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Seven Year Itch: What It Is & How to Get Past It as a Happy, Sexy Couple

You have probably heard of the seven-year itch, but what is it? Why do couples experience it, and more importantly, how can they lovingly move past it? 

seven year itch

The longer you are in a relationship, the more “normal” and “routine” it gets. This happens so often that people have created a term to describe this at a certain stage of a partnership – the seven-year itch.

What is the seven-year itch? 

The old phrase, the seven-year itch, is the magical number that allocates the number of years two people are married before the spark goes out and people are tempted to squelch their temptation with someone other than their significant other.

The phrase has been around as long as time. Although it was originally used to describe things irritating like skin rashes, scabies, and STDs, in 1955 good ol’ Marilyn Monroe made the phrase famous in marital terms by citing it in the film adaptation of The Seven-Year Itch.

Why do we experience the seven-year itch?

If there really is a phenomenon known as the seven-year itch, why does it happen? Does every couple go through it? Is it something we should fear and/or try to prevent? Well, here are some reasons why a lot of couples experience the seven-year itch.

1. You start taking each other for granted

Sure, the infatuation phase is exhilarating and fun, but it’s also nice when you settle into a relationship and become completely comfortable with your partner.

But with that, sometimes people start taking each other for granted. In other words, one or both of you stop caring as much. [Read: How to stop being taken for granted in a relationship – 15 strong ways]

You always assume that the person will be here and don’t appreciate them as much. Your relationship is not as exciting as it was in the beginning, and some people start to get bored.

2. You don’t have enough quality time together

When you first start dating, it’s natural to have date nights and spend a lot of time having long, deep conversations with each other. But when you’ve been in a relationship for a few years, this couple time sometimes becomes less of a priority. 

This can happen for a variety of reasons. It can be because you are taking each other for granted or maybe you have children that take your time away from your partner.

When you give so much emotionally to your kids, sometimes you don’t have enough energy for your partner. It could also be prioritizing work, friends, hobbies, or other responsibilities. [Read: Romantic dinner date ideas – 17 fun dates you both will never forget]

3. You have separate lives

Because you’re not prioritizing couple time and taking each other for granted, some couples start leading separate lives. You don’t know anything about your partner’s stress and happiness. You don’t check in with each other, and each of you tends to “do your own thing” which means you’re not doing things together.

This can make you feel more like friends or roommates instead of romantic partners. It’s not a good sign if you can see yourself being single and not really missing your partner. Leading separate lives is one step in the direction of a breakup.

4. No affection

Some people don’t understand how important affection is to a romantic relationship. They might not see it as a priority, but it is a big sign that you are in the seven-year itch. If you continue to show affection, maybe you’ll make it. If you don’t, then you might not. [Read: 28 Cute ways to show affection in a relationship even if it feels awkward]

It can be simple things like a smile, a kiss, or a hug when someone gets home from work. Or you can send a text telling them that you miss them. These things will make a person feel loved and valued.

5. One or both of you have gotten selfish

In a healthy relationship, both people need to put their partner’s needs at least equal to – if not before – their own. For example, one person might like to golf all weekend but the other one wants to have a day together to reconnect. When one or both of the people ignore the other person’s needs, then you will have trouble.

Selfishness is pretty common, and most people who are selfish don’t see it or won’t admit it – even to themselves. That’s because they don’t want to change. It requires effort to make other people happy. It’s easier to just make yourself happy. [Read: Selfless love – 18 traits that sets it apart from selfish love]

6. You keep fighting about the same things

It’s inevitable that a couple will have disagreements. Conflict is just natural. But if your fights have become too often over the same topics, then that is a huge reason a couple might feel the seven-year itch. 

If a couple doesn’t know how to work through conflict effectively, then it takes a big toll on their relationship. It creates negative feelings such as resentment. And these feelings can create a toxic climate for the two of you. If one or both of you are not willing to listen to each other, then that is a bad sign.

7. Sex is infrequent or non-existent

Not everyone prioritizes sex, but it is a central part of a romantic relationship. Without it, you might as well just be platonic friends or roommates. And sure, sex is always exciting and fun at the beginning of a relationship. As time goes by, it can become more routine. [Read: 30 Hot, sizzling ways to spice up your sex life and leave you horny 24/7]

But if a couple is hardly having sex anymore, that is a really bad sign. When people make love, it releases a hormone called oxytocin into both people’s brains. This is a bonding chemical that keeps people emotionally close. Without it, a couple can very easily drift apart and toward the seven-year itch. 

