Couples Retreat

Romantic Relationships Tend to Degenerate at "3 Year Glitch"

We all know about the "seven-year itch," the point in a long-term relationship at which romance fizzles, stress rises, and the little things that used to be cute become annoying--like getting the Dutch Oven or phrases like, "It's Chilean sea bass outside so you should bring a jacket."

Well, it turns out we may not even have to wait seven years anymore... a new study commissioned by Warner Brothers (as part of promotion for the movie Hall Pass in the UK) found that 36 months is the usual point at which the symptoms of the seven-year itch manifest themselves.

A survey of 2,000 British adults in relationships--both short-term (less than three years) and long-term--found that 67 percent of those surveyed said that around 36 months the little things that were at first endearing became irritating. Among the top ten annoyances were weight gain/lack of exercise, drinking too much, poor personal hygiene, and bad bathroom habits, such as leaving around nail clippings. The study authors called this the "three-year glitch."

And it gets worse: 52 percent of those in short-term relationships had sex at least three times per week whereas only 16 percent of those in long-term relationships matched that number. Romance goes out the window too; short-term relationships average three compliments per week from their partner, whereas those in longer-term relationships have an average of one compliment per week.

Across the board, 76 percent of study participants agreed that "individual space was important" and 34 percent of people in a long-term relationship spent at least two nights per month apart so that each person could spend time on individual activities.

While we all agree that no one should be in a velcro couple (get your own hobbies, people!), we have a few rules of our own so that the three-year glitch doesn't happen to you:

1. Toenail clippings should never be on a top five list of anything. Period. Everyone has a dustbuster or a rag. Let's use 'em.
2. Bathroom time is private time. Maybe a pet is allowed in the bathroom with you, but no one else under any circumstance.
3. People are less likely to cheat if their treasures are too sore from all the sex they've been having.

You're welcome.


(2011, March 8). The 7-year itch is now the 3-year glitch. Reuters. Retrieved from


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