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Is seven years (give or take) the natural
lifespan of a monogamous relationship?
If we didn’t have social constraints, would most relationships end
gracefully at about seven years?
It seems reasonable. Studies have found that animals whose
children need more time and attention to rear are more likely to be
monogamous. In human children, by the
age of six or seven they’re in school full time, so the intense pressure of
caring for them has eased.
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As I was driving home tonight I was thinking
about multiples of seven as they relate to children. At seven, children are in school full
time. At fourteen, they can take care of
themselves if their parents want to go out for the night. I know some kids are capable of this a little
earlier than fourteen, but not by much.
DSS would be knocking at your door if your eleven year old was home
alone too much. And then the magical
year, twenty-one. They are officially
adults, and if they’ve gone to college on the four year plan, this is the year
they graduate. They can vote, they can
drive, and they can apply for their own credit…free at last!!
I wish I could find a sociologist who’s
either done a study about this or would be interested in conducting such a
study. Many of my clients are at one of
these milestones, with most of them around twenty or twenty-one years in their
relationships. Maybe it’s a coincidence
and it’s more their own age (early 40’s), but either way I think it’s a
fascinating study of social culture.