For decades, popular culture has understood the seven-year or eight-year itch to be a time when couples lose interest in each other. One or both parties become bored and look for excitement in new ways. Divorces in Texas sometimes arise from this period of dissatisfaction, but why does marital trouble correspond to this pattern? Psychologists have identified the reasons that contribute to relationship breakdowns after several years.
Why relationships start
According to researchers, you entered a relationship because it met one or more of your primary needs. The love you felt for the other person and your togetherness benefited you in ways that met your goals.
Common goals met by a new relationship:
- Build adult life without parents
- Create a stable home life
- Start a family
- Feel loved and cared for
Looking for new goals
You likely need to spend five or six years working toward your goals with your spouse. Perhaps you bought a house and started a family or launched a business together. If you were looking to establish yourself as an adult, then you will have accomplished that too within a few years.
Meeting your initial goal with your relationship actually represents the source of trouble for couples. You or your spouse start looking for new ways to be fulfilled. You begin to feel stuck. If your relationship cannot shift into a new stage of life, then you could feel the need to leave or sabotage the relationship through infidelity or ignoring your partner. As a result, filing for divorce becomes likely at this seven or eight-year mark.
Make a healthy vision for a new life
Married people who recognize that they are becoming restless sometimes work with those feelings. They talk to their spouses and work together to set new goals that reaffirm their bonds.
However, feelings of dissatisfaction cannot always be resolved. You may decide that continuing in the relationship cannot realistically produce beneficial results. In that case, the eight-year itch means that your marriage may have run its course.