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Quitting Facebook, ditching ‘unsuitable’ friends – and buying a dog – have been hailed as the best ways to save an ailing relationship. Researchers, who polled 2,000 Brits, found it often takes much more than a hug and a kiss to patch up a partnership after a nasty bust-up or rocky patch.
The study discovered ditching social media, where the constant gaze of friends and family adds pressure, was among the most important steps.
Cutting off contact with friends who have the potential to lead us astray was also hailed as crucial, as was buying a dog, which gives couples something in common to look after.
Making more time for each other, talking honestly about issues and heading off on a romantic break together are also most likely to mend a relationship, according to the report.
Martin Loxley, National Head of Family Law at Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, which commissioned the research, said:
“Most relationships will go through a rocky period at some stage, and it seems the way you deal with things during that time can be the difference between patching things up or splitting permanently.
“The secret seems to be spending more time together rather than separating your lives even further than they already are.
“Many relationships go through a difficult period when day-to-day life gets in the way or you become too busy or stressed to simply enjoy some quality time together.
“As a consequence, you can lose the intimacy and closeness that relationships need to survive.
“So things like going away on holiday together, making more time for date nights and even just having honest conversations are often all it takes for couples to get their relationship back on track.”
The study found simply have more quality time together is the most successful way to save a relationship, with more than eight in ten of those who have tried this saying it made things better.
Making time for some old-fashioned date nights is also likely to result in a happy ending, with 78% of couples who gave this a go getting over their rough patch.
Heading off on a ‘make-or-break’ holiday together and being more honest and open with each other during important conversations was also hailed a success by more than three quarters of the couples who tried them.
Other things which can help a couple survive a rough patch include ending bad or unhelpful friendships, making more effort to spice things up in the bedroom and finding a new hobby or interest to do together.
Counselling sessions, moving house and writing down the reasons you fell in love with your partner in the first place are also on the list.
The study also found that no longer communicating is the most common reason for relationships to start falling apart, following by taking each other for granted and having to deal with money worries.
A dwindling sex life, being too busy to spend together and simply growing apart are also to blame for a large number of relationship break-downs.
It also emerged that Brits think couples should try to make things work for an average of just under 12 months before they finally call it quits on a relationship.
But three quarters reckon people give up too easily on relationships nowadays; with another eight in ten believe older generations were more likely to stay together because they believe marriage was for life.
Martin Loxley added:
“Couples should think long and hard before giving up on a marriage. It can have long term financial and emotional consequences for both themselves and any children involved.
“There are organisations which can assist couples in saving a relationship but if it has irretrievably broken down, communication is still key to ensuring that the divorce or separation is as smooth as possible.
“Relationship breakdowns don’t have to be acrimonious but if they are, it’s likely the couple will face a costly legal battle.
“The single family court will be introduced in April this year and under the new scheme all couples are required to attend mediation before issuing proceedings. There are exceptions but most cases will not fall into these exceptions.
“Following the removal of legal aid for most family cases in April 2013, the Government hope this new approach will encourage a ‘friendlier’ approach with better communication and earlier settlements.”
20 WAYS TO SAVE A RELATIONSHIP
Making quality time for each other
Taking date nights together
Taking a holiday together
Start talking honestly and openly
Ending unhelpful friendships
Trying to spice things up in the bedroom
Find a new interest to pursue together
Write a list about why you love / loved each other
Going on holiday alone / separately
A trial separation
Having a baby
Write letters to each other
Buying a dog
Give up alcohol
Visiting a doctor
Ban the use of social media
TEN REASONS RELATIONSHIPS FALL APART
1. We stopped communicating
2. We took each other for granted
3. Money worries
4. We stopped having sex
5. We never saw each other
7. We grew apart
8. We stopped any form of affection whatsoever
9. Infidelity/one person cheating
10. We should never have got together in the first place