F4.2 The ongoing effects of relationship breakdown on our happiness, connection, and wellbeing


Claire Fisher 
Relationships Australia National

Nick Tebbey
Relationships Australia National

Thursday 18 May 2023

Time: 9:35am – 10:05am

Room: Room 8

F4.2 Relationship breakdown and re-partnering

The ongoing effects of relationship breakdown on our happiness, connection, and wellbeing


Relationships Australia was established in 1948 to support Australian soldiers returning from World War II to reconnect with their families, with a focus on maintaining marriages. In the 75 years since, our understanding of marriages, relationships and families has shifted and expanded and so too have our services.

As understanding of the changing nature of relationships has evolved, the concept of relationship breakdown has become a more accepted outcome, yet the importance of services which appropriately support this transition has also become increasingly clear.

In 2022, we ran our Relationship Indicators survey which explored the ongoing impacts of relationship breakdown. The Relationship Indicators project was a nationally representative survey into the state of relationships in Australia.

We found that 36% of Australians had experienced a break-up (20%), divorce (11%) or separation (6%) that still affected them today. Additionally, people who were experiencing ongoing effects from their breakdown:

  • Were 1.5x more lonely
  • Faced more mental health struggles, and
  • Had more relationship pressures in other relationships with friends, family and new partners

Despite this, qualitative responses told a different story. Some felt an enormous sense of freedom, a renewed sense of purpose and a new outlook on life following the relationship breakdown.

This presentation will cover the findings from this representative survey. It will also explore the concept of a respectful relationship breakdown and discuss how services can endeavour to support people to navigate this common, but challenging life event.


Claire is the Senior Research and Project Officer at Relationships Australia. She works with people across the Federation to create exciting opportunities for new research in a variety of fields. She has a passion for knowledge translation to create a stronger pathway from research to practice.

Nick Tebbey is the National Executive Officer of Relationships Australia. Nick has worked for a number of years in the social and community sectors. In his role at Relationships Australia, Nick is proud to be leading a team representing a Federation of organisations across the country, that promotes respect for the rights of all people, in all their diversity, to live with dignity and safety and to enjoy respectful relationships within their families and their broader communities.