Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

One in five UK couples are at risk of break-up, report finds

65889071_thumbnail.jpg

One in five couples are in "distressed" relationships and regularly consider separation or divorce, according to a study carried out by the charity Relate.

The study, based on a survey of 20,980 people in relationships from 2013-15, suggested that as many as 2.87 million people (around 18% of married or cohabiting couples) could be in a relationship on the verge of breaking-up.

Almost half of respondents (49%) admitted to bickering, while 6.8% reported severe levels of arguing within the relationship. Meanwhile, one in 10 partners admitted at least occasionally regretting getting married or living together, while 9% said they at least occasionally considered divorce or separation.

The pressure of jobs, finances and childcare were found to be flash points which caused the most arguments.

Those with children under 16 were slightly more likely to be in distressed relationships, and the report found that becoming a first-time parent was "one of life's events most likely to reduce relationship quality."

Money worries

Interestingly, the study also revealed that while money could make marriages more stable, it could also make couples more likely to get divorced; the study found that the number of people in troubled relationships peaked around the time of the last recession but has since fallen, suggesting that financial instability was putting a strain on relationships.

However, the number of respondents considering divorce or separation increased following the recession, pointing to the conclusion that couples were more likely to consider ending a relationship if there finances were more secure.

Fighting couple

Dr David Marjoribanks, senior policy officer at Relate, said: "There is a pattern of relationship strain increasing during recession years, and that is very much what we would expect.

"Where economic strain increases, for example low income, unemployment, a build up of debt, the strain on the relationship increases.

"But the level of relationship distress hasn't gone back to pre-recession levels, so while we might be out of the woods in terms of recession the impact on relationships clearly doesn't seem to have completely gone."

He also warned that many couples suffered in silence for years and only sought help when it was too late to salvage their relationship.

Chris Sherwood, chief executive at Relate, called the report's findings "hugely concerning", and warned that "families can't go on like this".

Following the report, Relate is launching Breaking Point, a national appeal to raise money through donations to help make its services available to all couples, regardless of their financial position.

Want more? Check out the five relationship habits that jeopardise long-term love and five words and phrases that have been shown to trigger conflict in a relationship.

Related

break up.jpg

Friends with your ex? Apparently you’re a psychopath

opener_rt.jpg

Can your friendships survive The Baby Years?

happy couple dating app.jpg

Depressing or useful? ‘Dating’ app encourages couples to communicate

gwyneth paltrow.jpg

Gwyneth Paltrow opens up about her separation from Chris Martin

iStock_000087061421_Large.jpg

This is how much sex you need to be happy, according to science

woman park bench short four day week.jpg

Why a shorter working week would make us happier, and healthier

satisfaction.jpg

Married people are the most satisfied with their lives

heartbreak 3.jpg

How to heal a broken heart through comics

stress.jpg

The Stylist wedding blog: why does planning bring out the worst in us?

Comments

More

Watch the risqué new trailer for Fifty Shades Darker

Christian Grey is back...

by Sarah Biddlecombe
07 Dec 2016

New social platform wants to make sure nobody’s lonely this Christmas

“It’s like Tinder, but for Christmas”

by Amy Lewis
07 Dec 2016

How to buy bubbles: 8 incredible Champagnes under £30

Fantastic fizz

by Amy Swales
07 Dec 2016

Holiday hack gets you 18 days off work in a row, using just 9 days

And for our next trick we’ll turn 9 days of annual leave into 18…

by Kayleigh Dray
07 Dec 2016

Say hello to London’s first ever vegan fried chicken shop

Sounds impossible, is actually genius.

by Amy Lewis
07 Dec 2016

Revealed: the 25 best companies to work for in 2017

Time to brush up on your CV?

by Sarah Biddlecombe
07 Dec 2016

13 white wines that aren't Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc

Sick of the usual suspects?

by Victoria Gray
07 Dec 2016

You need to watch this unlikely Christmas advert hit

We’re not crying, we just have something in our eye…

by Kayleigh Dray
07 Dec 2016

Your new £5 note might be worth £50,000 if it has this secret doodle

There are four notes in circulation with a tiny hidden addition

by Amy Swales
07 Dec 2016

Son shares mum's struggle to sell crafts: Twitter comes to the rescue

This may restore (some of) your faith in 2016.

by Amy Lewis
06 Dec 2016