A man wearing glass talking to someone

Relationship support charity Relate West Surrey has carried out an in-depth study into long-term relationships* to mark its 80th anniversary. The research reveals the pressure that many people feel under too have a ‘perfect relationship’. Two fifths (40%) of people in relationships who live in the South East of England measure-up their relationship against those of their friends. This is compared to 38% of people across all parts of the UK.

Nearly a third of people (31%) in the South East admit to posting things on social media to give the impression of a perfect relationship and 40% say they sometimes make out to others that their relationship is happier than it really is. Tellingly, 91% of people in the South East felt people would benefit from being more open with each other about their relationship issues.

The research also found that of people in relationships living in the South East:

  • 66 % expect to stay with their current partner for the rest of their lives
  • 30% hope to stay together but have some doubts
  • 4% expect to break up

‘Talking openly and honestly with each other’ followed by ‘making time for each other’ and ‘having fun together’ are the best secrets to a long-lasting and fulfilling relationship according to the general public both in the South East and across the whole of the UK.

To mark 80 years of providing relationship support, Relate’s senior counsellors have put together 80 tips for long-lasting and successful relationships of all kinds, including friendships, family relationships and workplace relationships and couple relationships.

Jill Rawling at Relate West Surrey said:

“As these figures show, people often make out that their relationships are happier than they really are, and have a tendency to compare themselves to others. The reality is that no relationship is perfect and we’d probably all benefit from being more open with each other about the challenges we all face in relationships.

“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.”

Relate West Surrey provides face-to-face support for all relationships across West Surrey.  To find your nearest service, visit www.relatewestsurrey.org.uk.

*Taken from a poll of 2,298 UK adults, of which 326 were based in the South East, 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 sarah.osmik@relate.org.uk. For urgent out of hours enquiries call 07875 049415.

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