LifestyleUnveiling the 'seven-year syndrome': Why relationships struggle after seven years, according to psychologists

Unveiling the 'seven-year syndrome': Why relationships struggle after seven years, according to psychologists

Why do some relationships break up exactly after eight years?
Why do some relationships break up exactly after eight years?
Images source: © Adobe Stock

11:04 AM EST, February 11, 2024

Crises, both minor and major, surface in every relationship. However, experts have observed a notable pattern. Many couples encounter serious difficulties seven to eight years into their relationship, often leading to breakups. This frequently observed pattern has been coined as the "seven-year syndrome". A psychotherapist sought to shed light on this phenomenon.

Origins of the "Seven-year Syndrome": Expert Identifies the Causes

Robert Taibbi was interviewed by "Psychology Today" magazine. It was in this publication that he approached the subject which has been mystifying his peers for a while.

Although there isn't a definitive answer to why this seven-year cycle seems to be prevalent, the psychotherapist notes an important observation.

"When you initially fall in love, you are seeking something significant in your life. An escape from parents, stability, a child, or just the feeling of importance or being cared for. It might not have been spoken about directly, but the other person provided that. Subconsciously, you create a contract: I will give you what you need the most, and you will do the same for me," says Robert Taibbi.

In the early years of a relationship, we typically establish a pattern or routine with our partner. This routine offers a sense of security. However, after a few years, this stability is disrupted by anxiety. One or both partners may find the present state of affairs no longer satisfying. But why does this occur after a specific duration?

The Psychotherapist Offers a Theory: It's Linked to our Personal Development

Robert Taibbi believes the number seven carries significance. He suggests that it approximately represents the duration of one developmental cycle in an adult's life. After this period, our needs evolve. Not all couples can navigate this phase cohesively. Following the seventh year, usually come two or three years shadowed with anxiety, as we prepare for the next chapter of life.

Taibbi asserts that this crisis can't be avoided in a relationship. However, overcoming it doesn't necessarily mean the relationship has to end.

Related content