April 27, 2012

Why we shouldn’t be too quick to ‘scratch’ the seven year itch

By Fiona Kendall, Partner

The notion of the ‘seven year itch’ – the magical term indicating when partners in marriage are deemed most at risk of straying – has officially been consigned to history, if the latest survey information  is to be believed.

A study of 1,500 couples by the parenting website Netmums, found couples are now four and a half times more likely to split after three years than the ‘traditional’ seven. Couples with young children are particularly affected; many are under increasing pressure to balance jobs with home life and to share the responsibilities in a way that satisfies all parties.

It would also be a mistake to assume modern marriage breakdowns mainly affect couples who marry young. This may well have been the case in the past, but today’s economic and career priorities mean that people marry later in life but tend to have children sooner –perhaps before they have had time to cement their own relationship.

Who can forget the iconic image of Marilyn Monroe standing over a subway grating in that famous white dress? It’s rather unfortunate that the hugely successful 1955 comedy film, ‘The Seven Year Itch’ – coupled with the tendency of psychologists to use the phrase as a catch-all term about exiting a long standing relationship – has led to a rather blasé approach to the subject. The study and the reports on it seem to gloss over the emotional impact in favour of the entertainment value of the headline.

It is easy to forget that real people and a plethora of issues accompany marital breakdown. That’s something that the team of collaborative lawyers at Jones Myers have at the core of their ethos – helping real people with real issues. Our approach is not only non-confrontational and geared towards avoiding the courts wherever possible, but we focus very strongly on relationship management in order to achieve the best outcome for all concerned.

The collaborative approach is based on a series of round-table meetings where both parties work out a solution based on a commitment from everyone not to end up in court. Jones Myers has a team of four collaborative lawyers whose role is to help the parties agree on a fair way forward, eliminating protracted arguments and disputes.

If you have an itch – however old – that you need help in scratching, visit our website for more information or give us a call.