Netflix on laptop


A fifth of couples speak less than half an hour a day

It seems the mantra ‘it’s good to talk’ has been lost in British households as one in five married couples get less than 30 minutes’ quality talk time a day.

02 March 2020

Juggling a busy timetable of full time work, young kids and running a home sees the average couple only speak to each other for 1.8 hours, 48 mins of which are done via tech and not face-to-face.

What we found

The latest research of 2,000 married Brits with kids under 13 also showed that 30 percent are failing to have deep and meaningful conversations about their true feelings because they are too tired (32 per cent), don’t want to burden their other half (19 per cent) or simply don’t have the time (19 per cent).

The limited time they do have in the evening is spent watching TV (69 per cent), discussing the kids (65 per cent) or being distracted by their phones (34 per cent), with only 39 per cent citing couple time as a top priority.

A miserable quarter (24 per cent) of women admitted that they don’t get to spend one evening a week alone with their other halves.

In the last two years, family law specialists Slater and Gordon have seen an increase of at least a third of couples stating that a breakdown in communication has led to their divorce.

Lorraine Harvey, family solicitor at Slater and Gordon, said: “Unreasonable behaviours cited within these divorce proceedings centre around the use of social media and constantly being distracted by tech. Eventually over time this lack of communication leads to couples struggling to know how to reach out to each other, or to listen to one another, leaving relationship broken beyond repair.

“Clear lines of good and honest communication are key for a successful marriage and when quality conversations cease to exist, it has a real negative impact on the foundation of a relationship.

“Although our research showed that couples are talking to each other on a day-to-day basis, it also shows that a substantial amount of these conversations are done via text or social media, which lacks the emotional connection felt within a face-to-face chat.

“This can lead to problems which are hard to reverse if left to fester.”

One in five couples say the fear of having an argument is too big a barrier to being honest.

Under half (42 per cent) of those surveyed feel they are able to be open and honest with each other and the lack of transparency also saw over half (53 per cent) say that they wouldn’t turn to their partner, if they wanted to talk about issues with their mental health.

Just under half of couples (46 per cent) feel that social media has had a negative impact on them as a couple, reducing the quality of their relationship (16 per cent), affecting intimacy (eight per cent) and making them feel as if their partner would rather scroll on their phone (13 per cent).

Lorraine Harvey, added: “We have seen partners who are keeping their mental health struggles from their partner because they are fearful of their reaction and potential lack of support. A marriage is a partnership and if one half feels they cannot rely on the other or share their issues, it can be concerning to see. Hiding such serious matters within a marriage, such as an illness or financial worries, is a real concern.”

The majority of couples (72 per cent) wish they could talk candidly with their partner, after some admit they have been met with hostility when trying in the past.

Competitive tiredness is also proving to still be a hot topic of debate as 35 per cent said they argue over who is the ‘most tired’ of the pair.

Over a third (34 per cent) feel their partner has no idea how tired they are, with more women (57 per cent) complaining of this, than men (48 per cent).

Typical time spent in the evening

  • Watching TV or Netflix (69 per cent)
  • Discussing the kids (65 per cent)
  • Talking about the day (53 per cent)
  • Distracted by phones (34 per cent)
  • Strategising the next day’s child care (27 per cent)
  • Discussing childcare (21 per cent)

To speak to a member of our family law team, call us on 0330 041 5869 or contact us online here and we will call you back.

All information was correct at time of publication.

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