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Don’t let an unfounded fear of being single trap you in an unhappy relationship

15th January 2018

Relate, the UK’s largest provider of relationship support services, has recently published a report on how single people in the UK feel about being single. Having polled a representative group of 4,000 single people, Relate’s data provides interesting indications of how society views being single versus being in a relationship.

With some exceptions, especially perhaps during the Christmas period, people do generally enjoy each other’s company. According to Relate, 45 per cent of British single people cite loneliness as a negative consequence of being single.

Somewhat worryingly, 64 per cent said they have felt pressure to find a relationship, the most common reason for this being a desire to keep up with friends and social circles, while 15 per cent felt overwhelmed by the current dating landscape and 10 per cent recorded feeling burnt-out by dating.

So, as a society, do we consider being single as something to be feared? With 61 per cent of the singles polled saying independence was a key benefit, the answer is not straightforward. Almost a third (28 per cent) of singles polled said having a partner was not essential for fulfillment in life; 20 per cent said finding a long-term relationship was a lower priority for them than, say, career aspirations or friendships; 15 per cent saw no negatives in being single and, tellingly, 86 per cent of singles who use the dating website eharmony thought being single was preferable to being in an unsatisfactory relationship.

For many who feel daunted by the prospect of leaving their partner despite not being happy in their relationship, this last statistic is especially significant. Divorcing a spouse or leaving a partner is often likened to ripping off a sticking-plaster – not a pleasant experience but often the healthier long-term option.

Divorce and separation need not be acrimonious. Mediation and collaborative law are increasingly popular and allow parties to focus on what is important for their families in an attempt to preserve good post-separation relationships. It is important to resolve one relationship before getting too involved in another – achieving closure and learning from the past will hopefully improve your chances of a successful relationship next time around.

According to Relate’s research findings, you may also need to allow time to get to grips with the new lingo of the dating world, where ‘breadcrumbing’ describes the relatively common action of stringing along a potential partner despite having no intention of making a commitment to the relationship and where, if you have experienced a sudden cessation of communication from someone to whom you were speaking, you have been ‘ghosted’. Indeed my own, unofficial, research indicates a strong likelihood that 100 per cent of parents will have experienced the latter when trying to reach their children by mobile phone!

If you are considering ending a relationship or separating from an erstwhile partner and would like confidential advice outlining your options, contact the George Ide family team on 01243 786668 or email us atmailto:info@georgeide.co.uk.

Tina Day. Head of family and family mediator

Family Law, General, George Ide, News
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