7.6 Million Parents Stay Together Because Of Their Kids

·         Over a fifth (22 per cent) of parents stayed in a relationship for longer than they wanted to for the sake of their children

·         On average, parents stayed together an additional five and a half years because of their kids when they would have otherwise split up

·         Two fifths (41 per cent) did not tell their partner they had planned to separate

New research1 from Direct Line Life Insurance reveals 7.6 million parents have stayed in a relationship for longer than they would have liked with their spouse or partner because they have children together.  Over a fifth (22 per cent) of parents that would have split up, stayed together for longer because of their kids.

On average, parents are staying in relationships for over half a decade longer (5 years 5 months), than they would have if it wasn’t for their children. There is a clear generational difference, with parents now over the age of 55 believing they stayed in a relationship for nearly seven years longer due to their kids, compared to just over three years for parents currently under the age of 35.  It shows how attitudes are changing towards break-ups and relationships where children are involved.   

Over a third of parents who stayed toegther (36 per cent) believed it was better for children to have two parents at home while growing up, so stayed together rather than separating, while almost a quarter (23 per cent) said it was because they thought the negative impact would be greater if they split up while their children were still young.  Similar numbers said it was because they wanted to give the relationship a chance (21 per cent), they needed help raising their children (21 per cent) or they couldn’t afford to separate (20 per cent). 

Table one: Reasons why parents stayed in relationships 

Reason Percentage Of Parents Who Said This Was Why They Stayed With Their Spouse/Partner
Thought it was better for children to have two parents living at home  36%
Thought it would have a greater negative impact on children if they split up while children were young  23%
Needed help raising children 21%
Wanted to give the relationship a chance  21%
Couldn't afford to separate  20%
Wanted to set a good relationship to my children 17%
Didn't want to admit the relationship hadn't worked  16%
Thought it was easier to be with someone rather than on my own  12%
Having the children in the house distracted us from the issues in the relationship 10%
Worried our children would be bullied at school if their parents had split up 5%

Source: Direct Line Life Insurance 2019

Interestingly, there is a division between men and women on their reasons for staying together. The main reason for men is because they believe it is better for children to have two parents living at home (46 per cent), while for women it is because they cannot afford to separate with the other parent (31 per cent).  This highlights the financial challenges many families, and especially women, can face when splitting up as the previous combined household income then needs to stretch across two properties and often cover additional childcare costs too. 

For some 4.5 million people (59 per cent) the decision to stay together for their children was mutual, while 3.1 million people (41 per cent) kept their decision to themselves. Over a third (38 per cent) said even their children knew, whether because they were told (18 per cent) or because they had guessed (20 per cent).

Jane Morgan, Business Manager at Direct Line Life Insurance, commented: “It is interesting to see how many parents would have broken up years earlier if they didn’t have children. Parents consistently work hard to put the needs of their children above their own, prioritising their children’s happiness above everything.  There are a range of couples and marriage counselling options available to help people work through relationship difficulties and work out how best to deal with the impact on their children if they do decide it is best to sperate.

“Protecting their children is the first instinct of all parents and whether they are with their child’s other parent or not, will still want to ensure their children are safe and looked after. Life insurance could offer that added peace of mind that whatever happens, you can still help support your children.”

     - ENDS -

Notes to Editors

1  Research conducted by Opinium among a nationally representative sample of 2,002 UK

   adults between 1st & 3rd October 2019

For further information please contact:

Chelsey Wheeler

PR Manager

Direct Line Group

Tel: 01651 832 095

Email: [email protected]

Katie Ormrod

Citigate Dewe Rogerson

Tel: 0207 282 1023

Email: [email protected]

Direct Line

Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel, pet and life insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.

Direct Line life insurance policies are underwritten by Legal & General, registered office: One Coleman Street, London EC2R 5AA. Legal & General Assurance Society Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under number 117659. You can check the FCA register at www.fca.org.uk/register or call the FCA on 0800 111 6768. Legal & General will introduce customers who select the Funeral Benefit Option to Dignity Funeral Services, who are members of the National Association of Funeral Directors.

Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0800 145 5522 or visiting www.directline.com/life-cover