The Way We Are Now Report 2015

Money worries are a top strain on relationships for people in South West
New study reveals detailed picture of UK’s relationships

An annual study of more than 6,000 people in the UK has lifted the lid on some of the most personal areas of our lives*, finding that for those living in the South West, money worries are a top strain on relationships for 54% of people.**

Published today by charities Relate, Relationships Scotland and Marriage Care, The Way We Are Now 2015 is one of the largest studies of its kind. It provides a window into the nation’s relationships – from couple and family life to sex, friendships and how we feel about our colleagues and bosses.

The study suggests that money worries are a critical issue in relationships, particularly for those with children: UK-wide figures show that those with children are far more likely to cite money worries as one of the biggest strains on their relationships (61%) compared to those without (47%). This is backed up by Relate Exeter and District’s work, with family finances frequently discussed in the counselling rooms.

The national statistics also paint a picture of families with young children feeling the squeeze. One in three parents of under-fives (32%) said childcare and bringing up children was one of the top three strains on relationships. In addition, 37% of those who were in full- or part-time employment agreed that work interferes with home life, personal life and caring responsibilities, compared to 27% of workers without children.

Brett Parker, Manager at Relate Exeter and District, said: “This study provides a unique insight into the state of the nation’s relationships. It shows that, despite the improving economic climate, money worries still loom large for many – particularly those with children.

“Relationships are the lifeblood of a thriving society, meaning that supporting strong relationships should be everybody’s business. That is why we are calling for the Government to robustly implement its ‘Family Test’, forcing policy makers to think about the impact of new policies on families like those who took part in our study. We also suggest that anyone worried about the impact of financial pressures on their relationships opens up about what’s happening and gets some support if needed.”

The study also found that:

Almost 1 in 10 (9%)*** people living in the South West said they have no close friends.
Less than 3 in 10 (29%)*** of people living in the South West said that sex life and physical attraction are among the three most important factors in a relationship.
People living in the South West said that sharing problems was one of the most important factors in showing commitment in a relationship with over half (51%)*** selecting it from a list of options.
26% of people in living in the South West said they have cheated on their partner.
Over 1 in 4 people*** living in the South West (28%) said they have experienced the breakdown of their parents’ relationship.

To see the full report about the study including infographics on each topic and methodology visit .

Relate Exeter and District offers information, advice and counselling for all stages of relationships. Visit for more information, or call 0300 7729681.


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