Couples: what are the most difficult years?

Because we will not always love each other as we did on the first day, because routine will one day take over and because the boundless admiration we have for each other will gradually fade, life as a couple will not 'East not a long, quiet river.

Despite the beautiful feelings we have for each other, love does not always succeed in erasing the pangs of everyday life, nor those little flaws, once so cute, which one day become unbearable. Like a roller coaster, we experience ups and downs, and the gap between partners tends to widen during certain periods of our married life.

The year of 3 years, the first “real” relationship crisis

After about three years of dating, many couples find themselves crossroads. The end of the “honeymoon” phase marks the beginning of a new reality where each other’s imperfections become more evident.

According to psychologists, this re crisis between 6 and 18 months, a period at the end of which lovers have the choice to adapt by finding ways to rekindle the flame and make the relationship last. But if the disagreements are too deep and cannot be overcome and the differences too marked, separation is then considered. In this case, the couple did not succeed in resolving the conflicts caused by buried resentments which eventually resurface.

The year of 7 years, differences set in

In the seventh year, stagnation may take hold, and the partners' individual aspirations may begin to diverge. Our vision of love and life is no longer necessarily the same and it is clear that we have both changed and that we are no longer able to project ourselves together. Everything that brought the couple together now separates them and even the few common points that cemented the relationship no longer manage to bring them together.

During this period of stagnation, “for all couples in crisis, the common mechanisms which usually have a structuring role (fantasies, myths, ideals, specific modes of play, humor, sharing of intimate secrets, decision-making) are affected”, explains psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Alberto Eiguer. To get over the course, it is necessary to carry out a reassessment of common objectives and to establish open communication to avoid estrangement.

The year of 11 years, resilience put to the test

Around the eleventh year, couples face a test of resilience. This period tests the conflict resolution skills acquired over time.

Partners must demonstrate that they have overcome previous challenges and are prepared to continue work together to maintain their relationship. It is then time to check that we have learned to resolve our differences, that the communication mechanisms are working and that the relationship has been built solidly despite the previous difficult milestones.

The year of 15 years, from love to romantic friendship

After fifteen years of living together, couples are faced with a major transition. The passion of the beginnings gives way to a deeper and complicit love. To successfully make this transition, partners must learn to be friends as well as lovers, developing honest communication and overcoming the trials of life together.

The couple must then successfully make the transition which changes the spouse's status from “darling” to “friend” and shifts into a relationship that is no longer romantic but “loving”, with a balance preserved between commitment and intimacy. If this complicity fails to withstand time, we can then become real strangers to each other, who live in simple collocation. This distance is explained by the accumulation of things left unsaid but also by life events that shake up the romantic relationship, such as illness, the death of loved ones or even changes in professional situation.

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