One in ten married couples are staying together ‘just for the kids’ – and plan to split when the children are old enough, a study revealed.
Financial, emotional and physical pressures of modern life, which place a huge strain on relationships, are believed to be behind the worryingly high figure.
The shocking stat emerged in a report which also found millions of parents will now resume battle after six weeks of playing happy families during the ‘summer ceasefire’.
It means heartache lies ahead for tens of thousands of children and young adults.
The survey results come at a time when the number of couples filing for divorce rises as tensions escalate after a strife filled summer when feuding families were forced to spend time together.
Break-up and bereavement support website HealBee commissioned the study after experiencing a 40 per cent rise in the number of visitors.
A spokesman said: ”What we are most surprised at is that it would seem that many parents feel compelled to stick together with a disregard for their own happiness, or without fully considering the effect on children growing up in a household where there is animosity.
”Aside from the very real possibility of children blaming themselves for their parents’ unhappiness should they choose to stay together, but then separate when they’re older, these children might also follow their parents’ patterns in their own relationships.
”If you grow up in an environment where everyone around you speaks with a certain accent you simply don’t notice it until you are outside of that environment.
”Children are both highly receptive to their role models’ actions, but also perceptive to any changes such as increased tension within the household.”
The detailed study carried out among 2,000 couples found that while 83 per cent of couples felt they ‘made more effort’ with each other while the kids were home only five per cent said that they had now resolved their issues.
Another one in three said they had made their friends or family aware of the fact they weren’t planning to stay together forever.
An astonishing 72 per cent of those who said they were still living together and simply acting as a couple in front of the kids said they in truth considered themselves ‘separated’.
Even those who have been able to afford some time away from the family home found the whole experience considerably less relaxing than it should have been, according to the report.
Many of the couples who separate will do so knowing Christmas may prove a bridge too far for their frayed tempers.
One third of troubled couples questioned had now discussed ending the relationship with their partner, one in four said they had decided themselves to end the relationship but had yet to inform their other half.
It also emerged six out of ten of those who are staying together because of the children want to wait until their kids are at least 18 years of age, often preferring to wait until their child is settled at university, before planning for life apart.
Chad Schofield, from HealBee, added: ”We were not really surprised that there is a sharp spike in divorces in September and October after troubled couples have played happy families, or cracks in the relationship were exacerbated while spending more time together over the summer holidays.
”Our research has shown that of those parents who had separated, 75 per cent said that they now regretted staying in their relationship for their children and that nearly 90 per cent of separated parents now admitted that they would have left earlier if they received more support. “