May 25, 2016

A fifth of couples living in “distressed” relationships

A survey of more than 20,000 Britons in relationships found that 18 per cent of people argued with their partner regularly or had considered separating.

If the data collated by the charity Relate is extrapolated across the entire population it would suggest that close to three million people nationwide are currently in “distressed” relationships.

Around one in ten of those surveyed said they occasionally regretted getting married or moving in together while almost half reported at least occasional quarrels.

Parents who have children under the age of 16 are slightly more likely to have fractious relationships, which is a concern for the experts who have highlighted the strain that the situation can place on youngsters.

“It is not just the actual breakdown of the relationship itself, it's specifically the conflict that surrounds that,” said Dr David Marjoribanks, from Relate.

“It means that when relationships end, it is not deemed to inevitably harm children, far from it. It is the conflict in intact relationships that can be just as damaging, as when relationships end.”

The Understanding Society study, which was completed between 2013-2015, identified jobs, financial matters and childcare among the most common causes of tension for couples.

Relate counsellor Arabella Russell said: “Through my work I see countless couples in distressed relationships. The distress comes in the disconnection and it’s a very painful place to be. Often the couples I see are arguing constantly.”

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