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Losing the lockdown love: Half of married couples are only staying for the kids

Lockdown has caused many couples to take a long, hard look at their relationships and nearly half of married couples are only staying together because of the kids, according to research.

A study of 2,000 married adults found that while 77 per cent describe their relationship as ‘comfortable’, 15 per cent find it repetitive.

A further 12 per cent believe their marriage is the leading cause of stress in their lives.

And one-sixth of married men and women in the UK think their relationship is only hanging on because they can’t afford to be single.

The research was commissioned by Real Fix, a new podcast which features real life people telling their own extraordinary stories in their own words.

Real Fix podcast host Hattie Bishop said: “Our results made for some fairly unhappy reading in terms of marriage happiness.

‘While it can seem too daunting to get out of a marriage that isn’t working, often it can lead to much greater happiness further down the line’

“It seems thousands of people – both men and women – are in relationships that aren’t fulfilling for them.

“While it can seem too daunting to get out of a marriage that isn’t working, often it can lead to much greater happiness further down the line.

“Our new podcast features all sorts of people, in all sorts of relationships – and the things that keep them together or drive them apart.

“I think all of them would agree that marriage can be stressful.”

The study also found just under 14 per cent of married men and women would go as far as to say they wish they’d NEVER married their spouse.

Men are twice as likely to regret their choice to get married, and also consider themselves more likely to be in a marriage completely devoid of love.

It also emerged one in four married adults is still with their partner because they’re afraid of being alone.

Just under half (47 per cent) are sticking it out because they have children together, and one in four even worry what others would think of them, were they to divorce.

And a fifth of married adults reckon they should have waited until they were older before walking down the aisle.

‘The national average amount of sex between married adults is just under four times per month’

The study also found 35 per cent of those polled often argue with their spouse, while a huge 51 per cent believe there is ‘no romance’ in their relationship.

A further 45 per cent bemoan the lack of sex in their marriage, with more than one in five NEVER getting intimate between the sheets.

The national average amount of sex between married adults is just under four times per month.

As a result of unhappy marriages, one in six have cheated on their spouse – with men more likely to stray.

Fourteen per cent of men have cheated multiple times, compared to just five per cent of women, according to the figures.

The study also revealed the signs of a happy marriage, with 77 per cent citing mutual trust as the most important cornerstone.

Four in 10 picked a satisfying sex life – although more respondents picked honesty, shared interests, and selfless gestures.

Hattie Bishop added: “It’s no big secret that lust and sexual desires decrease the longer a relationship goes on.

“What’s normally left is a deep mutual appreciation and respect, built on trust.

“Sadly, not all relationships have these strong foundations, and the more fleeting elements of a relationship – like excitement and sex – can lead people into long-term relationships based on the wrong things.

“However, it’s never too late to put your own happiness – and long term, possibly your partner’s as well – first.”

The Real Fix podcast features real people, recounting their heartbreaking, inspiring, uplifting or funny experiences in their own words.

The first episode featured a couple who insist their relationship is better than ever – despite a 38 year age gap.

While the second episode features a Big Issue seller who met his future wife when he gave HER his last 50p.

* Listen to the Real Fix podcast here or subscribe using the appropriate podcast platform here

1. There is no romance
2. Lack of sex
3. There’s little/no excitement
4. They argue a lot
5. They don’t spend enough time together
6. Too many money worries
7. They have different hobbies/interests
8. They don’t talk enough
9. They are too lazy
10. They are too selfish

Diane Cooke
Diane Cooke is a three times award-winning journalist who has worked for UK national/regional newspapers, magazines and websites.

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