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The Way We Are Now – YouGov Particularly It Takes Two: The quality of the UK’s adult couple relationships – Relate, Relationships Scotland and Marriage Care

April 21, 2017

This new survey on marriage and relationships suggests that money is the main cause of arguments between couples in the UK, and trust is the most important factor that people look for in a rela­tionship.

This research report is the fifth in a series presenting findings from our landmark The Way We Are Now survey of more than 5,000 people across the UK, which provides a unique overview of the state of the country’s relationships. It examines the quality of our partner relationships; what makes a good relationship, what is putting our relationships under strain and how relationships impact on our health and happiness.

More than a quarter (26 per cent) of the more than 5000 people sur­veyed online for the report listed financial worries as the main tension in their relationship, followed by misunderstanding (20 per cent), differing sex-drives (19 percent), lack of work-life balance (17 per cent), and different interests (16 per cent). Also on the list were mental-health issues, extra-marital affairs, childcare, time spent online, polit­ical opinions, drug and alcohol use, and pornography.

More women identified trust (70 per cent) and communication (57 per cent) as the most important factor in a relationship than men (62 per cent and 48 per cent, respect­ively) in the report. But trust and communication were still top of the list, on average, above commitment, shared values, and personality.

A quarter of those surveyed said that they were in a “distressed” relationship because of children, poor health, or low incomes, and one in ten occasionally regretted entering into their marriage or civil partnership.


Six per cent argue all or most of the time, and 42% argue occasionally

13% of married or civil-partnered partners regret getting married or getting the civil partnership at least occasionally

relationship distress levels appearing considerably higher for cohabitees (27.9%) than for people who are in relationships but don’t live together (19.30%

six per cent of partners in marriages or civil partnerships said they were worried about their partner’s commitment to the relationship not being the same as their own, compared to 15% of cohabiting partners and those in relationships but not living together.

partners with children were considerably less likely to find time to spend together.

time spent together in this way was linearly associated with better relationship quality

more than half (54%) of respondents said that ‘If I accessed professional relationship support (e.g. seeing a counsellor), I would not want anyone to know about it’

four in ten people would not know where to go for support.

we would reiterate our call for the ‘Family Test’, which equires all new domestic policies across Whitehall to consider the impact they might have on family relationships, to be given a statutory footing.

The report is online here

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