Love survey: Nation's top relationship secrets revealed as quarter of people admit to being dissatisfied with their sex life
THE Way We Are Now 2014 study - which questioned 5000 people across the UK - revealed some home truths about how we get on with our partners, family, friends and workmates.
A QUARTER of people are dissatisfied with their sex life and one in four couples has gone through an affair, says a survey which lifts the lid on relationships and family life.
More than 5000 people across the UK were questioned in one of the biggest surveys of its kind published today by Relate and Relationships Scotland.
The Way We Are Now 2014 study also reveals only 30 per cent of people think a relationship could survive an affair but over 90 per cent of counsellors say it can not only survive but thrive following a fling.
Relationships Scotland say the research shows that families of all shapes and sizes can get the help they need to invest more time and effort in their relationships.
They will be expanding their sex therapy service to include sex addiction help over the next few months.
The survey also revealed a fifth of people in relationships don’t feel loved and less than a quarter are having sex once a week or more.
Gay and lesbian couples are more likely than heterosexuals to describe their relationship as bad or average.
But 250 counsellors say the way to a happy sex life involves improving communication, making time to be together and learning how to talk about sex with your partner.
The report finds a strong connection between relationships and how we feel, and that we use relationships to help us cope when times are hard.
The study finds a clear link between good relationships and high levels of wellbeing but simply being in a relationship doesn’t guarantee people will feel good about themselves.
Single people feel better about themselves than those in average, bad or very bad relationships. But the survey also found one in 10 people in Scotland has no close friends.
Fortunately, nine out of 10 people say they have a good relationship with their partner but 18 per cent in a relationship never or rarely felt loved in the two weeks before the survey.
Divorce rates have risen significantly over the last 50 years, leaving generations of young people to deal with the aftermath.
Stuart Valentine, chief executive of Relationships Scotland, said: “This study examines the quality of our relationships, showing a clear link between our personal relationships and our wellbeing.
“While there is much to celebrate, the results around how close we feel to others are very concerning.
“There is a significant minority of people who claim to have no close friends, or who never or rarely feel loved – unimaginable to many of us.
“Relationships are the asset which can get us through good times and bad, and it is worrying to think there are people who feel they have no one they can turn to.
“Strong relationships are vital for both individuals and society, so investing in them is crucial.”
Lesley & John: I wish I had confronted my loveless husband
A LACK of intimacy with her partner led Lesley Murray to have an affair with another man.
She eventually ended both relationships and now she’s finally found love with fiancé John Carter, 37.
But she wishes she’d confronted the issues in her past relationship which led to the affair at the time.
Lesley, 32, from Fife, said: “I would say if you are in an affair because you are not happy, even if you risk hurting someone’s feelings, just talk to them.
“If you don’t it can just too easily lead to deceit. The guy I was with was steady and solid but there was little or no intimacy in our relationship. The relationship was going nowhere, we never talked about a long-term future together.
“I knew the other guy wasn’t right for me either. He was too volatile.
“I did end up falling for the other guy but I knew it wasn’t right. I should have told my partner about my frustrations or ended it earlier instead of living a lie. But I think at the time I was just afraid of being alone.”
Now Lesley says she’s finally met her match with John and communication is key. She said: “We are good friends, we socialise together and totally fancy each other. We have the same ideals about what a relationship should be like.
“Most importantly, we are fiercely honest with each other. It just works. And I now believe it’s true – when you know, you just know.
“We both have the same needs. It’s the little things – he is tactile, will make me a cup of tea, puts me first and thinks about me. I feel it every day. That’s a first for me.
“He makes me feel loved and needed. We make time for each other. And if we are not doing it, we talk about it. There is no second guessing. We have an active sex life. We are madly in love so it’s emotional.
“Intimacy reaffirms all the things we say and do for each other. If we don’t have time for sex due to circumstances outwith our control, we talk about it and make sure neither is unhappy.
“Cheesy as it sounds, you have to really make a conscious effort. Go to bed early or cut the TV or the plug off the PlayStation.”
* The names of both Lesley and John have been changed to preserve their anonymity.
Nick & Phil: I married twice but it took years to find peace with a man
RETIRED teacher Nick Mitchell struggled with the knowledge he was gay for years and even underwent aversion therapy in a bid to supress his feelings.
Desperate to conform to a lifestyle he thought he ought to be leading, he even got married twice.
“I did care for both my wives. I told them I was gay before we got married and they were prepared to accept me as I was,” he explained.