28th April 2014
Nearly one in five people in the UK say they have had to stay in a romantic relationship for longer than they wanted because they could not afford to break it off.
A new poll* conducted on behalf of the debt advice and solutions provider DebtAdvisoryCentre.co.uk has found that nearly a fifth (18.9%) of adults have at some stage in their lives remained with a partner purely because of their financial situation.
The firm says this is equivalent to more than 9.5 million people across the country.
Of those who have stayed in relationships for longer than they wanted to, one in five (20.1%) did so for up to three months. However, the majority stayed with a partner they no longer wanted to be with for far longer.
More than two-fifths (42.85%) of respondents admitted they had stayed in a relationship for a year or more after they thought it should end because their financial situation meant they didn’t feel they could leave. A quarter (24.33%) respondents remained in the romantic partnership for more than three years after things went stale.
Those aged between 25 and 34 years old are the most likely to remain with a partner just because of their joint finances, with nearly a third (30.7%) of this age group revealing they have done so at some point.
This might be because it’s at this age that people are most likely to take their first steps on the property ladder or start a family, and it compares to less than one in 10 (8.09%) over-55s who have done the same.
London has the highest proportion of couples admitting they have stayed together for the finances – and little else. More than a third (35.6%) of respondents in the capital revealed they have remained in a relationship for just this reason in the past, compared to just one in 10 (11.8%) people in the West Midlands.
Debt Advisory Centre spokesman Ian Williams says: “It’s shocking to hear that so many people feel forced to stay in a relationship for longer than they want to because of their finances, but it’s perhaps not that surprising. It’s tough to end the bonds we create in a relationship, and financial ties can often be the hardest to break.
“Joint debts, mortgages or rent and childcare costs all play a part in people choosing to stay in a relationship when love breaks down, if they think they’d be unable to afford these costs alone. Data for Debt Advisory Centre** last year revealed 12% of people seeking debt help did so as a result of a relationship break-up.”
*OnePoll questioned a nationally representative sample of 2,000 adults aged 18 and over between 4th April and 9th April 2014, of whom 500 were Scottish residents. Figures have been extrapolated to fit ONS 2013 population projections of 50,371,000 UK adults.