As far as committed relationships go, couples can generally expect to ride the wave of happiness for at least seven years before trouble sets in.
But while couples may have hit a bumpy patch at this point in the past, it would seem those in it for the long haul are now staying even longer.
According to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the average length of a marriage is 12 years.
And if you factor in two years of dating, courtship and engagement first, then you have a number that’s nearer to 14 years in total – rather than a meagre seven.
There was a time when couples may have hit a bumpy patch at seven years, now more are staying together according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (stock image)
While there is no hard and fast data to suggest couples are staying together longer, divorce rates from ABS showed there was a drop in the number of couples divorcing.
In 2016, there were 46,604 granted down from the 48,517 divorces granted in 2015.
Relationship expert Louanne Ward shared some insight as to why those in long-term partnerships may be choosing to call it quits.
According to one theory, seven-year cycles coincide with other life cycles and that if there is dissatisfaction it’s at this point where it will show (stock image)
Relationship expert Louanne Ward (pictured) shared some insight as to why those in long-term relationships may be calling it quits
What is the ‘seven year itch’?
* The term ‘Seven Year Itch’ made its way into popular culture after a movie starring Marilyn Monroe became a hit in the 1950s.
* It refers to a period in a couple’s relationship when they are most likely to consider straying, and may possibly split.
* According to one theory, seven-year cycles coincide with other life cycles and that if there is dissatisfaction it’s at this point where it will show.
She revealed couples are often in a honeymoon period for some years before differences can set in, and it can take some time to identify one another’s core values.
‘If you have one set of values and your husband or partner has another, this could result in resentment, which may ultimately drive you apart,’ she told FEMAIL.
‘For example, it’s unlikely you would marry a person [if you knew they] wanted to have children and this was something you didn’t want.’
Splitting up later can also come as a result of children growing up and parents finding they have less in common with one another than they once did.
‘The seven-year itch is quite natural, Ms Ward said, ‘because it’s at this point we can really start to expose ourselves in a relationship (stock image)
Ms Ward said the seven year itch is ‘quite natural’ as it is often when we ‘start to expose ourselves in a relationship’, she did also add that elements of someone’s personality can come out much later, too.
This is generally part of a much larger problem of not being in line with each other’s values.
‘For a woman, a lot of focus [might be centred on] caring for the child at home, and a man’s focus could be on career and finance,’ she said.
This may drive a wedge between a couple, whether they’ve been together for a long time or not.
While not every couple splits at seven or even 14 years, Ms Ward advises those staying for the long haul to find ways to reconnect
Last but not least, Ms Ward shared her advice for long-term couples to find ways to re-connect.
‘If couples don’t work on their relationship, there’s little chance of it succeeding,’ she said.
‘Couples need to find a way to understand each other, and continually make the effort to get on the same page in terms of goals and shared values.’