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Modern living spells disaster for couples – less a third of people feel challenged in their relationships.

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by Cancer Research UK | News

1 August 2008

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British couples are spending “less time together than ever before”, according to a relationship expert. A survey released today shows that modern living is leaving little room in relationships for challenge and stimulation and little time for joint activities like exercise – or even talking.

The survey, published by Cancer Research UK to mark the launch of its Run 10k series, reveals that more than a quarter of us (28.3%) are spending less than three hours with our partners each day and one in nine spending no more than two hours. Additionally, fewer than one in three (32%) feel challenged or stimulated in their relationship.

Findings from the survey also show how the pace of modern living is spelling disaster for couples and their quality time together. When the people surveyed who are in relationships* were asked how long they actually spend talking to their partners, one in eight (12.7%) admitted spending less than 10% of their ‘together time’ conversing with each other. Perhaps even more worryingly, nearly 6% claim they don’t spend any of their time together talking at all.

Nearly 40% admit spending at least 10% of their time on the phone or texting whilst with their other half, and almost one in seven (13.4%) struggle to leave work at the office and spend time on their hand-held e-mail devices.

In light of these findings, Cancer Research UK has decided to challenge couples to enter Run 10k together to help them to spend more quality time in each other’s company.

Relationship expert Francine Kaye said of the findings, “These results show how little time couples are actually making for each other and it looks like we are spending less time together than ever before. Challenging each other to do something new together is a great way to rejuvenate your relationship. It’s all too easy for the demands of daily living to take precedence over being a couple, but if people do not start making more quality time for each other, whether it’s talking over the washing up, or exercising together, then the long-term consequences could be serious.”

The charity has teamed up with fitness expert to the stars Lucy Wyndham-Read to create a fun online quiz that estimates personal target running times for Run 10k. By logging on to couples can also use their estimated target running times to challenge their partner with a pledge; from doing their washing for a month to a marriage proposal! The pledge system is open to all ‘couples’, be they husband and wife, brother and sister, workmates, or best friends.

Natasha Woodford, head of Run 10k at Cancer Research UK adds, “It’s interesting to see how little time that couples are spending together these days. It’s surprising to hear that 62% of those surveyed admitted they spend no time exercising as a couple, either at a gym or outdoors. Running is not only a great way to keep fit and healthy but the perfect excuse to spend time together. We hope that couples, friends or even workmates will be really inspired by the pledge system to get active and challenge each other to Run 10k together.”

To take the quiz and challenge someone to Run 10k with you by visiting Run 10k


For more press information or images please contact the Cancer Research UK press office on 020 7061 8302 or, out-of-hours, the duty press officer on 07050 264 059.

*Survey conducted amongst 1,000 adults. 756 of these were in relationships.

About Run 10K:

  • Run 10k for Cancer Research UK, supported by Tesco, is a series of 41 events held in stunning and unique locations through the UK this autumn.
  • This year we hope 50,000 men and women will come together to raise just over £5m to help fund Cancer Research UK’s life saving work.
  • For further information about the Run 10K series or details of event locations please visit

About Cancer Research UK

  • Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK’s vision is to beat cancer.
  • Cancer Research UK carries out world-class research to improve understanding of the disease and find out how to prevent, diagnose and treat different kinds of cancer.
  • Cancer Research UK ensures that its findings are used to improve the lives of all cancer patients.
  • Cancer Research UK helps people to understand cancer, the progress that is being made and the choices each person can make.
  • Cancer Research UK works in partnership with others to achieve the greatest impact in the global fight against cancer.
  • For further information about Cancer Research UK’s work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 020 7121 6699 or visit our homepage.