The Seven-Year Itch Really Does End Marriages

A new report from the Census department shows that while divorces are actually declining in the U.S. at long last, people who reach the 7th year of marriage have a 50/50 chance that this will be the year that ends their marriage. People tend to separate at this milestone and divorce a year later.  Marriages that make it through this time period tend to last.

That ties into what I saw when I was practicing matrimonial law. Nearly all of my clients had been married less than 8 or 9 years.

The report also said that the decline in the divorce is linked to the fact that people are waiting longer to get married. Many couples cohabitate first and the average age at first marriage is increasing. People are finishing their educations, getting jobs, and testing out the relationship waters before taking the plunge into marriage, and it’s working.

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12 replies
  1. Sheryl says:

    Did not realize the divorce rate was actually dropping. I wonder if it could be tied into the economy? Divorces are expensive, after all. Interesting too how marriages that go beyond the seven year mark have a better reliability rating. Personally, I’ve seen a spike in divorces after the kids leave the house and the husband and wife have no more diversions…or see they have nothing in common any longer.

    • admin says:

      The report is saying people are waiting longer to get married and are cohabitating first, which means folks seem to be thinking it through and trying it out first, so they break up before they get married. Yes, I agree there is another spike after the empty nest happens. Those seem to be the two danger zones marriages – 7 yrs and empty nest.

  2. Living Large says:

    Celebrating 25 years of marriage this summer and very proud of it. I think it takes a lot of commitment and the willingness to grow with each other.

  3. Susan says:

    Interesting. I seem to remember reading somewhere that couples who cohabitate first are more likely to divorce later but that never made sense to me because wouldn’t that mean you have a better sense of what marriage will be like and you can choose decide not to get married if your living styles are completely incompatible?

  4. Donna Hull says:

    I’m glad to read that the divorce rate is dropping. Having been through one, I can attest that it’s a horrible experience for everyone involved.

  5. Kristen says:

    I saw this information come out too. I have a friend who just divorced and sure enough, 7 year mark. What is it about that year?

    • SolveDivorce says:

      It’s interesting. I think many couples often have young children at that age and have a house, so the financial and career stress really kicks in and they are dealing with the stress of having little kids too. And the newness of the relationship is definitely gone by then too.

    • SolveDivorce says:

      That’s what the study seems to be showing – people who cohabitate tend not to divorce. I think it gives you the chance to work out all the kinks.

  6. Merr says:

    When I was in graduate school I remember hearing the statistic that most marriages ended between the first and second year of marriage, or at the seventh year. This was before we started hearing about marriages of 30 years ending, however. It’s interesting that the stat you cite has remained a constant.

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