One in five UK couples on verge of break-up, survey shows

Research by the web site suggests that 1 in 5 British couples are on the verge of a break-up.

Nearly half (44%) of married people surveyed say that their sex lives have decreased while a further one in ten married couples are having no sex at all. These figures are particularly worrying for men, with ‘lack of sex’ being cited as the single biggest factor in relationship breakdown.

Tellingly, 36 per cent of men and 44 per cent of women said a partner’s affair was a key problem in their marriage.

Over one in four divorced or separated people surveyed (27%) said that discovering their partner was having an affair was the defining moment that signalled the end of their marriage. In terms of how they discovered their partner’s infidelity: over half of people (54%) discovered the affair themselves, while one in five confessed, and four per cent were told by the other woman/man. One in every 100 simply got a text or letter.

One in five divorcees (22%) said falling out of love was what lead to the breakdown of their relationship, while a staggering one in six (15.9%) women and six per cent of men said a serious incident of abuse is what pushed them over the edge. What’s worse is that forty per cent of women claim physical and mental abuse was a problem during their marriage and one in four females (24.5%) say that they have encountered drug and alcohol abuse in their relationship before its end.

Top ten reasons for relationship breakdown are:

  1. My partner had an affair
  2. Abuse (physical and/or mental)
  3. Boredom
  4. Lack of sex
  5. Financial disagreements
  6. Alcohol/drug abuse
  7. Debt
  8. My career took priority
  9. Hobbies (e.g. football)
  10. I had an affair

The research found that many people are unsure about where or who to turn to for help and advice post-split. While over half (58%) of people said the first person they turned to when considering divorce was a friend or family member (usually their mother), one third went straight to a solicitor, but 35 per cent said there simply wasn’t enough independent advice available to help them through the process.

But despite the fall out 45 per cent of people were poorer, 23 per cent fell off the property ladder, 14 per cent suffered a major illness and 13 per cent said their career suffered post divorce – it hasn’t put people off marriage: seventy per cent of divorced people still believe that there is a perfect man or woman out there.