Stats reveal the 14 year itch is a reality

Most New Zealanders getting divorced are in their mid-40s and don’t have kids, and the “seven-year itch” is a myth.

In fact, Statistics New Zealand figures show couples are most likely to call it quits after about 14 years.

Figures from 2014, the latest year reliable statistics are available, show that couples most commonly filed for divorce just before the 14-year mark. The average age of men breaking up was 47 and the women were 44.

Experts say it’s an age when people start to reflect on where they are in life and what they want.

And for those couples who have children it might be a time when they are about to fly the nest.

Data from the Department of Internal Affairs shows dropping divorce rates — tied to lower rates of marriage.

In 1984, there were 28.15 marriages for every 1000 citizens, but by 2014 that had dropped to 11.57 marriages.

Peter McMillan, co-founder of the Imago Institute for Relationships, said the time of year couples found most difficult and sought his help the most was mid-January after Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

“It’s two things, from mid-November until Christmas, things get pretty stressful. And secondly, it’s also a time when people stop and reflect on what they want.”

“Then they realise that perhaps things aren’t as good in their relationship as they were hoping they would be.”

The second peak for relationship counsellors is mid-winter when it’s darker, colder and people get “weighed down” more easily, he said.


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