United Kingdom

So what's an 'established relationship?': 80% of Britons believe it means dating someone for a year

Some 84 per cent of Britons think dating for at least a year constitutes an 'established relationship', meaning they do not need to socially distance under new lockdown rules.

The latest government guidance issued this week does not provide clarity on what an 'established relationship' is, with many couples questioning if they fall into the category.

A survey by YouGov found 80 per cent think referring to a significant other as a 'partner' is enough to call things established.

A total of 84 per cent of those questioned think dating for a year or more awards them the title - while 72 per cent think six months or more is enough.

Two thirds - 66 per cent - found referring to someone as a 'boyfriend' or 'girlfriend' makes the relationship established, while 60 per cent said if you say you love them it does.

But just 17 per cent said it counted as established if the pair was having sex, falling to eight per cent for kissing.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said people needed to 'be careful' when it came to having sexual relationships outside of 'established relationships' during the pandemic.

Asked about the Government's guidance that only 'established' couples should be having sex, he told Sky News: 'In these rules that we have to bring in, there have to be boundaries, to coin a phrase.

'If you're saying that two households shouldn't mix, which we are in some parts of the country - in the North East, the North West, in Scotland, in parts of Wales - then you have to then define what is the boundary of that.'

He added: 'I think we should stick to the letter of it, which is it is okay in an established relationship.

Asked about the Government's guidance that only 'established' couples should be having sex, he told Sky News: 'In these rules that we have to bring in, there have to be boundaries, to coin a phrase'

'It just means that people need to be careful, they need to be sensible.

'If you're in a relationship that is well established... what it means is people realising that coming into close contact with people from other households, then that is how the virus spreads.'

Mr Hancock joked to host Kay Burley that 'I know I am in an established relationship' with his wife.

In what is often seen as the first step to moving in with someone, leaving a toothbrush at the other person's house was seen by 51 per cent to be a sign of an established relationship.

Meanwhile the bold step of meeting a partner's parents was judged by just 42 per cent to mean a couple fits Mr Hancock's threshold.

Some viewers accused Ms Burley of flirting with the health secretary during their interview on yesterday.

The were both laughing while discussing casual sex in the context of the new coronavirus restrictions.

 One viewer tweeted: 'Jesus christ @KayBurley get a room! What unprofessional interviewing, more like a speed date than a serious interview on a major network at prime news time.'

Another added: 'She was like that yesterday with Raab, in fact if a man has a pulse, she's like that with them too. @KayBurley'.

'Vile!!' a third posted. 'How can he be that immature?' another added.

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