Have you ever had a friend hit their eighth anniversary and say they feel grateful to have made it through the seven-year-itch? This refers to the idea that, after about seven years of marriage, many couples run into trouble and start looking for something new. This can lead to arguments, affairs and divorce, among other things.
But is it real? It’s difficult to say. For every person who does get divorced after seven years — or who knows they want to at that point, whether they divorce immediately or not — you can also find plenty of people who make it well beyond seven years or who get divorced after just a year or two.
One way to look at it is to consider historical divorce rates. When do they peak? If those are to be believed, the itch really happens around four years. This is long enough for the honeymoon phase to be done, and some couples split up when they have to adjust to real life without the rose-colored glasses that sometimes go along with being newly married.
You also have to think about things like gray divorce, which is on the rise. These individuals are often in their 50s and older, so many have been married for far more than seven years. Did they just ignore the itch or does this suggest it doesn’t really exist?
The truth is that divorce can happen after any amount of time. You have couples who consider it in the first month and others who make it for 40 years before divorcing. No matter when you find yourself in this position, just make sure you understand your options.