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One in 10 parents say relationship has “worsened” throughout national lockdown

Around one in 10 parents say their relationship has worsened throughout the Covid-19 national lockdown, a major study has revealed.

The research, published by the Marriage Foundation, is among the first to explore the long-term impact of coronavirus restrictions on the wellbeing of families.

According to the analysis of 2,559 married or cohabiting parents who live in a couple household, 10 per cent say their relationship “has worsened during lockdown”.

This rose to over two in 10 (22 per cent) among cohabiting mums, but decreased among cohabiting dads (six per cent) and married mums (seven per cent).

According to the paper, cohabiting mothers had “more than treble the odds” of a worse relationship,” “four times the odds” of getting on each other’s nerves, “five times the odds” of quarrelling, “double the odds” of ever regretting living together, and “less than half the odds” of thinking household chores were divided fairly, compared to married mothers.

Meanwhile, two in 10 (20 per cent) parents say their relationship had, in fact, improved during the national lockdown, regardless of gender or whether they were married or cohabiting.

The remaining 70 per cent of couples say their relationship had stayed the same.

Commenting on the findings, Harry Benson, Research Director at the Marriage Foundation, said the study exposes the lack of relational security faced by cohabiting mothers in particular.

“There’s been a huge amount of speculation about what lockdown has done to relationships in the United Kingdom. The media have talked up a supposed boom in divorce rates. There’s rather more evidence that mental health problems have increased. This is hardly surprising.

“For those whose lives feel precarious at the best of times, it’s easy to imagine how lockdown could have pushed them over the edge.”

The study also found that relationships between parents and their children have improved among one-quarter of families, while it has worsened for between four and seven per cent of families.

For help and advice with related matters, please get in touch with our expert family law and mediation team today.


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