We’re preparing for a surge in enquiries from couples whose relationships reach breaking point over the summer. Last year, we received a 49% increase in calls in September compared to an average month in 2016 along with a 9% rise in web traffic to the national site. This makes it our second busiest time of year after the post-Christmas peak each January.
“Relationships are often already at crisis point by the time people come to them in September,” says local counsellor Diane Whitmore. “School holidays, enforced jollity at rainy seaside resorts and financial pressures are just some of the reasons that summer can be the final straw. Some couples head straight for the divorce court; family lawyers also experience a rise in the number of new clients at this time of year.”
Anyone with concerns about their relationship should get in touch before things head into real difficulties, says Relate. “Whilst it’s never too late to ask for support, the earlier you tackle problems in your relationship, the more likely you are to overcome them,” says Diane.
“Most of us look forward to the summer holidays. But if you’re already having problems in your relationship then the pressure of juggling work, keeping the kids entertained and spending concentrated time with your partner might tip things over the edge. Tempers can get frayed and families can end up counting down the days. By the time schools re-open, some relationships are in a pretty bad state.
“We’d suggest seeking help at the earliest possible stage rather than leaving it until things get to crisis point. Even if you’re getting on all right now, there are some simple things it could be worth doing to ensure you make it through the summer with your relationship in a good place.”
Our tips for summer survival:
- Plan together Whether you’re going on holiday or staying put, it’s important to plan together as a family. Make everyone feel involved in plans and keep a chart with everyone’s top wishes on it.
- Turn down the heat Arguments are often part of family life, but take care to diffuse tensions before things get too heated. If your children are arguing, ask them to go into separate rooms and ‘take five’. You can do this too if you’re getting wound up.
- Reconnect It’s common for parents not to see their friends as much as they used to, especially when children are very young. But summer provides a chance for reconnecting as there are lots of activities, like weddings, fetes and barbeques, where parents and children from different families can get together.
- Keep things sizzling During the summer, older kids are often out doing their own thing, so this is a good opportunity for investing some time in your relationship with your partner.
- Check in Make sure your luggage isn’t the only thing you check in this summer. Talk to your partner regularly to find out how they’re feeling about themselves, the family and the relationship. You can then catch any issues early on and address them together.
- Switch off If you have time off work, try to make sure it’s really time off. Try not to check emails or work phones and really focus on enjoying time with your family.
- Make the most of better weather Make the most of what’s special about summer. Go for family walks during those long warm evenings, or arrange a picnic. Look out for free or cheap music events and summer schools arranged by local authorities.
- Seek support If things aren’t going swimmingly, relationship counselling could help. Don’t leave it until things have reached rock bottom to get in touch with Relate. Call our friendly appointments team on 01234 356350.