• Is Your Marriage Experiencing the 7-Year Itch?

    The traditional 7th anniversary gift is copper or wool. And while some people may be going out to buy their spouse a cozy wool blanket or a copper platter, some couples aren’t buying each other anything because they’re already in trouble. Couples may find themselves thinking back to how great the beginning of their relationship was and wondering how they can get back to feeling the same way again. So, what could be the culprit?

    Of course, every couple goes through ups and downs. But sometimes, there are downs that never seem to come back up. Many talk about the 7-year itch — a time when couples start to lose romantic interest. But while seven years may be the average length of time that marriages end in divorce, it’s not the most common — in this instance, the greatest number of divorces actually occur at the 4-year mark. Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist at Rutgers University, wanted to see if there was a possible evolutionary explanation for the four-year drop-off.

    To do this, Fisher studied birds and mammals, looking at their pair-bonding patterns. She found that most were together just long enough to rear their young to go out into the world on their own. Why? Because up until that point, they needed their mates to enhance the chance of their and their offspring’s survival. Once the baby “left the nest,” the mate was no longer necessary to help care for them and their young. And she posits humans may have followed this natural reproductive pattern.  Once the child achieves some degree of autonomy, it seems that the couple no longer “needs” one another as much.

    This research study highlights the possibility that we, as humans, may have a natural and biological weak point in our relationships — a biologically based vulnerability to a deterioration in our own bonding.

    You and your partner may start to recognize more negative feelings toward each other at this point in your relationship. Maybe things that you were once able to look past are things that you can’t stop thinking about and let go of now. Sometimes frustration can make it harder to express and share feelings and needs. If you’re feeling less patient and getting angry more easily, there may be a deeper problem brewing. All of the anger and resentment could lead to an escalation and crisis.

    If this sounds familiar, Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy (EFT) could help. EFT is a research-supported therapeutic approach that has a scientifically proven track record of helping couples improve their relationship. In sessions, the EFT therapist takes great care to create a supportive alliance with both partners. You should never feel like one partner is liked more than the other, and the therapist should never “take sides.” The therapist will meet with the couple together, and also individually. The extensive research on EFT has shown that it has a success rate of over 70% and is often (but not always) completed in 8-20 sessions. Each individual session typically lasts about 60-90 minutes.

    Whether you feel that you and your partner are experiencing a rough patch — or just want to prevent any problems from getting worse, EFT may be the solution for you. No relationship is without its issues, but with couples therapy, you can develop helpful ways to communicate with your partner and get your relationship back on track — and resist scratching the 4-year itch. Call Couples Therapy Orlando today at 407-579-2070 for a complimentary consultation to see if EFT might be right for you.



    Therapy services available via Telehealth.