Researchers at the University of California assert that our "throwaway society" has led the amount of time that a marriage supposedly fades to drop from seven to three years. That's right, we now have a "three-year itch." Many factors contribute to this phenomenon, but one may be that younger generations have a string of partners before committing, and couples who live together are prone to "rapid euphoria and rapid burn-out." Another problem? Men are insecure!

According to Vanessa Lloyd Platt, a divorce lawyer, many men still struggle to accept a partner who is more successful than them, and this has played a key role in the rise of the three-year itch. 'A clear pattern has emerged recently among my clients. There are power struggles after three to four years of marriage, when women go back to work after having children, their careers take off and men can't cope with their success,' she says. 'Many men expect women to work to enable a certain lifestyle, and yet they don't want to be overtaken."

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In addition, many people have unrealistic expectations, says Ms. Lloyd Pratt. "They want what's in films - the perfect house, the beautiful children, the charmed life - which just doesn't exist." So what is the future of marriage in this country? Are we all destined to have Britney Spears/Jason Alexander quickies? (FYI, she may be the current shortest marriage record holder, but in 1919 Rudolph Valentino married Jean Acker and the bride locked Valentino out of the honeymoon suite 6 hours after the ceremony. Oh, and J. Lo and Marc just entered year three of marriage — her third.)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fashion/main.jhtml?xml=/fashion/2007/09/16/st_threeyearitch.xml&page=1">The Three Year Itch [Telegraph]
Related: Shortest Celebrity Marriages [About]