6 ways to scratch the seven-year itch

So, is there such a thing as a seven-year itch? There is no doubt that at some point every marriage experiences a lull where the lust and dreaminess of the first couple of years are overridden by the mundane nature of every day and sex with the same person night after night. But, why seven years? Is there really any scientific research to back it up? [Read: Naughty ideas to spice up married sex]

Apparently, yes. Statistics indicate divorce rates appear to explode in about the seventh year of marriage. The NCHS estimates that the average duration of marriage in America is about 7.2 years and has consistently stayed there since they began recording data on marriage and divorce in the early 70s.

Although a trend, the seven-year itch doesn’t have to define you or your marriage. I know a plethora of marriages well into their 20th-year mark and going strong. Maybe not having the passion that those who just start out have, but they also don’t have the turmoil of getting to know one another or learning to live together.

If you experience feelings of the seven-year itch, try these six ways to scratch it the right way so you don’t end up in divorce court.

1. Introduce some new things into the bedroom

Yep, it gets kind of old eating vanilla ice cream for dessert every night. If you are always on top and they are always the ones initiating, find a new way to spice things up.

Introduce toys, try watching some movies together, or just make the first move if it isn’t typically your role. Little changes create big excitement. Light your smoldering bed back on fire. [Read: 10 ways to make married sex feel like a one-night stand]

2. Sext it up

Technology is an excellent way to regain the passion that might be missing. Instead of texting about daily chores, try making your significant other feel good about themselves.

Sending them love notes, notes of appreciation, or even sexting during the day, takes you both out of your element. It might feel weird and awkward at first, but you will be surprised at how quickly your marriage responds if you just send a simple sexy picture or text, telling them how hot you still find them. [Read: How to initiate sexting and make your partner hot and horny for you]

3. Let go of the past

If you want to know how to get over the hump of the past seven years, learn to let go and move forward. All of us keep a record of our past hurts and grievances. It is human nature.

After a while, it’s akin to carrying around a backpack. Who wants to do that? If you are upset about something in the past, let it go. In other words, truly forgive. If you put the backpack down and move around a little more freely, you might just find the person that you fell in love with instead of the person who did you wrong three years ago.

As the old Cherokee proverb says, “Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.” Let go of whatever resentment you have from the past. What you find is the same two people who fell in love.

4. Work on yourself

Sometimes our unhappiness with our significant other stems from being unhappy with ourselves. If you give up the things you love to do, put on a bunch of weight, or just weighed down with career choices, it is easy to lump them into your relationship and put the blame where it doesn’t belong.

Instead of holding your partner responsible, think about the ways you change yourself to make you happy outside of your marriage. That saying that you can’t be happy with someone until you’re happy with yourself is absolutely true.

If you find you aren’t happy in your marriage, consider the fact that it might not be your marriage at all. Create some change in your life that revolves around you alone. [Read: 20 habits of incredibly happy people that can change your life]

5. Remember that it took you seven years to get where you are at

 Change is not easy. Otherwise, we would all be walking around perfectly, wouldn’t we? It took you seven years to get to where you are all the way around. If you want to get over the seven-year itch, then it takes some continual and constant change on both of your parts to straighten things out.

If you make the first move and they respond in kind, then it is your turn. It is those small alterations we make consistently that make a big overall difference in ourselves and our relationships.

You aren’t going to find the magic you lost overnight. But, if you are willing to be creative and put in the extra work that it takes, you can find the love and lust that you felt right up front. [Read: The 14 secrets to rekindling a marriage]

6. Do the things that turn the other person on

If blow jobs are his thing, do them just because, even if you are tired. If sensual touch is hers, forget your “O” for a bit and make her feel good. Sometimes we forget what sex is for, to begin with.

Sure, it is about feeling good. It is also about making our significant other feel good. Instead of getting yours on before you get some sleep, put some real time and effort into spending sexual time together and explore.

You just might find that the sex is better than the dreams you have of how good it was when you first met. [Read: How to get a selfish lover to be more giving]

You are older, wiser, and more giving now. So, use that to your sexual advantage to find out how to take sex one step further and beyond.

Final thoughts

The seven-year itch might be folklore in words. However, there are some real statistics behind the notion that seven years is when people reevaluate their commitment and consider if they made the right choice. When the romance dies, it is easy to look around and think that being with someone else might be more exciting.

Marriage is NOT easy. Over time you build resentment and put up some walls. If you want to get past the hurdle of the seven-year mark, then it takes some forgiveness, creativity, and imagination. But, the two people hot for each other and in love are still in there, just hidden by the shit that covered them over the past seven years.

[Read: 25 hobbies for couples who want to have fun together]

If you peel away the layers, what you will find is the lust that you lost, and hopefully, the enduring love and friendship gained over the first seven years, not just the seven-year itch. If you merge the two and work with them, the next 70, will be more fulfilling than you could imagine.

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Julie_Keating
Julie Keating

A writer isn’t born, but created out of experiences. No lack of subject matter, my life reads more like fiction than anything that could have been imagined...

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