New research released today by Relationships Scotland paints a divided picture of relationships in the country and across the UK as lockdown is eased. Across couple, family and social relationships, people have had a range of ‘relationship realisations’ – many wholly positive and some more challenging. A heart-warming 64%[i] of respondents in Scotland said that lockdown has made them realise relationships are the most important thing in their lives and more than a third of respondents in Scotland who have parents (37%) feel emotionally closer to them. Just under one-in-five (19%) of respondents living in Scotland who have a partner have struggled to support them emotionally and 6% noted that lockdown has made them realise they need to break-up, divorce or separate.

The poll of 2,058 UK adults found that almost two thirds (63%) of respondents in Scotland said their relationships with loved ones have helped them get through lockdown. As Relationships Scotland launches its first ever Relationships Week (20-26 July) the charity is asking people to share their #RelationshipRocks via social media – with a picture or video and a short message about how someone has been a ‘rock’ to them lately.

Stuart Valentine, Chief Executive of Relationships Scotland 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 across Scotland to join in the conversation.”

Make or break time for couples
When it came to couple relationships, just under one-in-five (19%) respondents  in Scotland who have a partner said they have struggled to support them emotionally during lockdown, compared to a UK average of 23%. One-in-eight (12%) were anxious about how their relationship with their partner will change when lockdown ends, compared to 17% across the rest of the UK.  Of respondents in a relationship living in Scotland, 12% said lockdown has made them realise they want to propose to their partner compared to one-in-ten (10%) across the UK as a whole. While proposal may be on the cards for some, 6% came to the conclusion during lockdown that they need to end their relationship compared to 8% across the whole of the UK.

Socially distanced but emotionally closer to family and friends

While we may have been practising social distancing during lockdown, many have realised their emotional bonds with loved ones have strengthened. For example, more than a third (37%) of respondents in Scotland who have parents said they felt ‘emotionally closer’ to them as a result of lockdown. This compared to a UK average of 43%. Across Scotland, the most common reasons for feeling emotionally closer to parents were speaking to them more often than they did before (44%) and because lockdown has helped them realise how much their parents mean to them (44%), followed by because their parents had been supporting them through lockdown (32%).

Relationship hopes post-lockdown
Lockdown has made many people experience first-hand the benefits of quality-time. More than half of respondents in Scotland (57%) agreed that the experience has inspired them to make more effort with loved ones in the future. When asked exactly what lockdown relationship habits people would like to continue with in the future, family walks/spending time together outdoors came in top (32%), followed by spending more quality time with family (27%) and video calls with family (24%).

Stuart Valentine concluded: “This Relationships Week, we want to help everyone in Scotland 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.”

To find out more about the work of Relationships Scotland, visit www.relationships-scotland.org.uk or call their Info-Line on 0345 119 2020.

For all media enquiries please contact Stuart Valentine, Chief Executive of Relationships Scotland at stuart.valentine@relationships-scotland.org.uk or on 07823 774 755.

  • This research has been undertaken jointly by Relationships Scotland, Relate and Relate Northern Ireland.
  • The research was conducted online from 26 June- 3 July 2020 by Censuswide, with a sample of 2,058 adults (aged 16+), 170 of which were in Scotland. The sample was weighted to be nationally representative.
  • Over 19,000 people receive face-to-face support each year across Scotland, through relationship counselling, family mediation, child contact centres and other forms of family support

For more information visit www.relationships-scotland.org.uk

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