Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Myth of the Seven Year Itch

A common idea about relationships is that there comes a point in terms of time when both individuals start to wonder what they are doing in the relationship. This is regarded as a tricky time for both people; conflicts are increased, as are temptations. This period is referred to as the seven year itch.

The phenomenon known as the seven year itch is a real occurrence in the relationship of almost every couple, although of course the degree to which it occurs will be different from person to person, as well as the manifestations of the "itch". Another factor that will be specific to the couple involved is the time period. Most couples will actually feel the itch after five years; some may find that it actually lasts for the time between five and seven years.

Reasons for the itch

There are several reasons why the itch occurs. The first has to do with our evolutionary makeup as human beings. We are naturally given to change, and so long times spent in one particular situation will make us curious as to how things could be different. Our bodies may not actually be over their natural programming either; not very long ago, seven or five years was a significant portion of a person's natural life.

Another reason for the itch is the degree of familiarity that both people in the relationship are feeling. Comfort can sometimes lead to a feeling of the mundane; what used to be exciting has now become predictable. Throw into the mix the fact that most couples have experienced some major shifts in their lives in the first five years of a relationship (career beginnings, promotions, the purchase of a home, the arrival of one or more babies) and you can see how the focus may be shifted away from maintaining the relationship.

Overcoming the itch

This is a difficult time for any couple, because there are always thoughts about what could have been. Both partners are bound to feel the stress.

The most important strategy in overcoming the itch is to communicate as a couple. Don't shut down, and don't stop sharing due to fear of a fight. A lot of couples will find that counseling is useful at this point in their relationship.

If you do go for counseling, be ready to accept that it is a process. Most counselors are not able to find a magic solution right away, and the sessions can be difficult for both individuals. Try not to let what is said in front of the counselor spill over after the session. A lot of couples will find that they are united through their interaction with the counselor; smiling a lot and reflecting on past good times can help to overcome the feelings of alienation from each other that the itch brings on.

Going through a rough patch in a relationship is typical. In fact, it is so common that the worst spots have actually been labeled. If you are committed to your relationship, it is important to talk through the period known as the seven year itch and be prepared to hang in as long as it takes.

No comments:

Post a Comment