Relate, the leading relationships charity, has provided an insight into how relationships in the South West and the rest of the UK are holding up while staying at home. Evidence of growing unease has led Aidan Jones, Chief Executive of the national charity to warn of a “post-lockdown relationship reckoning”, where individuals, couples and families who are currently brushing issues under the carpet see tensions boil over as government restrictions are eased. While relationships in the South West seem to be faring better than many other regions of the UK, Relate Devon & Cornwall warns that a significant number of people in the region are feeling their relationship is under pressure and urges them to seek support.
In new research* commissioned by Relate, under one in five (18%) of people surveyed living in the South West who are in a relationship said the current circumstances are placing pressure on their relationship with their partner right now. Just (7%) of those surveyed in the region who currently live with their partner went as far as agreeing that staying at home is making them doubt their relationship. This compares to a UK average of just under one in eight (12%).
The poll of 2,021 UK adults also found that almost one in five respondents in relationships in the South West (17%) have had more arguments with their partner since lockdown. This is less than the UK average, of 23%. Finances were likely to have played a big part here, as 19% said money worries were placing more pressure on their relationship than usual – but again less than the UK average of 26%. Irritation is less of an issue for surveyed couples in the South West than many other parts of the UK – 16% of surveyed people in a relationship living in the region are finding their partner irritating right now compared to 27% of those across the UK as a whole.
Surveyed parents who are currently living with their children are under pressure, with (24%) in the South West saying they are finding it hard to create structure for their kids and keep to a routine. This was significantly lower than the UK average of 34%. Across the whole of the UK, just under a quarter (24%) say their children’s behaviour has become an issue since staying at home compared to 14% of those in the South West.
It’s important to note that the majority of respondents living in the South West who have a partner (65%) said they feel supported by their partner – the same as the UK average - and 39% of respondents in the region who currently live with their partner actually said their experience of staying at home has bought them closer. However, only one in ten (10%) of surveyed people in a relationship living in the South West said they are having more sex than usual, compared to 17% across the UK as a whole.
Jennie Worthley, Operations Manager at Relate in Devon & Cornwallsaid:
“It’s good to see that, on the whole, the relationships of people living in the South West are faring pretty well. However, there’s still a significant proportion of people finding that the pandemic is magnifying existing issues. We always see a peak in people seeking relationship support after Christmas, when spending unusually long together brings issues to the surface. We’re expecting a similar peak after lockdown ends but would urge anyone experiencing issues to get in touch with Relate Devon & Cornwall now rather than letting things fester until they get irreparably bad.”
Relate is here to help
Relate Devon & Cornwall has made an immense effort to increase the availability of our skilled counsellors to support your relationships during this very difficult time. We’re proud to be here for you, offering high quality, effective webcam counselling, phone counselling and Live Chat. We have availability right now to help you find ways to handle the huge impact of this situation on yourself, your family and the health of your relationships – all from your own sofa. You can also visit our dedicated COVID-19 area on relate.org.uk for lots of information and support.
Whilst we ask for payment for many of Relate’s services, we’re also continuing to work with national and local government and other organisations to ensure that some people in some situations and professions can access free or subsidised counselling – contact us on 0300 772 9681 or email@example.com to find out more.