The Scoop on the 7-Year Itch
We’ve all heard about the 7-year itch—that notorious time when marriages seem to fall apart. So is it all mythology, or is there anything behind it? We could start by asking how long the average first-marriage lasts? The answer is 8.2 years. Some conclude that the seven-year-itch takes its toll, and couples decide to divorce after giving it a shot during bad times. And there is some research about the cycles through which adults naturally pass that backs that idea up.
Cycles in Adults
Adults do cycle through life in roughly seven-year cycles according to researchers, so the myth of a 7-year itch may have some validity. Couples might feasibly enjoy about seven years of overall satisfaction, only to encounter a few years of a downturn in their relationships. For those who stick it out, the cycle presumably repeats itself. Those who forgo the rocky years, however, end up divorced. Whether the issue is family demands at home, occupational or professional challenges, difficulties related to aging or health, or the need to care for elderly parents, transitions can be arduous, and might certainly drain the joy from a marriage.
The First 7 Years
Researchers believe that young newlyweds are transitioning away from existing as their parents’ children and are looking for a new identity in their new relationship. They’re looking to feel loved and prioritized, and offer as much to their new spouses. It’s all very exciting and dreamy, and they are committed to their new adventure. It’s literally the beginning of a new life.
Building During Those Years
With time, couples tend to develop patterns and routines in their marriages, creating stability, settling into patterns, and relaxing into a standard give-and-take that feels right for them. They adapt daily schedules that accommodate their needs and develop expectations for one another in the relationship. Who walks the dog? Who takes out the trash? What time do you go to bed during the week? Crafting the mechanics of marriage is enjoyable for many couples and makes their life together fun and rewarding.
According to researchers, in the neighborhood of year seven one or both partners starts to feel antsy. The things that used to seem novel and charming about a partner are lost somewhere between cleaning toilets, sleepless nights with the kids, and commuting to work. While the target used to be based on building routines, that’s now become mundane, if not suffocating. As individuals each has matured and grown, and that means their opinions, hopes, and needs have evolved, as well. Routine simply doesn’t cut it anymore.
The Seven-Year Itch
Routines that lack spontaneity leave couples feeling dissatisfied, which can lead to blaming, squabbling, and even consciously building space away from one another. Things just don’t feel like they used to, and, for some, backing off–either emotionally or through a divorce—seems the only way to feel good again. The effort to reconnect seems useless, leaving people to bury themselves in anything other than their partners. It might be a job, kids, home projects, or even ambitions completely outside of a relationship. For some, it could mean new hobbies or more time with friends, while for others it could lead to new romantic relationships. Sometimes the lack of commitment becomes so obvious that giving up altogether seems the best course of action, and couples make the decision to split up.
Is Divorce Right for You?
If the seven-year itch has you feeling like it’s time to move on, the experienced Springfield family attorneys at Courtney & Mills can help you to make a clean break. Schedule a confidential consultation in our Springfield office today.