You would think newlyweds would be the most happy of all married couples, but a new study by a British law firm finds year three is actually the most blissful.
That marks the point in the partnership when, "having overcome the occasional doubt and learned to deal with each other's imperfections, couples begin to settle into a comfortable coexistence," the study finds.
But after year three, it's all downhill. That's when the demands of childrearing and dual careers really take a toll, they say.
"And then by the seventh year, you get used to your partner, you take your partner for granted. You sort of forget what the previous life was like," says Dr. Martin Drell, Professor of Psychiatry at LSU Health Sciences Center. He believes, just as this study finds, the seven year itch is very real, and these couples report hitting the wall then.
"It does take some time for reality to wear down expectations. And it's different living with somebody day in, day out with all sorts of other stresses than it is at the beginning of the marriage when you're just focused on each other," and Dr. Drell says at seven years some people are "looking for new adventures."
"Unbalanced sex drives, different hobbies or social preferences were found to provide stumbling blocks after the first few years," and the study found "Half of the 2,000 studied said their wedding day was the happiest of their life and the first year was ranked just behind the third for general happiness."
One in ten of newly marrieds admitted 'they didn't realize how hard marriage would be' and others confessed to suffering an emotional 'letdown' after the high of the wedding in this study.
But good news for those married a long time, as a study last year found those married for 40 years are happier than newlyweds.