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Internet blamed for poor relationships

This news post is almost 8 years old

One-in-five don't feel loved in their relationships, according to a major new study from Relationships Scotland study, which points the finger of blame at the internet

The internet is one of the biggest causes of relationship problems according to a new study into families in Scotland.

Relationships Scotland and English charity Relate have published The Way We Are Now 2014 following one of the largest studies of relationships in the UK ever.

The report asked more than 5,000 people across the UK how they feel about their sex life and relationships.

It reveals some concerning statistics about how close we feel to others, with one-in-five (or 18%) rarely or never feeling loved in their relationship and one-in-ten saying they didn’t have a close friend.

One of the key findings in the report was about the growing problem of online flirting and affairs as a major cause of distress and relationship breakdown.

The charity estimates that the internet had an impact on at least 50% of cases in couple counselling in Scotland. Yet in the study very few people reported the internet as causing a problem in their relationship.

Only 1% of respondents said they’d cheated with someone online but not in person. This clashes with the findings from survey of counsellors, with many of them reporting the use of social media and online pornography as an issue that comes up in the counselling room in over half of cases.

Anne Chilton, head of counselling, said: “There is a disconnect going on here. Problems arise when a partner finds out that instead of using the internet for shopping or browsing they are flirting online or meeting up with someone else.

“When the partner finds out it can be too easy to just blank it out. What often happens now is that instead of talking to their partner when they are unhappy in the relationship or dissatisfied with their sex life, people get drawn into looking for a solution online.”

Problems arise when a partner finds out that instead of using the internet for shopping or browsing they are flirting online or meeting up with someone else

One in four people are dissatisfied with their sex life (24%) and a quarter also reported having an affair (25%).

The Way We Are Now 2014 included an additional survey of 250 Relate and Relationships Scotland counsellors, who listed three factors for a happy sex life as: improving communication, making time to be together and learning how to talk about sex with your partner.

The study finds a clear link between relationships and high levels of wellbeing but simply being in a relationship doesn’t guarantee that people will feel good about themselves: it’s the quality of the relationship that has an impact on wellbeing and happiness. Relationships Scotland said it is worrying that one in ten people don’t have a single close friend and one in five rarely or never felt loved in the two weeks before the survey.

The report finds a strong connection between our relationships and our personal wellbeing. In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world, relationships still act as shock absorbers when times are hard.



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