Just how happily married are we and how faithful?
One of the most common reasons people contact us is to talk to someone about relationships, love and their marriage. The Office of National Statistics estimates that some 42% of marriages end in divorce, but just how happy are those of us who are still married in the UK?
We polled 2,000 people in August 2019 to find out and in this report, we delve into the statistics.
Marriage Satisfaction Statistics in Summary
Here are the key findings:
- Married couples in the UK are generally happy in their marriages, with 83.2% stating this
- Men are slightly likelier than women to be happy in their marriage
- 1 in 4 married people nationally has had or would consider having an affair
- 20% of married people in the North East have had at least one affair
How Happy Are We?
- 83.2% of married people are happily married
- Just 2.4% of married couples claim to be unhappy, while the remainder say they are neither happy nor unhappy
- Women are the likeliest to be unhappy or neither happy nor unhappy
On the whole, we’re happy in our marriages, according to our statistics. 83.2% of married people say they’re “happily married” while 14.4% state they are “neither happy nor unhappy” in the marriage. Just 2.4% claim to be unhappy in their marriages.
This varies by age, region within the UK and also gender.
Regional Variations in Marriage Satisfaction
Marriage happiness varies by region too:
- The happiest marriages, it seems, are in the South West where 86.8% of those quizzed said they were happy in their marriages
- Wales comes in a close second in our figures with an 85.3% marriage happiness score
- At the other end of the scale, just 77.6% of those quizzed in the South East said they were happy in their marriages
This is visualised in the map below.
|I am happily married||I am neither happy|
in my marriage
|I am unhappy|
in my marriage
Almost a fifth of married people in the South East are neither happy nor unhappy while Wales is where you’re likeliest to find yourself in an unhappy marriage (1 in 20) based on our statistics.
Attraction in Marriage
Many of us take for granted an attraction to our spouses. But are we really all attracted when we’re exchanging vows? And does it last or does it dwindle?
- 75% of married men and 70% of married women say they’ve always been attracted to their spouse and remain so
- For 1 in 5 married men, attraction to their spouse has dwindled over time (for some, to nothing at all)
- 1 in 4 married women report dwindling attraction and for 1 in 20, that attraction has disappeared altogether.
Infidelity – Affairs
We asked our 2,000 married people about past affairs or whether they’d ever consider an affair.
- 75% of married people say they’ve never had and would never consider an affair
This Varies Hugely Depending on Gender
- 31% of husbands have had or would consider an affair
- Just 19% of wives had had or would have an affair
- 1 in 5 married men admits to having had more than one affair
- 12% of married men admit to having had an affair
|Which of the following statements applies to you?||All respondents||Married men||Married women|
|I have never had an affair and I would never consider it||75.1%||69.0%||81.0%|
|I have never had an affair but I would consider it||10.8%||13.4%||8.1%|
|I have had an affair||10.8%||12.0%||9.5%|
|I have had more than one affair||3.5%||5.5.%||1.4%|
The UK Regions Where Spouses Are Likeliest to Have an Affair
Spouses in the North East are the least likely to say they’ve never had and would never consider an affair, while Spouses in Northern Ireland appear the likeliest to be faithful.
|I have never had an affair and would never consider it||I have never had an affair but I would consider it||I have had an affair||I have had more than one affair|
How Often Married People Have Sex
We asked our 2,000 respondents how frequently, on average, they have sex with their spouse in a typical month.
The average is 6 and again this varies regionally.
Sex Per Month
Married couples are having the most sex in London, closely followed by the North East and North West.
At the other end of the scale, married couple in Northern Ireland have sex an average of just 4.73 times per month.
How Frequently We Argue
We all argue, right? But just how often?
- Three quarters of married adults in the UK argue with their spouse at least once a month.
- Believe it or not, older couples tend to bicker with their partners less, with over a third (36%) of people aged 65 and above saying they never argue with their other half.
- Men and women’s perceptions of how much they argue with their partners appear to be rather in line with one another. A quarter of both men and women say they never argue with their spouse, whilst 55% of men and 54% of women say they argue between 1 and 5 times a month.
Why do we stay married?
Despite the little arguments, the overwhelming majority (83.50%) of us stay with our spouses because we love them.
But 1 in 10 say they’re only together for the children.
1 in 20 married women say they remain married because they’re financially dependent upon their spouse. Fewer than 1 in 100 men say they feel this way, meaning women are five times more likely than men to find themselves in a marriage because of financial dependency.
The Stage of Marriage in 2019
Our statistics show some shocking findings around infidelity. But on the whole, Britain’s married people are happy, in love and faithful.