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Distressed Relationships Behind Closed Curtains

10 June 2016 | Updated 01 January 1970

New research from the charity Relate shows almost 20% of married or cohabiting couples are in ‘distressed relationships’.

The percentage amounts to 2.87 million people in the UK with the definition of a distressed relationship seen as a condition where issues and disagreements are so severe that they can lead to clinically ‘significant negative impact on wellbeing’.

Couples in this situation were said to have regularly considered separation or divorce, quarrelled, regretted being in their relationship and felt unhappy together. This level of relationship distress also increased the risk of health problems as Relate’s research showed clear links between relationship distress and depression, anxiety, increased blood pressure and heightened risk of heart attacks.

The research also highlighted families with children under-16 as the group most likely to be affected by relationship distress with 22% of parents of under-16s reporting a severe level of relationship distress, or 1.4 million UK families.

“Often the couples I see are arguing constantly with pressures such as jobs, finances and childcare putting their relationships under real strain,” explained Arabella Russell, Counsellor, Relate. “The impact this can have on the family is huge and while counselling can help couples to reconnect, the cost can be a deterrent to some.”

Ms Russell noted that many families were struggling to access the support they needed. “We believe families shouldn't be prevented from getting the help they need because they can't afford it, so we're launching the Breaking Point appeal to help subsidise vital services to support families whose relationships and finances are under intense pressure.” 

Picture:    Research published by Relate shows that a distressed relationship can have an enormous impact on wellbeing including at work 

Article written by Mike Gannon | Published 10 June 2016


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