Couples call for help as ‘January Jilt’ time hits

A generic photo of a daughter looking sad as her parents sit seperately. See PA Feature LIFESTYLE Divorce. PA Photo/Generic
A generic photo of a daughter looking sad as her parents sit seperately. See PA Feature LIFESTYLE Divorce. PA Photo/Generic
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CALLS to relationship counsellors have soared by more than half as Sheffield couples consider life changes as part of the ‘January Jilt’.

Yesterday, January 7, was said to be the day most couples are likely to split up after the stress of Christmas has taken its toll.

And city divorce lawyers, as well as counselling service Relate, said the phones had not stopped ringing with calls about relationship worries.

Alison Fernandes, a family lawyer based at Irwin Mitchell in Sheffield, said: “We are certainly noticing a very busy period.

“I was back in the office the Wednesday after New Year and had my first new client by 9am.

“There are all sorts of reasons why couples choose to split up at this time, it’s not all because of what happened at Christmas and New Year.

“Quite often things happened before then and people stay together for the Christmas period before deciding they have had enough.”

Relate – which has branches in South Yorkshire and Chesterfield – said calls from new clients booking sessions had soared by 52 per cent on the first two days of January, compared to the same dates in December.

The charity is calling on people to consider making ‘relationships resolutions’ this year as it expects more calls to come.

Ruth Sutherland, chief executive of Relate, said: “We expect this week to be the busiest ever for Relate as people get back to work and think about their relationships following the Christmas break.

“The first full working week in January is always a very busy time for us and the 52 per cent jump in client numbers we have already seen is an indicator of what’s to come.

“Last year we saw a 116 per cent rise in calls to our national helpline number, and the numbers of people accessing Relate this year looks to be higher still.”

Irwin Mitchell’s family law team has also put together a YouTube video about the divorce spike.

Ms Fernandes added: “Advice in the first instance is to take legal advice to consider what your options are.

“A lot of people come to see us because they are having problems in their relationship and are not sure what to do.

“They want to feel confident about what’s going to happen financially and to their children.”

RELATE is urging people to make ‘relationship resolutions’ this year.

Advice from the national relationship charity includes making ‘gratitude lists’ to help you remember what you like about a partner.

A regular date night – where just the couple spend time together alone – is also advised at least once a week.

This means no kids, friends or family, just the two of you.

Check in on your relationship to see how it is going. Sit down together, to ask the other person how they are feeling.

Write a love note – taking a minute or two out of your day to send your partner a sweet text message lets them know you are thinking of them.

Couples are also advised to “stop the blame game”.

Quit focusing on what the other person did and focus instead on what you can do to make the relationship better.

Counsellor Priscilla Sim created the five relationship resolutions.

She said: “Lots of people will be making resolutions this time of year for how they can be fitter, healthier or more successful. It’s important to remember your relationships in working out how you can be happier – it’s relationships that we all rely on, in good times and bad. So we should be remembering them in our New Year’s resolutions.”

Relate chief executive Ruth Sutherland said taking “small steps to improve things” could stop relationships breaking down.