantic love phase of the relationship. It's no wonder 74% of us want to go back there!"
"The Romantic Love period is short-lived and couples must soon decide to leave, stay or redo their first stages of love."
Stage Two: Attachment
The strongest relationships move to the Attachment stage, where couples build comfortable and long-lasting bonds.
"Different hormones govern out systems in this phase of love and it's a more relaxed place to be. Nights on the couch in trackies suddenly look much better than swinging from the chandeliers," Merkas explains.
The danger in this stage is couples can fall so firmly into their comfortable rut that 53% of those surveyed believe their partner takes them for granted and they both no longer try hard to be romantic.
However, on average, 97% of people in their stage are still happy with their relationship and are less likely to leave their partner.
During this phase the happiness factor differs between men and women, with 61% of males more likely to be happy compared to only 49% of females.
"This isn't a surprise with women being the ones having the highest expectations about romance and wooing," Merkas said.
"It seems that all of us, but particularly the men, need to step up and put a little more effort into rekindling the romance with their partners to keep them happy and show they aren't taking them for granted."
Stage Three: Re-boot/ Re-woo
At this stage the relationship is routine and call all-too-often fall into the boring basket and eyes can begin to search for greener, more exciting pastures.
Approximately 64% of Australians agree that a relationship becomes stale after a long period of time and nearly one in three (31%) of those surveyed are jealous of the romance in their friends' relationships.
An extension of the Attachment phase, the Re-boot or Re-woo phase is a chance for couples to do new things together to spike levels of dopamine to keep the love alive.
Merkas recommends date nights and striving for spontaneity again, which is proven to mimic the same brain chemistry as that of the Romantic Love stage.
"What everyone needs to remember is that we tend to only see the surface of other peoples' relationships," she said.
"You're much more likely to put a status update on Facebook showing the two dozen roses your husband sent you for your birthday rather than one about the all-out, plate-throwing fight you had over whose turn it is to do the dishes."
"The internet has made it easy to edit your life to only show the best bits, but don't be sucked in. Even the greatest couples around you have their bad days too!"
Some finals words of advice from the expert...
"Whether true love exists in real life as it does in the movies is up for interpretation. Every relationship is different and like most things, you only get out what you put in.
"Before deciding to discard a relationship, regardless of what stage you're at, considering what makes you happy in the first place is important.
"As Leo does in The Vow, I'm all for a re-woo and would call on Australians to step up and re-woo their partners, men and women included.
"Love can be hard work, but there is no reason to be jealous of others' relationships when you have the ability to inject romance into your own day, instead of just sitting around waiting for it to happen or just accepting the hand you're dealt.
About The Vow
Inspired by a true story, The Vow sees Leo (Channing Tatum) devastated when a car accident plunges his wife Paige (Rachel McAdams) into a deep coma. She miraculously recovers - but the last five years of her memory has vanished. Suddenly Leo finds himself married to a stranger who can't remember anything about him.
Naively, Paige falls back under the influence of her controlling parents (Sam Neill and Jessica Lange) and reconnects with her ex-fiance (Scott Speedman).
Leo desperately tries to recreate the moments that shaped their romance, but can he rekindle the passion before he loses his soul mate forever?
The Vow is the emotional journey of how far one man will go to recreate the love he and his wife once shared.
Full of bonus features and director's commentary, The Vow is out now on Blu-Ray and DVD.
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