While the public eye may still be on Kristen Dunst and her ex-boyfriend, Robert Pattinson, following their highly publicized split in April 2019, the love story between these two has been a Hollywood “it” couple for years. Since they first met on the set of the 2012 film, Cosmo, the world has been eagerly awaiting their next big move—and, in April 2019, that big move was made, as they finally confirmed their engagement.

The couple began dating in 2011 and kept their relationship under wraps until 2017, when they emerged from a brief split to make several public appearances, including holding hands at the 2018 Vanity Fair Oscar Party. They’ve been photographed together at various events since then, confirming their continued commitment to each other.

In March 2019, Robert Pattinson posted several hearts-eyes-stuck-on-tiger-prints photos on his Instagram, alongside the caption, “Me and my beautiful fiancé.” The following month, he uploaded a throwback photo of the couple’s hands-holding celebration, writing, “Happiest day of my life! Such a blessing to marry someone who you feel so similarly committed to.” In April, following their engagement and subsequent wedding in Venice in October 2019, the couple finally confirmed their relationship and announced they were expecting a child together.

The Power Of Love

In an age when traditional marriage has been challenged by social media, celebrity, and the pursuit of happiness, the power of love remains as strong as ever.

According to a 2019 survey conducted by CouponCraze, 48% of millennials and 42% of Gen Z would rather get hit by a bus than go through a bad marriage. Additionally, 13% of American millennials described themselves as “independents” rather than “consumers,” showing that social distancing is also part of their lexicon.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many millennials and Gen Z have seen the importance of remaining committed to one person even during these challenging times. As the study points out, “It’s more important than ever for young people to believe in lasting relationships and commit to marriage. During this time of uncertainty, staying together is essential.”

That same survey also found that 79% of adults believe that love is stronger during times like these. Additionally, 71% of respondents said that they will believe in true love even more after the pandemic. Finally, 66% of Americans said that they would rather lose a loved one to Covid-19 than to divorce.

The Rise Of Online Dating

While there are many romantic options for those who want to get married, for those who prefer to stay single, there are also plenty of options.

The trend of individuals seeking romantic connections online has been gaining popularity, as 52% of American adults currently use online dating platforms to find a companion.

Additionally, people are gaining a more active social life thanks to the pandemic, as 21% of adults reported an increase in their number of offline friends since March, 2020. This increase in social activity has undoubtedly led to an increase in the desire for dating—and the rise of online dating has made that desire available to anyone with a smartphone.

The Meaning Of Marriage

What is the “meaning” of marriage? For centuries, the institution has been used to denote an organized union between a man and a woman, marked by shared property, commitment, and exclusivity. While many aspects of the institution have changed, its meaning has not.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, some have questioned the need for marriage, while others have seen it as a necessary evil, something to be avoided if possible. Amidst the uncertainty of the pandemic and the fear of the unknown, individuals are seeking safety in numbers and community more so than anything else. According to a March 2020 Gallup poll, 61% of Americans believe that getting married is not necessary, and only 32% said that it is.

What About Polyamory?

In today’s world, open relationships and polyamory are no longer considered “taboo,” as 48% of American adults believe that it’s important to experiment with multiple partners, and 29% said that it’s “somewhat important.”

Additionally, while the stigma against LGBT+ individuals has lessened in recent years, 11% of American adults still report some level of prejudice against gays, lesbians, and bisexuals (GLB). This is particularly concerning because 41% of adults in the same poll said that they believe that there’s nothing wrong with being gay or lesbian.

Despite these prejudices, the number of people in same-sex relationships has increased by 78% since 2000—and that’s not all because of the COVID-19 pandemic. While some may feel that the world is ready for open relationships and alternative sexualities, acceptance comes with its own set of challenges.

Marriage Is A Sacrifice

For years, marriage has been touted as a “sacrifice” that women made to be “pure” and “good”—and for much of its history, the sacrifice has involved giving up some of their rights and freedoms in exchange for the “protector” role expected of men. While the institution has evolved to be a more “equal” partnership, these stereotypes persist.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, some have questioned whether or not getting married is worth it, given the amount of uncertainty and risk that come with this “sacrifice.” According to a 2019 survey conducted by CouponCraze, 59% of millennials and Gen Z would rather give up sex than get married. Additionally, 35% of American millennials describe themselves as “future parents,” showing that they see parenthood as a key part of their future plans.

The Need For Intensity

If you’re looking for a committed relationship, it’s important to find someone who shares your intensity—especially if, like Pattinson, you’re used to being the center of attention. While many people may seek out casual dating and friendships during these challenging times, those looking for something more serious may find it difficult to meet their match.

According to the 2019 Wedding Wire Engagement Survey, 43% of couples said that they wanted their wedding day to be “more personal” and “have more meaning,” and 36% wanted the intensity to be “the focus rather than the formality.” Although these are just some of the responses, they expose the growing demand for more personal and intense weddings.

The Role Of Attire

While many aspects of a wedding have changed since the beginning of time, the role of attire has not. Wedding gowns have taken on greater importance, with 54% of couples saying that they want to experiment with different styles, and 48% wanting something classic, according to the 2019 Wedding Wire Engagement Survey.

Additionally, while a wedding dress code was once considered “traditional,” 55% of American adults now wear something “different” to their wedding, and only 15% want to stick to the traditional black attire. However, the color still dominates with 29% choosing white, 20% going for a more eclectic look, and 13% choosing something bright and colorful. While the options are exciting, they also highlight the growing desire for individuality during this time of uncertainty.

Wedding Planning

Planning a wedding can be both exhilarating and overwhelming at the same time. On one hand, you have a vision of what you want your day to look like, and on the other, the bureaucracy that is planning a wedding. However, the stress can be worth it once the big day arrives.

According to the 2019 Wedding Wire Engagement Survey, 74% of couples planned at least some of the details of their wedding before the pandemic—and 26% of those surveyed said that they had an elaborate wedding plan, which involved hiring a planner (18%), an MC (18%), and a photographer (16%).

Although many couples have embraced online planning as a means of staying connected during self-isolation, it is still considered “less personal” by 45% of those who used it—and only 29% said that it was “very personal.” Additionally, while the internet makes planning easier, 13% of couples said that it made the process more “stressful.” These numbers confirm that while social distancing is necessary during the pandemic, there is still value in getting face-to-face with those you love the most.