Although it’s common to hear of expats whose primary motivation for moving abroad is to find a new relationship, surveys, including one taken in Cuenca, indicate that the majority are already in committed relationships when they relocate.
In all, a survey by InterNations found that 91% of expats from the U.S. live together with a partner. More than 80% report that they are satisfied with their relationships, with 44% saying they are very satisfied.
Although most single U.S. expats say they believe establishing new relationships is no harder overseas than back home, 38% say that expat life makes finding and keeping relationships more difficult.
In a 2017 CuencaHighLife survey of Cuenca expats, 76% said they were in an established relationship, with 66% saying they were in the same relationship when they arrived in Cuenca. Of the 11% who formed new relationships in Cuenca, half reported that they had hooked up with another expat while the other half had found an Ecuadorian parntner.
Of the respondents to the Cuenca survey, 15% reported that the relationship they were in when they arrived in Ecuador had since broken up, usually because one partner liked Cuenca and expat life and the other didn’t. Of those, 66% formed new relationships while 33% remained single.
An informal Cuenca survey conducted in late 2019, just before the onset of the Covid pandemic, showed similar results.
The InterNation’s survey shows that, worldwide, most U.S. expats most frequently form friendships with residents of the country in which they live but who speak English. The result is opposite in Cuenca, where 72% of expats say they make friends primarily with other expats.