7 year itch? 3 year glitch? When do relationships hit the rocks?
Danica Patrick announced in November she will be divorcing after 7 years of marriage and headlines have been screaming about the 7 year itch —also known as a period of marital boredom that is accompanied by an increased likelihood for infidelity. The term was made famous by the 1955 film “The Seven Year Itch” starring Marilyn Monroe. Digging into the genesis of the phrase uncovers that the magic number of seven might be more coincidence than a proven period of time.
There have been studies claiming to prove the seven year itch and almost as many dispelling the 7 year threshold as a sticking point for marriages. This leaves the jury still out on empirical proof. The Census Bureau reported the median duration of a marriage to be 8 years in 2009 (the most recent available data), but other sources report various milestones as being problematic for couples.
A 2011 article published on the Huffington Post reported a survey of 2000 people revealed the 3 year mark was the threshold for declining relationship satisfaction. Whether the marriage lasted three years or seven, the reasons leading to divorce are frequently the same. Money, communication, and misaligned expectations all top the list.
The reasons for divorce can be difficult to understand when you are going through the divorce process, particularly if you weren’t the initiator. Men dealing with divorce often wonder why and what went wrong. Regardless of if you instigated the split or your wife did, it is important to face the issue head on. As Portland divorce attorneys, too frequently we have seen men try to fix the problem by ignoring it.
It is imperative once the decision to divorce has been made, you take a proactive role in the process. Speaking with a Seattle family law attorney as soon as possible can help you get important information that will ultimately protect your rights and your assets. For some men it can also be helpful to understand how money, communication, and expectations contribute to the divorce decision.
Money —how much you have, how it is spent, and where it comes from can all be contentious points. The stress of not having enough money can cause an insurmountable burden, that coupled with one spouse secretly spending money can be the fatal blow to the marriage.
Closely intertwined to money issues is communication. Communication breakdowns lead to disengagement and detachment. This is often the first step in secretive spending and straying outside the marriage. When spouses fail to communicate plans, important information and feelings it can begin to quickly erode the relationship.
People often fail to say what we mean, whether by design or because we just don’t know how. We often misunderstand others, and, to make matters worse, may think we understand them when we don’t. We respond to what isn’t being said, and miss what is. Others “do” the same to us, and an innumerable number of arguments and even chronic relationship problems are the result.–goodtherapy.org
The misalignment of expectations can be challenging both in the relationship and through the divorce process. If both parties have vastly different beliefs it can lead to a great deal of conflict, which is exacerbated during divorce. In a paper published on expectations in relationships, Jacklyn Marcus, Ph.D, stated:
“It is a basic human trait to project our desires and thoughts onto those we are closest to. We tend to expect significant people in our lives to behave in a manner envisioned in our mind. Expectations in relationships can be harmful when unspoken ideals are projected onto the other person. Unspoken assumptions and unrealistic expectations commonly sabotage relationships.”
If you are facing divorce, regardless of the cause, we understand the legal and emotional challenges that accompany this difficult time. If you are unsure on what to expect or what you should do —call our office. Our managing attorney, Colin Amos, can answer your divorce and family law questions over the phone for free and with no obligation.