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Results

More than 1400 people responded to the Relationships Australia online survey in May 2018.  Four‑fifths (78%) of respondents identified as female, with more female than male respondents in every age group (see figure 1 below).  More than 85 per cent of survey respondents were aged between 20-59 years, and more than half (56%) comprised women aged between 30-49 years (inclusive).

As for previous surveys, the demographic profile of survey respondents remains consistent with our experience of the groups of people that would be accessing the Relationships Australia website.

Fifty per cent of survey respondents reported that they were married, 12 per cent were single and living alone and 10 per cent reported that they were single but living with other people.  Almost all survey respondents were/had been in a long-term relationship.

More men (15%) than women (8%) reported that they had no close friends outside of their long-term relationship.  Around one‑third of men and women reported they had 1-2 close friends outside their relationship and a further one-third reported that they had 3-4 close friends outside of their relationship.  Women (30%) were more likely than men (19%) to report they had 5 or more close friends outside of their relationship when they were in a long-term relationship (figure 2).

When examining the number of close friends by gender, on average, men and women’s estimates of the number of close friends outside their long-term relationship were consistent with men and women’s estimates of their partner’s friendships outside their long-term relationship (figure 2).

Survey respondents were asked whether they had more or fewer close friendships when in a long‑term relationship (figure 3).  Irrespective of their current relationship status, a significantly larger proportion of survey respondents reported they had fewer, rather than more, close friends when involved in a long-term relationship.  Separated or divorced individuals were the most likely to report they had fewer friends when involved in a long-term relationship, while single people living alone were the most likely to report they had more close friends when involved in a long-term relationship.

Survey respondents who were currently separated or divorced were most likely to report they spent too little time with close friends, while single, married and de facto respondents were more likely to report they spent about the right amount of time with close friends.  Very few respondents reported they spent too much time with close friends (table 1).

 

Table 1. Desirability of time with friends by current relationship status

Current relationship status

Too little time

Enough time

Other

Single and living alone

47

45

7

Single and living with other people

54

43

3

Separated/divorced and living alone

59

34

6

Separated/divorced and living with people other than (ex) partner

60

34

5

Married/de facto and living with my partner

49

46

5

 

There were significant differences in the reports of men and women when they were asked who they turned to for support when they had problems (figure 4).  While a significant proportion of men and women reported they turned to their partner (45%), women were more likely to turn to immediate family (18%) or friends (26%) than men (16% & 17%).

Relationships Australia State and Territory websites