7 Year Itch: Myth or Fact?

A man and woman sit next to each other on a couch with their arms crossed

It is common to hear the phrase, “7 year itch.” Generally, this phrase refers to the general decline in happiness between a couple that occurs after being married for seven years. Many individuals question if their marriage really does become susceptible to divorce at the 7 year mark. Therefore, your Orlando divorce attorney has compiled a list of statistics regarding the timing of a divorce in a relationship as well as discussing the 7 year itch commonality.

Science has determined that there are natural progressions and phases of a relationship. For instances, the beginning of a relationship is known as the honeymoon phase which has the highest reporting of marital satisfaction. (Kurdek, L. A. (1998). The nature and predictors of the trajectory of change in marital quality over the first 4 years of marriage for first-married husbands and wives. Journal of Family Psychology, 494–510.). During this time, couples report what is known as marital bliss in the marriage as they are experiencing this new development in their relationship, coming down from the high after a wedding ceremony, taking time together for a honeymoon, building a new home together, and picturing their future together as a married couple. Soon after this honeymoon phase, usually within the first year or two, couples will begin to report a decline in their marital satisfaction as they are beginning to figure out the combining of different schedules and setting expectations for habits, chores, and the shared financial expenses. (Lavner, J. A., & Bradbury, T. N. (2010). Patterns of change in marital satisfaction over the newlywed years. Journal of Marriage and Family, 72, 1171-1187.). However, research has seen that couples typically report a decline in happiness, and an increase of divorces around 5 years of marriage. (Kulu, H. (2014). Marriage duration and divorce: The seven-year itch or a lifelong itch?. Demography, 51(3), 881-893.). Further studies have shown that between the years of 4 and 7, is when marriages are at most risk for divorce, with half of divorces occurring before a 9th wedding anniversary. United States Census data shows that the average length of a marriage that divorces, steadily increased since the 1920s, with the average today being 8 years. One of the main contributing factors scientists have attributed this “7 year itch” to is the involvement of minor children common to couples married for this duration and the stressors and distraction that children will place on a relationship. However, other couples report simply becoming bored or complacent and realizing they are not happy in their marriage and are now successful enough in their career to support themselves on their own at this time.  

Although the 7 year itch may be true for some couples it is not for all, and instead may just be a term that is used to describe a general decrease in happiness over the time spent with a spouse. Each marriage is unique and will battle their own difficulties at their own time. If you are experiencing difficulties in your marriage at the 7 year mark or 27 year mark, contact an Orlando Divorce Attorney to discuss the options available to you at this time.

Speaking to an attorney at our Orlando office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 407-512-0887 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.

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