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7-Year Itch? Should Be 4-Year Itch Actually

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Does 7-year itch really exist or not?

When couples who’ve been many years together and break up, people often become so shocked and would attribute that to 7-year itch.

“Oh…how come? They’ve been so sweet together! I just can’t believe that…Maybe it’s 7-year itch…”

It’s always a pity to see promising couples to break up. It’s like forcing you to accept the truth that nothing lasts long.

But is it really a phenomenon we can’t avoid? Or, it’s just an excuse?

7-year itch is partly truth

Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist at Rutgers University, did a project to see if 7-year itch really exist or not.

She found that although the median duration of marriage was 7 years, most of them divorced at the 4th year[1].

▲The peak is at the 4th year

Image credit: Statistics New Zealand

By coincidence, another research shows similar results. This time the researcher Dr. Larry A. Kurdek, studied more than 500 couples to see the trend of their marital satisfaction over the years. The biggest decline occurs at the 4th year. And there’s a second decline at the 7th year, which scale is smaller though.[2]

Some reasons scientists suggested for the 4-year itch and 7-year itch

4-year itch

For the peak at the 4th year, researcher Helen Fisher tried to explain it by taking references from animals. She said most mammals don’t stay with their partners forever. Usually they just stay with them long enough to raise their offsprings to the age of 4. After that it’s time to say goodbye. This is also a common phenomenon in some tribes. Biologically speaking, this is beneficial because as they have offsprings with different partners, the genetic variety increases.[3]

7-year itch

For the 7th-year decline, one explanation is that human has big changes every 7 years[4]. This is a theory that has been widely adopted in the education field. That’s why a lot of educational systems divide children’s development into three stages from the age of 0-6/7, 6/7-14 and 14 and up.

So…should I try to save the relationship or not?

The 4-year itch and 7-year itch do exist. But it doesn’t mean every relationship that reaches the 4th year or the 7th year is doomed. If you can overcome such crisis, your relationship will only become stronger.

One important thing to note though is that you should make sure if you are just bored, or you’re really in a wrong relationship. Once you know the person is right for you, don’t let the petty stuff and time ruin you. If the person is wrong, don’t hold on for the sake of holding on. The 4-year itch and 7-year itch might just help you make up your mind better!

Reference

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