What Kills the Passion in a Relationship?
Every romance begins with the idea of a lifetime of true happiness, yet many hit that point where the spark begins to fizzle.
"Early Show" co-anchor Erica Hill reported a new study finds the fast-paced, career-driven, 21st century lifestyle is speeding up the desire to flee from love. The seven-year itch is now the three-year glitch. The study, commissioned by Warner Brothers to promote the release of comedy film "Hall Pass" in the United Kingdom, was conducted on surveys of 2,000 British adults in steady relationships. The study pinpointed the 36-month mark as the time when relationship stress levels peak and points to a new trend of "pink passes" and "solo" holidays away from partners and spouses that many turn to in order to keep romance alive.
But why does this happen?
Relationship expert Matt Titus, author of "Why Hasn't He Called?" said, "I think we start to look at each other at a more critical level because that love is blind thing has worn off so we're trying to figure out if this is the person for the next three, six, nine years for us to stay with."
Among the study's respondents, 67 percent say as their relationship hit the 36-month mark, quirks once considered endearing became major annoyances.the study called them "passion-killers."
Here are the top 10 "passion-killers":
1. Weight gain/lack of exercise
2. Money and spend thriftiness
3. Anti-social working hours
4. Hygiene issues (personal cleanliness)
5. In-Laws/extended family - too much/too little
6. Lack of romance (sex, treats etc.)
7. Alcohol - drinking too much
8. Snoring and anti-social bedtime habits
9. Lapsed fashion - Same old underwear/clothes
10. Bathroom habits - Stray nail cuttings etc.
Relationship expert Cooper Lawrence said of these issues, "This is a generation that has a lot of expectations of their partner. So you have this whole laundry list, this whole fantasy that you've created, and then you're with this person and you're like, 'Wait a minute that's not quite what I was thinking.'"
Most of the study's respondents said they craved more time alone.
If the study's right, Hill said, after three short years they may get just that.
But is there really something to this three-year marker in relationships?
"Early Show" contributor and psychologist Dr. Jennifer Hartstein said, "The truth of the matter is research has shown a lot of people, 67 percent of people, after three years, really do notice that there's a shift. It's almost like the honeymoon phase is over, and now the real work happens and a lot of people don't want to do that real work, or don't know how to do that real work."
She said, "It's seems as though we kind of work together, work together, work together, it's all fun, we're getting to know each other, it's really great, and then we start to notice that all these little things start to build up, these annoyances and our day-to-day doldrums also come in, and the two things kind of combust and we have a problem and we don't know what we want to do or how to solve the problem."
Hill remarked that money and career are particular issues, given the economy.
"Absolutely," Hartstein said. "So it's really trying to strike a balance between work and home life. And that's hard for all of us. We know, with our BlackBerrys, with our computers, with the phones, we get much more connected after work than we were before."
Hartstein said this three-year glitch issue seems to come from a grass-is-greener complex paired with being more economically sound so "that we can separate earlier."
"Also we get tired faster," Hartstein said. "We're an immediate gratification culture. You know, This isn't working, I think I'm going to try something else,' instead of sticking it out and trying to figure out what works."
Hartstein shared these tips for all couples:
Don't sweat the small stuff: These things (mentioned in the study) are really small stuff. Don't sweat those things. See what the bigger problem is and address the bigger problem.
Appreciate each other: Find the time to enjoy each other's company when you can. Remember the love. You fell in love with this person for some reason. Try and find that.
Share positive things: Find your own time, bring it back together. Share that stuff. Go back to things you like to do.
Hill said, "So instead of coming home and complaining about work every day, come home and tell something positive that happened."
"Right," Hartstein said. "Research shows that compliments go down significantly over this time period. So find the ability to bring that back in and really appreciate one another.