If you’re married, you’ve probably heard of the seven-year itch — that point in your marriage where you or your spouse may suddenly wonder what it would be like to reclaim your freedom and be single again.
Is it really something to worry about? Is the seven-year itch just a figment of Hollywood?
The real test of a marriage actually comes a bit earlier
Your fears aren’t unfounded — just a little off the mark. Researchers say that the real risk of divorce tends to peak right around the fourth or fifth year of marriage.
Biologically, humans are hardwired to seek diversity in their partners. Staying together for the first four or five years gives a couple the ability to co-parent together during a child’s earliest years. Scientists speculate that there’s an innate drive toward genetic variation that sometimes causes a couple to seek new partners out after that time.
Psychologically, the five-year mark makes sense, as well. Couples often go through an extended “honeymoon” phase after they first marry that makes everything seem workable. By the time the fourth or fifth year of marriage rolls around, cracks in a relationship may have widened into gulfs and one or both parties may no longer have any desire to work things out.
What does this all mean? Well, if you’re unhappy with your marriage after four or five years, the odds are high that you won’t be any happier another four or five years down the road. Whether it’s biological or psychological, some couples just aren’t meant to be together.
When you’re thinking about divorce, get some guidance
No matter what your reason for contemplating divorce, it’s always wisest to find out more information that’s specific to your situation. Talking with an experienced divorce attorney can help you gain some much-needed clarity.