Friday, 15 August 2014

Love survey: Nation's top relationship secrets revealed as quarter of people admit to being dissatisfied with their sex life

91 per cent of people admitted to having a good relationship with their partner

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 fiancĂ© 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.
Nick Mitchell and his partner Phil Duffy

Nick Mitchell and his partner Phil Duffy
Nick Mitchell and his partner Phil Duffy 
“It was an attempt to conform to what society and the church seemed to be saying I ought to be doing. Back then, homosexuality was illegal.”
Then, 15 years ago, he met partner Phil Duffy, 61, an education consultant, and the pair happily share a home in Erskine, Renfrewshire.
Nick, 68, is now a volunteer for Crisis Counselling in Erskine and encourages others to seek proper help if they’re experiencing relationship problems – rather than the drastic route he took of aversion therapy, which left him emotionally scarred.
Nick was sexually assaulted when he was 17 and felt there was nowhere to turn for help. He knew he was gay but in desperation he tried therapy in his late teens – a psychological treatment that attempted to change his sexuality.
“I hated every minute of it,” he explained.
“Looking back, in a way I think I have kind of blocked out the terror of the experience. It didn’t really change anything about my sexuality.
“The therapy did lead to changing my attitude to the physical side of my sexuality and my sex life.
“The treatment must have stuck with me in a way but it took many years and a deeply trusting relationship before I found happiness and peace with a man.”
He told his mum he was gay in his early 20s and although she was initially upset, he says she’s since mellowed and adores his partner.
Nick said: “Phil and I are close and committed. We have had our tougher moments but we have learned to talk to each other, with loads of listening. We meet each other half-way then forgive each other when it is needed.
“I have noticed it’s common for people to assume that a gay relationship is all about the sex. That’s a misconception. Any committed relationship is much more than any physical act.”
He says he’s not surprised by the survey results saying LGB couples are more likely than straight couples to describe their relationship as bad or average, explaining he thinks that’s because of external pressures.
When he was a teacher at a Catholic school, he felt he couldn’t reveal his sexuality for fear of losing his job.
He worried about the lack of support available in the schools he taught at for young people to talk about their sexuality.
He said: “We need to offer real support to gay couples and it needs to start from a young age.
“When I came into the relationship at first I had low self-esteem. I was under pressure at work and felt like I was failing.
“Phil supported me right through it and held me up.”

Revitalising your sex life

* Talk first, touch later. If sex has become stale, get out of the bedroom and talk about what you like, what you don’t, and what you’d like to try. That way, you know what to do back in the bedroom.
* Don’t always go all the way. Sometimes people resist kissing and touching because they are worried it will lead to sex. Enjoy a passionate kiss before you go to work, or a sensual massage on a Friday night – it’s all about reducing the pressure.
* Initiate differently. One of the trickiest things about sex can be how to get in the mood. Start with a massage, some fizz and chocolates in the bath, or a sexy film.
* Change the scenery. If you’ve been having sex in the same place for ages, a change of scene can make you feel more playful.
* Anticipation, enjoyment, recollection. Build up to sex by talking about your plans, or sending sexy messages. Once you’re done, talk about what you liked with your partner.

How we get on in the world

* One in six have experienced the breakdown of their parents’ relationship (18 per cent)
* Money worries are one of the biggest strains on a relationship for 
63 per cent
* Older people are more worried about money, with 69 per cent of those 65 and over saying it is a major strain, compared with only 37 per cent of 16-24 year olds
* 64 per cent of people have a good relationship with their boss
* 43 per cent have no friends at work
* Nine in 10 people have at least one close friend (92 per cent)
* 87 per cent of women describe their friendships as good/very good compared with 79 per cent of men
* 89 per cent of those who described their relationship as very good said they felt good about themselves
* 65 per cent of those who described their relationship as good, average, bad or very bad felt good about themselves
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