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UK Brexit vote splits 1.6m British couples, study finds

By Conal Urquhart in London | China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-02 07:18

The arguments and divisions that led people in the United Kingdom to vote to leave the European Union, by 52 percent to 48 in last year's referendum, look to have had a damaging effect on the nation's collective love life.

A survey conducted for the online dating service eHarmony estimates that the Brexit vote accounted for 1.6 million breakups. The figure was based on a sample of 2,000 British adults and extrapolated against the current UK population of 65 million.

The study concluded that 2.7 million relationships foundered over politics, but Brexit was by far the largest breakup inducer.

Family ties also were affected. The research estimated that 2.5 million Britons fell out with relatives over Brexit, with 813,000 completely cutting off contact with a family member.

Britons aged 25 to 34 were the most volatile on politics, with 12 percent saying they would break up with a partner over the issue.

Romain Bertrand, the UK manager for eHarmony, said the Brexit referendum was a defining political moment, and coverage was inescapable.

"This meant people were forced to confront issues they might otherwise have avoided in terms of political perspectives - therefore it's unfortunate but not altogether surprising that 1.6 million UK relationships ended," he said.

June 23 is the anniversary of the referendum but the UK is still a long way away from leaving the EU. The first negotiations on the breakup are scheduled to begin on July 19, but it is not clear how quickly they will progress or when they will finish.

Before then, the UK must undergo a general election on June 8, which could further complicate both Brexit negotiations and human relations.

Differences of opinion, however, do not necessarily end in a split. Bertrand said the company's research found that traits such as conscientiousness, good conflict resolution and adaptability help create and sustain happy, long-lasting relationships.

"As such, we feel confident that we can find you the right (or left) partner, no matter where you fall on the political spectrum," he said.

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