Lockdown has been 'make or break' for couples in Staffordshire and Cheshire

New research from charity Relate has been looking at how lockdown has been affecting our relationships.

Around 60% of respondents said it has made them realise relationships are the most important thing in their lives and nearly half (47%) who have parents feel emotionally closer to them.

Sadly, nearly a fifth (18%) who have a partner have struggled to support them emotionally during this time.

8% noted that lockdown has made them realise they need to break-up, divorce or separate.

But 10% have said that being together during lockdown has made them want to propose.

The figures have been released as Relate launches its first ever Relationships Week (20-26 July).

Val Tinkler, National Manager at Relate in North Staffordshire said: “Most of us can’t remember a sustained period of pressure on every aspect of life on such a scale.

"Relationships are central to health and wellbeing and we want to raise awareness of their power to protect and sustain us in the worst of times.

"Relationships are now in the spotlight more than ever so we want to grasp this opportunity to encourage everyone to talk about them more openly – the good, the bad and the ugly.

"That’s why today marks the start of our first-ever Relationships Week and we’re calling on people to join in the conversation.”

Looking at other relationships, 39% of people who have a sibling felt emotionally closer to them since lockdown, with 40% feeling closer to their neighbours, and 37% closer to their friends.

For many people being at home more has made them value family time, with 51% saying the experience has inspired them to make more effort with loved ones in the future.

24% said that in the future they wanted to spend more time together outside, such as by doing family walks, with around the same amount saying they would do more video calls with friends.

And while many people in relationships are enjoying the time they have been able to spend with their other half, around 16% now feel anxious about how that will change when lockdown ends.

Vale said: “This Relationships Week, we want to help everyone in North Staffordshire celebrate the best of their lockdown relationship realisations and address the more difficult ones. We have a unique opportunity here – the role of relationships is clearly front-of-mind for many. I’m encouraging everyone to start a conversation about their relationships this week, whether it’s to thank someone for their support during lockdown or to begin addressing issues that have been swept under the carpet in recent months.”

Relate is offering a free course on communicating more effectively; tips for dealing with social anxiety and a range of other issues as lockdown eases; as well as online counselling, sex therapy and mediation sessions. Visit relate.org.uk/relationships-week.

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