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Does The Seven Year Itch Exist?

Is there actually some truth behind this superstition?

It has become a superstition that couples are most likely to break up after seven years, but according to a professor, this is actually true. Indeed, he noted more people seek help from divorce lawyers in Manchester after seven years than any other time.

Statistics professor Sir David Spiegelhalter at the University of Cambridge spoke at the Hay Festival that seven years is the “peak risk time” to get a divorce.

“[The risk of divorce] just steadily declines as we get used to each other. It’s a four-star statistic, the seven year itch,” the Daily Mail reported Sir David as saying. 

Data from the Office for National Statistics in 2012 showed there was a 3.25 per cent chance of divorcing around the seventh anniversary. After this time, the risk dropped, without there being a further peak later on in the marriage.

Sir David noted the risk is just 1.5 per cent for those who have been married for 15 years. 

The term seven year itch simply came from a play of the same name by George Axelrod created in 1952. It was later turned into a film starring Marilyn Monroe, catapulting the story – and the expression – into the public arena. 

While most people regard the term to be simply superstition, Sir David added authority to it with his speech.

He was talking at the Hay Festival (May 26th to June 5th) to promote his book Sex by Numbers: What Statistics Can Tell Us About Sexual Behaviour, which was published in April 2015.

Those who feel their relationship has broken down, whether they are approaching seven years of marriage or not, should consult a divorce lawyer to discuss their options about a formal separation. 

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