Why it's OK to have the 7 year itch in a relationship

08th July 2016

Why it's OK to have the 7 year itch in a relationship

Around the 7 year mark in a relationship is said to be the time when the happiness is most likely to decrease. It’s natural for there to be a shift in your relationship. This is the comfortable phase and requires a little bit of work to help to nurture it to go the distance. Those quirks you found charming in the beginning may have got old. Having the 7 year itch doesn’t have to be the beginning of the end. The 7 year itch is like a car service. You take a look at what parts are working and what isn’t then repair it accordingly. Relationships aren’t supposed to be easy 100% times. You’ve got to take the rough with the smooth. I think it’s perfectly OK to have the 7 year itch and it shouldn’t be seen as such a bad thing. It can be the catalyst for improvements to make the next 7 years and beyond work.

The Honeymoon Period Doesn’t Last Forever

The first few years are exciting and you get butterflies every time your partner’s name is mentioned. However, this can fade as you get increasingly more comfortable around each other. The magic dies when you get too comfortable. There is no longer any mystery in the relationship and you know everything there is to know about each other. Habits you may have seen as cute quirks in the beginning have become irritating and you begin to question your relationship. Everyone has got that friend that is seemingly so in love but it never works out and they move on and do the same thing again. The honeymoon phase is great and has a lot of positives in building your relationship but making your relationship go the distance is getting along after this stage. Inevitably your relationship will change over time; however, this doesn’t have to alter how you feel about it. You haven’t just met each other and by this stage should know each other very well. If you experience the 7 year itch it shows you care about where your relationship is heading. Spending time considering the flaws with your association with your spouse can be a positive thing. As long as you discuss your concerns with your partner it can pave the way to a brighter future.

Assess and Move On

It seems that your relationship is doomed if you get the 7 year itch but I don’t think this is the case. It helps you identify what’s wrong and make changes. It might not even have anything to do with your relationship. You could be stuck in a dead end job that’s making you miserable which will inevitably impact your long term relationship. Pinpointing your unhappiness is too vague and you should try and identify specifically what is causing it. What aspects of your relationship are you happy with? What would you like to change? If you discuss these with your partner you may find they feel the same way. They might have not even thought about it but something could be done about it if you are open about your feelings. Be realistic and open to compromise when discussing these issues with your partner. If you aren’t getting anywhere and aren’t happy then you could get relationship counselling for a third party perspective. Sometimes when we repeat things over and over they don’t get through. However, it can help to have someone else explain it in a different way. You may even learn something yourself and how you can behave differently to enjoy a thriving relationship.

Wake Up Call

You might wake up one day and wonder what you’re doing. It might be the slap in the face you need to shake things up a little. If you’ve got too comfortable maybe think about what you can do to change things. This may involve making a bit of extra effort for your partner. For example, if you never go out for dinner any more but you always used to, try and change this. You may not have the time to go out as often as you used to but if it was a part of the relationship you both enjoyed then you should try and incorporate it on a regular basis. Even if it’s just once a month it would have a great effect on your bond. Should it become one sided and you’re the only one making the effort, talk about it with your partner. They may be completely oblivious. If you have always been the one to organise going out to dinner and you’re the one that has stopped they may have assumed you don’t want to do it anymore. You could reach a compromise by taking it in turns to organise a night out. This way you are both contributing to improving your relationship. It’s easy to get comfortable in a relationship and forget to nurture it. After 7 years you might not feel there is any point in going out any more, however, it can still be included to foster a strong bond and rekindle the romance.

The 7 Year Switch

Is going on a show in front of millions of viewer’s at the most vulnerable point in your relationship the best idea? I’m not convinced. However, with the majority of couples working through their issues and only one couple separating showed the 7 year itch isn’t the beginning of the end. It’s not weak to recognise there are problems with the direction your relationship is heading. The couples on the show had huge issues and there was a lot of anger and unhappiness at the start. They had access to therapists which helped them change their behaviours and thought processes which lead to the majority of the couples finding their way as a couple again. It’s easy to give up on your relationship and walk away but it takes strength and determination to accept that it’s not working and trying to fix it. This could be between the pair of you or involving a skilled and trained relationship therapist. Admitting there is a problem and seeking help can be the way forward. It certainly isn’t weak or a sign of defeat. The couples on the 7 year switch were brave to bear their relationship problems in front of people all across Australia to give it a chance.

Make Sure It’s the Relationship That’s Giving You the Itch

It’s easy to blame your problems or state of mind on your relationship. After all your other half is the one that’s around you the most and gets in your head. You could put it down to being in a rut but check that everything else is going well in your life first. If you’re not happy with your job for instance can be a major factor. If you’re miserable all day at work and come home then this could be creating tension between you and your partner. There could be the breakdown of other relationships such as a close friend or a relative. Major life events can also have a profound effect on your life such as moving away or having a baby. If you feel you’re not connecting enough it could be because you’re difficult to be around. Look at everything in your life and see how you can improve your life as a whole before putting it down to the 7 year itch. If you are feeling depressed or anxious these can have a huge bearing on your relationship and it’s important to seek help for yourself and for your relationship.

Final advice

Getting the 7 year itch can be a healthy point in your relationship. It forces you to acknowledge that the honeymoon phase is over and may need a shake up to get it back on track. You may need to reassess what aspects of your relationship could change to make it better. Above all you should discuss your feelings with your partner if you have any hope of your relationship going the distance. If this requires the aid of a relationship counsellor then at least you are giving it a fighting chance. Contemplate if it’s really the relationship that is making you unhappy and consider if there are any changes you could make in your life before you blame your partner. Above all it’s fine to have the 7 year itch, it’s not uncommon, it’s what you do about it that counts.

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