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Navigating Love in a Post-Pandemic World: Understanding Young Adults' Views on Short- and Long-Term Romantic Relationships.

The uncertain future due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the technological advancements may have altered young adults' experiences of romantic relationships. It is unclear whether individuals will continue to prefer traditional long-term romantic relationships (LTRR) or opt for short-term ones (STRR). This research describes how young adults in Malaysia perceive LTRR and STRR. Using the structured approach of the theory of social representations, data were collected from 512 participants; 238 (46.48%) male; Mage 21.75; majority were heterosexual and students, and analyzed using prototypical analysis to reveal high consensus elements. Five observations were made: (1) females prioritize "love" in both STRR and LTRR, while males prioritize "love" only in LTRR; (2) females prioritize "marriage" in LTRR, while males prioritize "trust," "comfort," and "stability." Males do not consider "marriage" as part of a LTRR; (3) both males and females view STRR positively, while LTRR are viewed more practically; (4) "sex" is a core element in STRR but is absent in LTRR; (5) males differentiate between STRR and LTRR with no overlapping elements. These findings provide insight into the social representations of romantic relationships among young adults in Malaysia and suggest future directions for research in the field.

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