Release Date: Monday 5th November 2018
- Half (51%) of millennials make out their relationship is happier than it really is and 42% use social media to give the impression of a ‘perfect relationship’.
- A third (33%) of Brits in relationships say their current relationship has survived some form of infidelity.
- The vast majority (91%) of Brits feel people would benefit from being more open with each other about relationship issues.
- 87% of millennials aspire to having a relationship for life.
- 43% of men and 33% of women believe that if you have to work at a relationship, you’re not right for each other.
- Relate publishes its 80 tips for long-lasting and fulfilling relationships to mark the charity’s 80th anniversary.
An in-depth survey of over 2,000 UK adults*, carried out by relationship support charity Relate to mark its 80th anniversary, has revealed a number of truths about long-term relationships …
Millennials feel under particular pressure to portray a ‘perfect relationship’
It may seem like everyone else has the perfect relationship, but in fact more than half (51%) of millennials (aged 16-34) and nearly two fifths (39%) of the general public say they make it appear to others that their relationship is happier than it really is. Social networks such as Facebook and Instagram are obvious platforms for doing this, with 42% of millennials and 27% of respondents overall admitting to posting things on social media to give the impression of a ‘perfect relationship’. But it seems we’re tiring of this perfect relationship façade - the vast majority of Brits (92%) feel people would benefit from being more open with each other about their relationship issues.
Women are more likely to compare their relationship to those of their friends
More than half of millennials (51%) compare their relationship to their friends’ relationships - in contrast to a fifth (22%) of people aged 55 plus, and 38% overall. Women were more likely to compare themselves with their friends than men (41% compared to 33% respectively).
You’re not alone if you have relationship doubts
Although the majority of people (74%) think they will stay with their partner for the rest of their lives, some (21%) hope they will but have their doubts. For those who had been in a relationship for less than 10 years, this rose to three in 10 (30%), compared to just 16% who had been in a relationship for 10 years or more.
A third of people in relationships have remained together following infidelity
A third (33%) of respondents said their relationship had ‘survived’ some form of infidelity. Emotional infidelity was the most common form – experienced by 12% of respondents, closely followed by a kiss that was seen as a sign of infidelity, and technological infidelity via a chatroom or sexting (both 11%). Almost one in ten relationships (9%) had survived a one-off incident of sex or a sexual act, and 8% had survived repeated incidents. Despite a third having experienced infidelity, 80% of respondents said they would end their relationship if their partner cheated. Women were more likely to say they would end their relationship if their partner cheated – 84% of women said this compared to 73% of men.
Men are more likely to think you shouldn’t need to work at a relationship
Relate is quick to point out that long-lasting and fulfilling relationships take work, but more than a third (37%) of respondents disagree, believing that if you have to work at a relationship, you’re not right for each other. Men were more likely to say this (43% compared to 33% of women). People who’d been in a relationship for less than 10 years were also more likely to say this: 47% compared to 30% of people who had been in a relationship for 10 years or more.
Most millennials aspire to having a ‘relationship for life’
A resounding 87% of millennials aspire to having ‘a relationship for life’, although more than one in ten (13%) do not. Despite 42% of marriages ending in divorce, millennials remain optimistic about long-term love - 85% believe that meeting somebody in your 20s to spend the rest of your life with is a realistic goal compared to 75% of 45-54 year olds.
The secret to a fulfilling and long-lasting relationship is …
So what’s the answer? Talking openly and honestly with each other (selected by 36%), making time for each other (36%) and having fun together (33%) are the best secrets to a long-lasting and fulfilling relationship according to the general public. For respondents who had been in relationships for 10 years or more, this changed to making time for each other (38%) followed by talking openly and honestly (37%) and having fun together (36%). However those who had been together 10 years or more were also more likely to say “being willing to work at it” (30%) compared to those who had been in a relationship for less than 10 years (19%) and “compromise” (32% compared to 22% respectively). Those who had been in a relationship for 10 years or more were also less likely to say ‘a good sex life’ – 20% said this compared to over a quarter (26%) who had been in a relationship for less than 10 years.
To mark 80 years since the charity was founded, Relate’s senior counsellors have also put together 80 tips for long-lasting and fulfilling relationships of all kinds including couple relationships, friendships and family relationships.
Relate Counsellor Dee Holmes said: “As our research shows, there seems to be a lot of pressure today, particularly amongst millennials, to give the impression of the ‘perfect relationship’. We’d probably all benefit from being more open and honest with each other about our relationships and realising that nobody’s perfect, however it may seem on the surface.
“It’s concerning that over a third of people think having to work at a relationship means you’re not right for each other. Having been a relationship counsellor for several years and in my own relationship for 35, I know that long-lasting and fulfilling relationships don’t just happen – they require hard work, humour, and may benefit from support such as counselling during tough times.”
- Read Relate’s 80 tips for long-lasting and fulfilling relationships put together to mark 80 years since the charity was founded. [Available from 06 November or here if needed earlier].
- Donate to Relate.
- ENDS –
*Taken from a poll of 2,298 UK adults, conducted online by Censuswide between 19 October and 23 October 2018 on behalf of Relate.
Additional statistics available upon request. For all media enquiries, including speaking to case studies and Relate counsellors about the issues raised in this release, please contact Sarah Osmik on 020 7554 2895 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For urgent out of hours enquiries call 07875 049415.
Notes to editors:
- Relate is a registered charity number 207314.
- Relate champions the importance of strong and healthy relationships for all as the basis of a thriving society.
- Relate provides impartial and non-judgmental support for people of all ages, gender identities and sexual orientations, at all stages of couple, family and social relationships.
- Over two million people every year access information, support and counselling from Relate, but it's clear many more would benefit from support.
- Relate was founded in 1938 and is celebrating its 80th anniversary this Autumn.