Every romance begins with the idea of a lifetime of happiness, yet many hit that point where the spark starts to fizzle. The ‘7-year itch’ is a psychological term that suggests that the seven-year mark is the time in a marriage when happiness within the relationship is most likely to decline. Around this time, couples tend to fall into a slump, which often leaves them feeling dissatisfied with the marriage – leading them to detach emotionally and stray physically.
Interestingly, the phrase was originally used to describe scabies. It later gained popularity in the 1950s when a film by the same name, starring Marilyn Monroe, dealt with the idea that many of us lose interest in our monogamous relationships after seven years.
Of course, not everyone breaks up at the seven-year mark. However, it is common for marriages to go through a sticky patch when couples feel restless or bored, and bicker more than usual with each other. If you and your partner become afflicted by the 7-year itch, don’t freak out. It’s actually quite normal, and if you really want to make things work, it’s pretty easy to fix the feeling.
In this article, we shed light on 7 signs that indicate your relationship may not make it past the 7-year itch, according to experts, and what you can do to fix it. Read on to find out more.
7 Signs Your Relationship Won’t Make It Past The 7-Year Itch
1. You Stop Being Curious About Each Other
The desire to learn and know more about your partner is a very positive trait. Curiosity is an integral part of communication between a couple, and without it, it can cause us to jump to conclusions, make assumptions, and judge our partner. Remember, we are constantly growing and developing as individuals, so it’s important to keep up with each other.
The key is to let your partner talk – you listen intently and ask questions – even if it’s something as simple as asking them how their day was. Actively being curious about each other and the world around you can stop the relationship from entering into a dull, dead void.
2. You Have Started Keeping Secrets From Each Other
When you’re married with secrets that you are keeping from your spouse, it’s only a matter of time before it creates legit problems. Transparency is a vital part of marriage and relationships. When you don’t practice transparency and decide to hide things, be it your thoughts or significant decisions, a toxic dent is bound to develop in your relationship.
The rewards of honesty and transparency in a relationship outweigh everything else. If you want to be loved, respected, and understood, the most natural place for this to occur is within the transparency of a healthy marriage. Share the real you, all of it – the good, the bad, and the ugly, and watch your commitment and trust soar.
3. You Are Spending Less Meaningful Time Together
In this busy life, love isn’t self-sufficient. A marriage or a relationship needs to be fed and nurtured by spending regular quality time together. If you think you are beginning to spend less meaningful time together, don’t hesitate to speak with your significant other about how you are both feeling about it.
If you want to feel connected, it is essential to spend time with each other, develop meaningful traditions together, and laugh together. Plan regular outings, date nights, and do whatever it takes to carve time out of your busy lives for each other.
4. You Start Taking Each Other For Granted
At the beginning of a relationship, every little thing – from waking up next to each other or laughing over drinks – can feel meaningful and exciting. But once specific patterns have been established, and certain things become more expected, your old priorities may start to feel less important or more flexible, or even postponable. The decline of communication, affection, and appreciation in a marriage over time is natural, not because couples start to dislike each other, but because they tend to become too comfortable together.
It takes tangible actions to convey how much you care about your partner. Don’t stop appreciating and acknowledging your partner amidst the humdrum of life. Even little gestures like a goodbye or hello kiss, or thanking your partner for the things they do for you can go a long way in rebuilding the closeness and intimacy that may have been lost by taking things for granted.
5. You Don’t Discuss Your Financial Goals
Money, unsurprisingly, is often a relationship stress or in a marriage. Talking to your spouse about money may not be on the top of your to-do list, but it is vital for your marriage. The idea is to build a future together, and if you aren’t discussing the logistics of it, there are certainly going to be more problems besides busted budgets.
Talking about finances with your partner is the only way out. Share your views, state your disagreements, and be on the same page when it comes to finances. Everyone has a different perspective on how they perceive money. It is essential to know where your partner stands on the subject so you can both work out the details and give shape to your long-term plans.
6. You Are Drowning In Criticism
If you are trapped in the negative cycle of constantly criticizing each other, it will only lead to both partners hiding things from each other, resenting each other, and perhaps going to seek validation elsewhere. Your partner may even start seeing you as a burden and will begin to tune you out.
Instead of criticizing your partner, choose your words carefully, and show appreciation before giving criticism. Go for a dialogue rather than a monologue because no one likes being told to do something. We can’t stress enough on the importance of creating a safe space where both of you express your views openly and listen to each other’s point of view as well.
7. You Have No Fight Left
Living in silence is often the first warning sign that all is not right in the relationship. If you have given up fighting, but feel more distant than ever, it’s often a sign that you have reached the crossroads. The thing about fights is that they can lead to greater intimacy if the couple processes the fight well and repairs the relationship.
If you want to get back in touch with your feelings, turning towards your partner emotionally is the best thing to do. Rather than ignoring them, giving them the silent treatment, or responding negatively, turn towards your partner and give it another go. Often, unresolved conflict can fool you into thinking that your love is lost, but if you genuinely want to access it, you have to make an effort.
Although it is natural for couples to face the challenges of declining happiness within a relationship, the “itch” being the reason for infidelity is often an excuse. Remember this: love is a verb, not a noun. It’s not something you just fall into – it is an action that’s dynamic and continually in flux. There will always be ups and downs, but if you truly love and value each other, don’t just give up!