10 December 2021

Relationship pressures expected at Christmas for 73% of Britons – survey

10 December 2021

Almost three quarters of people expect relationship pressures this Christmas with concerns around Covid-19 one of the top issues, a survey suggests.

A poll by charity Relate found that 73% of people aged 16 and over in the UK are expecting something to place pressure on their relationships during the festive season.

The survey of 2,005 people found that money worries is the number one expected pressure (24%), closely followed by uncertainty around Covid-19 and restrictions (20%) and respondents’ concerns about their own mental health (15%).

Covid-19 and restrictions are still a big cause for concern this year and likely even more so following the recent announcement surrounding Plan B

Relate said unrealistic expectations around Christmas are also a predicted source of relationship tension with 11% of people surveyed saying they feel under pressure to create a perfect Christmas this year, while 11% are worried about being able to make their children happy.

Other likely pressures include not being able to see loved ones (11%), feeling lonely (11%), pressure to socialise (11%), heightened feelings of loss and grief (10%) and not having enough alone time (10%).

Less than one in 10 are worried about family arguments (9%) or arguments with their partner (9%).

27% of respondents said they did not expect any relationship pressures this Christmas.

The charity’s research found that more people are looking forward to Christmas this year than they were in 2020.

Last year, 46% of people polled on behalf of Relate said they were looking forward to Christmas, while 22% were actively dreading it.

This year, when asked the same question, 67% of respondents said they are looking forward to Christmas and just 10% are dreading it.

Relate counsellor Dee Holmes, who specialises in supporting couples, individuals, families, children and young people, said: “Christmas can be one big pressure-cooker and we see a big influx in people signing up to services like relationship counselling and family counselling every New Year after tensions have come to a head.

“Finances are notoriously stretched at Christmas and when people have different attitudes towards spending this can add to conflict and feelings of resentment.

“Covid-19 and restrictions are still a big cause for concern this year and likely even more so following the recent announcement surrounding Plan B.

“With so many people struggling with their mental health during the pandemic it’s no surprise this is another expected strain on relationships.”

She added: “Despite so many people fearing relationship pressures this Christmas, it’s promising to see that many fewer expect arguments, especially because the festive season tends to be notorious for them.

“Perhaps for some people this is down to wishful thinking, but with open, clear and honest communication that avoids blaming language it should be possible to keep rows to a minimum.

“Sometimes when there’s no arguing it’s because there’s a lack of communication and partners or family members aren’t acknowledging and dealing with underlying issues.”

Relate has launched an online service called Christmas Sanctuary which includes self-help articles from Relate counsellors.

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