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The Average Lifespan of a Relationship UK [2022]

A healthy relationship can improve the quality of your life, introduce you to new experiences and expand your horizons. Spending quality time with your partner reduces stress levels and makes you feel happier and on top of the world. 

With that in mind, it’s safe to say that relationships we form with others are substantial for our well-being. But unfortunately, some relationships aren’t meant to last forever.

Namely, a study conducted in 2017 shows that only 54% of the participants aged 30-59 have been in their current relationship for ten years or longer at the time. So, if you want to dissect relationship statistics and learn exciting facts about the UK’s dating scene, stay with us and proceed to read this detailed report.

But, before you dive into the topic, here are some impressive stats:

Top 10 Statistics: Editor’s Choice

  • In 2019, 63% of single smartphone users in the UK used dating services. 
  • In 2021, 12.7% of active internet users in the UK aged 18–24 were using dating services. 
  • Online dating users in the UK are expected to amount to over 10 million by 2025.
  • In 2020, people aged 16–34 felt anxious about how the Coronavirus lockdown in the UK might affect their relationship. 
  • In 2017, 6% of Britons aged 18–29 had been single/in a relationship for 3-6 months at the time.
  • 80% of Britons over the age of 60 had been in a relationship or living a single life for ten years before the Statista survey began (2017). 
  • Between 2020–21, only 2.3 per 1000 Britons got married.
  • In 2018, the average age at marriage for heterosexual couples was 35.8 years for women and 38.1 years for men. 
  • In 2019, 31.8% of all women in the UK were single. 
  •  In 2020, 8% of 2,000 survey respondents in the UK said they’ve decided to end their relationships during the Coronavirus lockdown.

Dating Statistics UK

Interestingly enough, 18% of married smartphone users in the UK used dating apps in 2019, followed by 13% of Britons who were in a relationship. Additionally, one in three Brits loves spending time on dating apps or websites.

In 2019, 63% of single smartphone users in the UK had tried to find a new partner on dating apps

 

A Statista survey from 2019 shows that 6% of widowed or divorced Britons used dating apps

In May 2021, 15.5% of internet users in the UK aged 25–34 were using online dating services. Closely 14.1% of the questioned Britons aged 35–44 favoured online dating apps.

In 2021, 12.7% of active internet users in the UK in the age group of 18–24 were using dating apps to connect with other people

Revenue in the UK’s dating segment is estimated to reach $116 million (roughly £85 million) in 2022. As even married people continue to spend time on dating sites, the online dating revenue will continue to exhibit steady growth in the future.

UK users are expected to amount to over 10 million on the online dating market by 2025

Relationship Statistics UK

Before we tell you about the average relationship lifespan in the UK, let’s see how much couples enjoy their relationships. In this section, you’ll also find more information about what The Way We Are Now survey respondents say are the ingredients of a happy relationship.

Over 5,000 Britons participated in the research The Way We Are Now. When asked about what matters in a good relationship, their top three picks were trust (67%), communication (52%), and commitment (37%).

 

Interestingly, 34% of the participants in the same study said shared values matter the most in relationships, while others voted for sex life (13%) and physical attraction (12%)

Out of the 5,000 survey participants in the UK, 27% said they felt exceedingly happy in their relationship

Conversely, the same survey shows only 8% of Britons felt extremely unhappy in their romantic relationships

The Average Lifespan of a Relationship UK

In 2019, Statista published a survey conducted in June 2017 on the length of relationships in the UK by age group. In this survey, 6% of the participants aged 18–29 claimed they had been in a relationship/single for less than three months before the survey began.

In 2017, 6% of Britons aged 18–29 had been single or in a relationship for 3–6 months at the time

This Statista study from 2017 also exhibits that 16% of the questioned Britons aged 18–29 had been in a relationship/single for 7–11 months before the survey.

 

A Statista study conducted in the UK (2017) showed that 23% of participants aged 18–29 had been single or in a relationship for 2–5 years before the survey

The same survey showed that 14% of the questioned Britons aged 18–29 had been in a relationship/single for ten years before the survey took place

Statista’s report that showcases the average length of a relationship in the UK includes Brits aged 30–59. The report states that only 4% of all participants had been single for less than three months before the survey.

In 2017, 3% of Britons in the age group of 30–50 had been either single or in a relationship for 6–8 months prior to the Statista survey

Similarly, 6% of Statista survey participants aged 30–59 claimed they’d been single or in a relationship between 2015 and 2017.

