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Keeping the Spark: Are We Losing The Passion Earlier Than Ever?

For many years, couples have looked with anxiety towards the seven year mark, signalling the beginning of the dreaded “seven year itch”. This period often marks the beginning of a divide between two halves of a previously sturdy whole, and Clare Collins understands why. “The honeymoon period is over, the warm period of normality and familiarity may be cooling, and some people may start looking for what's next.”

But while seven years of hard work, closeness and memories may be worth fighting for, studies are now showing that relationships are beginning to suffer after only 12 short months, finding proof that “passion in the bedroom peaks after only a year” and other truly disheartening statistics.

Studies like this one are truly interesting, because they fight the often cited reasoning of having kids for the seven year itch. The Mail confirms, “the finding couldn’t be explained away by the couples having children as time went on.”

Couple bored in bed

Should we care about compatibility?

Increasingly in the field of dating, we are noticing a trend towards the importance of compatibility early on. “Professor Sir Cary Cooper, a Manchester University psychologist is quoted in relation to the above study: ‘In the early days of a relationship, passion is prominent, and then other things develop and change”, he continues, describing the important underlying factors that often decide whether a relationship will work for the long haul. ‘Perhaps over time as the relationship matures, the significance of factors like loyalty, trust, caring, honesty and the value of shared interests, become more important.”

For many people, the seven year itch is simply not relevant, as they feel monogamy in general is unimportant. As Christopher Ryan named his talk at the Sydney Opera House, If you want Fidelity-get a Dog. He argues that “conventional monogamy is but a blip” and almost entirely unnatural. But with this new research about passion dying out after as little as 12 months, surely finding deeper levels of compatibility should be on all of our radars, not just those who want to be celebrating Ruby wedding anniversaries? It simply sounds exhausting to have sexual and romantic partners coming in and out of our lives like a revolving door of passion which quickly becomes disinterest in a mere matter of months, whether you’re looking for The One or not.

Perhaps this is why, despite Ryan’s claims, and even in relationships where the spark is gone, it is rare for Australian men and women to cheat on their partners. In fact, an “Australian Sex Survey led by the University of NSW and released late last year, found only 5 per cent of men (and 3 per cent of women) in a regular relationship had strayed in the previous year.” This makes Australia one of the most faithful countries in the world.

Happy compatible couple

So whether you’re looking for a lifelong monogamous commitment, or simply looking to find the spark again for a satisfying sexual or romantic relationship, what are the key shared interests which Professor Cooper may be alluding to in his research? In short…

How can we ensure longevity in love?

Shared interests and values can be hard to pinpoint, and it’s more than just finding two people who like the same sports or music. That’s where the best online dating websites can help. With questions and profile boxes which may at first seem like they’re coming from left field, experts like the founders of EliteSingles‚Äč can get to the core of what you’re really about. Some sample topics which you might not even consider until the going gets tough include:

  • What do you feel passionate about?

  • How ambitious are you and what ambition do you expect in a partner?

  • How open are you, and would you consider yourself an extrovert?

  • Are you generally agreeable? Are you prone to neuroses?

  • What makes you unique or special?

Obviously, these questions can’t be asked outright, and the ‘left-field’ questions are all really intended to get to the bottom of these and other important areas of personality and compatibility. As well as helping you find a match, they are also a great way of understanding yourself and your dating journey better, especially if you’ve had a run of bad luck in the past.

Websites such as compatibility experts’ eHarmony have all of this and more in mind when they ask you to fill in their in-depth personality quiz before you get started. Hoping to match you with like minded singles for the long haul, and offering top notch advice on relationships, including tips on how to beat the 7 year itch whenever it may arrive.

Can’t think about compatibility, and just want a date for tonight? Online dating is an easy and fun way to find tonight’s hot date.


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