Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Supported by

How Las Vegas affects love, marriage and relationships of all sorts

Couples wait in line for marriage licenses at the Marriage License Bureau, Friday, April 2, 2021, in Las Vegas.
John Locher
Couples wait in line for marriage licenses at the Marriage License Bureau, Friday, April 2, 2021, in Las Vegas.

It’s Valentines Day!

Relationships in Las Vegas often bear the unique imprint of the city's vibrant and unconventional atmosphere.

Vegas is fast-paced, 24 hours, and places to meet can be pretty unconventional — we still have a transient population. Our economy means schedules don’t always match up.

At the same time, many of us embrace the diversity of our population, we welcome the idiosyncrasies and differences.

So given all of that, how do we make relationships work? Whether it's love for the self, polyamorous relationships, swinging, marriages; what are the best ways to cultivate those relationships?


Las Vegas is a 24/7 city, filled with sin city temptations all around. And, while Nevada is considered the marriage capital of the world, it's also the divorce capital, as the state has the highest divorce rate in the country.

So, do all these things make Vegas a unique place to date? Vaida Kazlauskaite, assistant professor at UNLV's Family and Couple therapy program and licensed marriage and family therapist intern thinks so.

"It has its unique challenges. It is a 24 hour town, so you can do whatever you want, play with whomever you want," said Kazlauskaite. "But it's all about priorities. What are you looking for? Are you looking for a good time? Are you looking for something more serious? It just depends on what you want. I also think playing around and getting that out of your system is a big deal when growing up. Maybe you want to live the non traditional lifestyle for a while, but is it something that you want for the rest of your life? Or will you eventually get it out of your system and then go back to the traditional routes? Either or is fine. Maybe you meet someone who also doesn't want to live a traditional lifestyle? Whatever they desire, whatever works for both of you, I say go for it."

Additionally; Sara Jordan, professor and program coordinator of UNLV's Family and Couple Therapy and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist said the overnight shift work culture can be hard on couples. However, it's not really about how much they see each other.

"With different schedules, sometimes our sleep patterns are off, our circadian rhythms are off and it can make it very challenging for couples to connect," said Jordan. "You have to really be intentional about the quality time that you spend together. Can it be better not to be with each other all the time? Absolutely. In fact, if you're together all the time, that's pretty unique. And if it is, then you may not be as happy as well. So I think it's about quality, not quantity."


The philosophy of self-love and self-empowerment has gained quite a bit of traction over the years, especially with the younger generation. Many espouse the belief that it's not really possible to effectively love someone else, until you love yourself.

Monica Garcia is the founder and director of the local organization, The Love Yourself Foundation. They hold events in the arts district in downtown Las Vegas; ranging from live performances, communal meditation, yoga, panel discussions, live art, all with an emphasis on self-love and expression. They also have a podcast where many of the topics discussed center on self-love.

Garcia said the idea for the foundation came after she decided to pursue self-love herself.

"I was always very environmentally aware and focused on how the human world can treat the planet better," said Garcia. "But what happened was that around 2016 I hit a wall of depression, and then in 2017, I went through a near death experience. I also was not in a good relationship. Suddenly, I didn't have any foundation on what it meant to treat myself. My predisposition was always to give and to nurture people, but I was missing me. So thankfully, I was able to take a timeout after that very difficult time. But, then I had a lightbulb. I asked myself, how can I expect people to care about other people, let alone the earth, if they don't care about themselves? From that point forward, my focus shifted. I need to help people learn to love themselves and then from there see the ripple."

Professor Jordan said self-love is a good way to improve your relationships.

"Being a happy and healthy person yourself is going to attract other happy, healthy people. If you are not emotionally and psychologically healthy you are going to attract other people that are also not healthy."

Garcia said her foundation is working on a program that will provide mental health resources to hospitality workers and artists in Las Vegas at no charge. Her foundation will hold a fundraiser in March.

Guests: Sara Jordan, professor, program coordinator, UNLV Couple and Family Therapy Program, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist; Vaida Kazlauskaite, assistant professor, UNLV Couple and Family Therapy program; Monica Garcia, director, Love Yourself Foundation

Stay Connected
Christopher Alvarez is a news producer and podcast audio editor at Nevada Public Radio for the State of Nevada program, and has been with them for over a year.
Related Content
  • Whichever you’re looking for, it’s been Nevada’s business to make it easier
  • Welcome to Desert Companion's first-ever (and we hope not last!) love issue! Inside, find stories about Nevada's history as a marriage — and divorce — mecca, chocolatiers making the best sweets for your Valentine's sweetheart, and more.