Intimacy, Sports More Likely to Cause Strain in Western Canadian Couples

Residents of British Columbia and Alberta report being on the same page as their spouse or partner on money and chores.

Vancouver, BC – Western Canadians appear to be doing a good job connecting with their spouses or partners on issues such as chores around the house and financial decisions, and face arguments more frequently on intimacy and sports, a new Insights West poll had found.

The online survey of representative provincial samples asked British Columbians and Albertans who are currently in a relationship several questions about their spouse or partner, including how they met and issues that may cause tension in their relationship.

Nine-in-ten Albertans (89%) say they approve of the performance of their spouse or partner over the past year. The proportion is slightly lower in British Columbia, where 84% give a positive rating to their spouse or partner.

While there is no gender gap when it comes to the way British Columbians feel about their current spouse or partner, men in Alberta demonstrate an extraordinary amount of admiration for their wives or partners (95%), while the rating for men from women drops to 85%.

A question related to moments when a person may not be on the same page as their spouse or partner shows that the least contentious issue is deciding which restaurants to go to, with 86% of British Columbians and 82% of Albertans saying they are in agreement with their partner “all of the time” or “most of the time” on this.

Western Canadian couples also fare well on providing emotional support for each other (79% in BC, 84% in AB), the amount of time spent together (76% in BC, 83% in AB), money and spending decisions (75% in BC, 76% in AB), the quality of time spent with each other (72% in BC, 82% in AB) and doing chores around the house  (65% in BC, 70% in AB).

There also is widespread agreement on which movies to watch (65% in BC, 65% in AB), but Albertans are more likely to be on the same page with their partner when it comes to watching television at home (62% in BC, 71% in AB) and setting the thermostat than British Columbians  (65% in BC, 71% in AB).

Among couples with children in both provinces, 82% of spouses or partners are in agreement on child rearing “all of the time” or “most of the time.” Sports are a more controversial topic, with 59% of AB and 51% of BC sports fans saying they agree with their partner “all of the time” or “most of the time.”

About three-in-five residents of the two provinces say they are on the same page as their spouse or partner when it comes to politics (62% in BC, 60% in AB) and religion (61% in BC, 62% in AB).

Albertans are more likely to be on the same page as their spouse or partner on intimacy, in both frequency (53% in BC, 58% in AB) and variety (58% in BC, 65% in AB).

“Politics and religion are not particularly problematic within relationships in Western Canada,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs at Insights West. “Most of the disagreements between spouses or partners that were reported in the survey have to do with intimacy and sports, whereas traditionally more complex issues—such as chores and money—are not creating much tension.”

An introduction by a friend is the most common way to meet a spouse or partner (32% in BC, 28% in AB), followed by meeting a person at work (20% in BC, 22% in AB) and meeting a person at school (11% in BC, 13% in AB). One-in-ten respondents in the two provinces (11% in BC, 9% in AB) met their current spouse or partner through an online dating service.

Valentine’s Day

More than three-in-five residents of the two Western Canadian provinces (61% in BC, 65% in AB) deem Valentine’s Day “a waste of time and money”, and a minority (32% in BC, 27% in AB) consider it “an important day.”

In the two provinces, 85% of residents regard Valentine’s Day as “a commercial enterprise.” However, while 50% of Albertans will not do anything special on Valentine’s Day, only 39% of British Columbians will behave in the same fashion.

“As far as celebrations go, Valentine’s Day is not specially momentous for Western Canadians,” continues Canseco. “But British Columbians are more likely to do something, anything, to observe the day than Albertans.”

The favourite activities for those who will be celebrating Valentine’s Day are giving a greeting card to the spouse or partner (26% in BC, 20% in AB), going out to dinner (23% in BC, 18% in AB) and cooking a special meal at home (20% in BC, 17% in AB).


About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary and has ten full-time and five part-time employees.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from February 6 to February 10, 2015, among 804 British Columbians and 592 Albertans who are aged 18+ and are Your Insights panel members. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error, which measures sample variability, is +/- 3.5 percentage points for British Columbia and +/- 3.9 percentage points for Alberta, nineteen times out of twenty. Click to view the detailed data tabulations for British Columbia and Alberta.

For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West


Photograph: Fly