In 2017, 54% of Britons aged 30–59 who participated in the Statista survey claimed they’d been in a relationship/single for ten years prior to the study

Did you know that 4% of Britons aged 60+ who participated in the survey about the average length of a relationship in the UK claimed they’d been single/taken for less than three months before the study began in 2017?

 

In 2017, none of the questioned Britons (0%) said they’d been in a relationship or single in the timeframe of 1–2 years before the survey was conducted

80% of Britons over the age of 60 had been in a relationship/single for ten years before the survey (2017)

What is the average lifespan of a relationship in the UK by age?

Characteristics 18–29 years old 30–59 years old 60+ years old
Less than 3 months 6% 4% 4%
3–6 months 6% 3% 1%
7–11 months 16% 4% 0%
1–2 years 21% 6% 0%
2–5 years 23% 12% 6%
5–10 years 12% 18% 10%
10 years or longer 14% 54% 80%

In the UK, the average marriage lasts for 30 years. Additionally, most marriages in the UK end with the death of a spouse.

The average relationship in the UK lasts for two years and nine months

Marriage Statistics UK

In 2020, the UK heterosexual marriage rate fell to the lowest level, as couples tend to delay marriage or choose to cohabit instead. Furthermore, couples’ decisions to postpone their marriage and adapt to new living arrangements continue to affect some of the UK’s largest industries, making them lose a significant portion of estimated revenue in the long term.

According to IBISWorld, the annualised growth of the UK’s marriage rate between 2017 and 2022 is estimated to be -3.6%

Between 2020 and 2021, the marriage rate in the UK fell by 69%. As more Britons choose to be career-oriented or independent, they are more likely to leave marriage to a much later age.

Only 2.3 per 1000 people in the UK chose to get married between 2020/21

ONS reports show that modern couples are comfortable with the idea of living together before getting married or cohabiting until life gets in the way. Namely, in 2018, the estimated median age at marriage for heterosexual women was 35.8 years and 36.9 for women who entered a same-sex marriage.

Similarly, the average age at marriage in 2018 for heterosexual men was 38.1 years, and 40.4 for men in same-sex marriages

In 2018, there were 227,870 registered opposite-sex marriages in the UK. Similarly, there were 6,925 same-sex marriages registered in the UK at the time.

In the UK, the opposite-sex marriage to same-sex marriage ratio in 2018 was 97.1% to 2.9%, respectively

In 2020, 7,208 opposite-sex civil partnerships were registered in the UK. When it comes to civil partnerships formed between same-sex couples, it’s noteworthy that 745 were documented in the UK that year.

 

Dwelling into this further, the average ages at civil partnership in 2020 for heterosexual couples were 56.3 years for women and 58.9 years for men in the UK

Similarly, in 2020 the median age at civil partnership for same-sex couples in the UK was 50.1 years for women and 49.8 for men

In 2019, approximately 35% of the UK population were single. These people have never been married or a part of a civil partnership before. More importantly, a higher percentage of men in the UK were single (38.3%) during the same period.

In 2019, 31.8% of all women in the UK were living a single life

COVID19 and Relationships in the UK

Did you know that the COVID19 pandemic had an immense impact on couples in the UK? Namely, a study released by Relate in July 2020 shows the lockdown in the UK has made 64% of all participants realise the significance of relationships.

 

8% of respondents in the UK said they’ve decided to end their relationships during the 2020 lockdown

On the bright side, 10% of all Relate study participants in the UK realised they wanted to propose to their partner during the lockdown in 2020

The research in 2020 showcases younger Britons aged 16–34 were feeling the most pressure on their relationships during lockdown compared to other age groups. It’s worth noting that over 2,000 Britons participated in the poll, all of them being 16 years or older.

In 2020, people aged 16–34 felt anxious about how their relationship might change after the lockdown in the UK

The lockdown in 2020 has helped many Britons experience the bright side of quality family time. Surprisingly enough, around 55% of the Relate survey respondents claimed the lockdown had inspired them to spend more time with their loved ones in the future.

The participants in Relate’s survey in 2020 said they want to continue going on family walks (30%) and spending more time with family (29%)

Wrap Up

All in all, the average lifespan of a relationship in the UK is around three years. Moreover, with married or taken people using dating services, it’s doubtful that these numbers will improve in the future. However, as hopeless romantics, we have to believe that love will win the odds. 

As stated earlier, some stats show that many Britons are happy in their relationships. So, we have to ask: what matters more to you — the length of a romantic relationship or the quality?