So Now the 7-Year-Itch is the 3-Year-Itch? Don’t Believe it.


Every day we get a new “astounding discovery”. This week Reuters reports on a British poll of 2,000 adults in steady relationships. These respondents indicate the 36-month mark is when they start being irritated by the small habits and idiosyncrasies that once didn’t seem to matter. So now it isn’t the 7-year mark when two committed people begin to dream of wandering, it’s a scant 3 years.

As the relationship progresses they also tend to show a slowdown in the sex department. Of those who were in relationships that are less than 36 months old, 52% of surveyed reporting that they had sex 3 times a week. Only 16% of those in relationships older than 36-months reported that kind of activity.

While this is all presented as dramatic evidence that we’re all itching to be free after three years of commitment, the conclusions I draw are completely different.

Of course, the heady early days of a relationship make you oblivious to a lover’s faults.
Of course, the newness of early sex can make it a very popular activity.

Many people wiser than I have pointed out that only after the initial rush of infatuation dies down does the real act of love begin. If you think your girlfriend can do no wrong, how hard is it to love her? The real intentional love begins when you see her faults and must reconcile her differences with your own. Any person that is around another person long enough will start to have complaints and irritation. That’s not news. It’s how you accommodate those differences that make for quality long-term relationships with friends, business associates, and relationship partners. Noticing faults doesn’t mean you want to leave, it just means you’re finally getting real.

And Sex – sex isn’t something that should ever fade and die away. Many people report that their sex lives improve as they grow older and more comfortable together, even if the frequency diminishes. Again, this may be a better time in the relationship, not a sign that you’re both looking to get an itch scratched somewhere else.

I suppose it would be beyond the purview of this study to try and understand how dealing with minor irritations and sex at a rate of less than three times a week affects a relationship. After all, it was commissioned by Warner Brothers to promote the release of comedy film “Hall Pass” in UK cinemas. You probably know the plot of Hall Pass. Our married heroes Jason Sedakis and Owen Wilson have spent so much time ogling women and talking tough about how they would do in the single world that their wives give them a one-week “hall pass” to go out and pick up as many women as they can. It does not go well.

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