Couples face 'relationship reckoning' over Covid-19 lockdown

Couples living together under lockdown are experiencing “growing unease” in their relationships, with more than one in eight people unsure about spending their future with their partner, according to a leading charity.

Couples have been urged to seek out help during lockdown instead of letting relationship tensions fester. Picture: PA

While nearly a quarter of people (23 per cent) say the strict measures imploring people to stay at home are placing pressure on their relationship, some 12 per cent say they are having doubts about their relationship, a new survey by Relate shows.

That figure is even more stark among those aged between 25 and 34, with more than one in five (21 per cent) harbouring concerns about the long-term health of their relationship.

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The findings are laid out in a new survey by the UK’s largest provider of relationship support, which points to growing tensions in households across the country as the lockdown continues.

The charity warned of a “post lockdown relationship reckoning,” with tensions between couples, as well as parents and children, “boiling over” as a result of efforts to stem the spread of Covid-19.

The survey of more than 2,000 adults found that nearly one in four respondents who are in relationships have had more arguments with their partner, with 26 per cent pointing to money worries as a major factor.

But simply being forced to spend an extended period of time at home is also escalating tensions. Some 27 people questioned said they were finding their partner irritating, with women more likely to be peeved by men than vice versa.

However, the vast majority of respondents in a relationship (65 per cent) said they felt supported by their partner during the crisis, with 43 per cent saying the experience had brought them closer together

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Aidan Jones, chief executive of Relate, urged people experiencing problems to seek out telephone or webcam counselling instead of allowing them to fester during the lockdown.

He said: “We always see a peak in people seeking relationship support after Christmas, when spending unusually long together brings issues to the surface. Add to that the current extended period of isolation, worries about job security, finances, how to juggle work with childcare and uncertainty about the future – and it’s clear why we’re expecting a post-lockdown relationship reckoning.”

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