How do you know when it’s time to break up? Here’s the research

Elnur/Shutterstock Veronica Lamarche, University of Essex Christmas may be a time of giving, but it’s also a peak time for break-ups. Facing the prospect of spending yet another festive season with their romantic partner, many people start having doubts about their relationship in the run up to Christmas. This is even the case for marriages, with formal divorce applications tending to peak in January. But knowing whether it is time to break up can be extremely difficult. Should you try harder to make the relationship work, or have you wasted too much energy on it already? Making a list of pros and cons can be one way to decide. A study from 2018 showed that most people are able to produce a list of reasons to stay with or leave their partner. Based on 447 participants’ open-ended responses to questions about their relationship, the researchers were able to identify 27 reasons people want to stay in their relationship. Common reasons to stay included the fulfilment of emoti…
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One in four children grow up in a single-parent family – so why is there still a stigma?

Just the two of us. shutterstock /LightField Nicola Carroll, University of Huddersfield Given that one in four children now grow up in one-parent homes and that 42% of marriages end in divorce you might expect prejudice against single parents to be a thing of the past. Yet a 2014 poll found that 75% of single parents had experienced stigma. Indeed, Boris Johnson has recently been confronted about a column he wrote for The Spectator in 1995 which described the children of single mothers as “ill-raised, ignorant, aggressive and illegitimate”. When pressed on the comments by callers on LBC radio, Johnson said this was written before he was in politics. It’s maybe not surprising, then, that mothers who took part in my research interviews described feeling isolated, stigmatised and frustrated with negative stereotypes. In fact, most participants in the study said they wouldn’t tell someone they met for the first time they were a single parent, viewing it as a “label” which they…
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