Britain has become a nation of needy timewasters - with people staying in an unhappy relationship for an average of four years, according to new research.
The study suggests that as many as two million Brits are in a relationship with someone who is not right for them.
But the average person knowingly stays in a bad relationship for four years before ending it.
The research, conducted by dating website e.Harmony, reveals the most common reason for staying in a relationship is the fear of being alone (12 per cent).
But a timid one in 11 (nine per cent) do so because they don’t want to hurt their partner and 7% stick together for the family.
And it seems we’re scared of singlehood, with one in four UK adults (24 per cent) saying they leave it less than a month before starting a new relationship.
But while two million are painfully aware their partner is not ‘the one’, only one in four (27 per cent) intended to break off their mismatched union.
Long-term compatibility was the most common concern, with two in five (41 per cent) less-than-love-up Brits saying they didn’t see a future with their partner.
A third (34 per cent) said they simply wanted different things from life and a shamefaced third (29 per cent) confessed they didn’t love their partner.
But one in six (15 per cent) worry a break-up could have an impact on our health, 10 per cent believe it could lead to shattered friendships and the same amount worry it could affect our performance at work (nine per cent).
Experts from the dating website say New Year is a common time to split, as many reassess what they want from the coming year.
But whether you take the plunge in January, or at any other time, research suggests it takes an average eight months to fully get over a break up.
And ‘relationship recovery’ time increases by 10 week for every year spent with a partner.
Therefore a relationship lasting 30 years can take over three years to get over.
Meanwhile, a brief courtship of just six months, you may just need ten weeks.
Despite the science, we are prone to shamelessly rushing to the next man or woman who comes along, with a quarter (24 per cent) moving on after less than a month.
However, 12 per cent of ‘single-phobics’) later regret their decision, wishing they had waited longer before starting something new.
Psychologist Doctor Linda Papadopoulos, said : “The start of a New Year is a great time to take stock of everything in your life and work out what you want from the year ahead, be it a career change, new fitness plan or relationship reassessment.
“When it comes to love, our research shows that many people stay in relationships that they know are wrong for them for a huge a variety of reasons.
“Yet, whilst this may feel like self-preservation, it can actually end up having a negative effect on self-confidence. By the same token, avoid rushing from one relationship to another and focus instead on your own happiness and well-being - the rest will follow.”
Jemima Wade, of eHarmony, said: “They say that breaking up is hard to do, but if you’re in a relationship it has to be for all the right reasons, and ultimately it has to make you happy.
“That’s why eHarmony partners people on the things that matter, like their values, beliefs and characteristics, meaning better matches that go the distance.”
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