Looking for true love? Take your time: study

Fri Aug 20, 2010 4:47pm EDT
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By Zachary Goelman

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Couples who get to know each other before being intimate have a better chance of having a lasting relationship, but in some cases even a casual fling can lead to true love, according to a new research.

Most of the 56 percent of 642 adults questioned in the study who said they had waited until they got serious before they had sex reported having a high quality relationship.

The number was higher than for the 27 percent of people who had sex while dating casually and the 17 percent who were intimate while in a non-romantic relationship.

"There's something about the characteristics of people who wait before sex that is linked to higher-quality relationships," said sociology professor Anthony Paik of the University of Iowa.

Paik, who reported the findings in the journal Social Science Research, said the research suggests that the courtship process acts as a screening mechanism.

"The debate is 'why can't we have sex now?' The expectation is that sex should occur very quickly. But doing so, you're losing out on some information that might be useful," he explained in an interview.

It's almost an economic equation, he added.

"On average, the more costly the process leading into the relationship, the more likely it is to work. That's what the data would suggest."   Continued...

<p>A couple embraces as a subway train arrives in the station in New York May 24, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>