The Heart Beat The Heart Beat blog

Forget Seven Year Itch, Couples Now Splitting After Three

Some are calling it the 'Three Year Ditch.'

By Kristin Wong Apr 20, 2012 2:52PM

Photo: Getty ImagesMore couples are breaking up at or around the three-year mark, according to a new study done in Ireland. New research carried out by parenting website Netmums shows that 21 percent of couples split up between two and four years together. Worse, 12 percent split within a year.

1,500 parents were interviewed and nearly half of them (42 percent) said that having children had driven them apart. Four out of five of those interviewed said that their relationship suffered because they were so exhausted by the birth of a new baby or looking after a child. According to the study: 

"Having children was shown to be the biggest flash point for sparking relationship problems."

But hey, let's not blame it all on the kids. The study pointed out a growing trend in "fast forward" partnerships. Basically, couples get together too quickly and decide to settle down without really knowing each other very well. They then make the biggest commitment: starting a family. And that's when the relationship gets stressful.

Netmums founder Siobhan Freegard explained:

"Relationships are tough at the best of times but having children puts an extra strain on them. Add in lack of time, exhaustion, work and money worries and maybe it's little surprise couples are splitting up earlier than ever before."

Also, one in 14 of those interviewed admitted to scratching their itch, a.k.a. having an affair.

"The research shows we are then giving up too quickly," Freegard says, adding that there are "simple" ways to save your marriage or relationship:

"Taking time to really listen to each other, can be the key to keeping love alive and remind you why you first fell in love."

I imagine that’s not easy to do when you've got a four-year-old hurling Cheerios across the room, but you get the idea.

Photo: Getty Images

Apr 20, 2012 8:43PM

Ways To Avoid Divorce:

1) Do NOT get married until you have been together for at least 3 years and are at least 30 years of age! (Yes - I said 30!) Travel, have a career, get an education - whatever you need to do to 'grow up' FIRST.

2) Do NOT buy a house or have children until you have been married AT LEAST 5 years. Get to know each other FIRST - SPEND TIME with EACH OTHER - that is why you married this person - you supposedly 'love' them!

3) Do NOT marry someone who has a shaky or unstable financial situation (example: anyone in the military! - Sorry, but it's true!) IF you plan on having kids - children are EXPENSIVE and do NOT deserve to live in poverty and uncertainty because they have stupid, irresponsible, childish 'parents'.


Apr 20, 2012 8:39PM

I think a big part of the difference in how children affect the marriage today is the fact that many women work full time jobs (I'm one of them... I'm not knocking it).  Responsibility of the children and home used to primarily fall on the woman, and rightfully so... it was her job as a stay at home mom.  Now that we are working full time on top of those responsibilities, many of societies "gender norms" haven't kept up with the times.  Boys saw their father go to work and their mother take care of the home... that is their normal.  Girls saw their mother take care of the home... but now, they are encouraged to get college educations and jobs.  They still are compelled to an extent to take on a majority of the housework and get burned out trying to reach a goal that is not really reasonable. 


I'm not saying that most men are jerks and refuse to help out... my dad actually helped out alot in our home (my mom was a teacher).  My brothers are great helps to their wives because of his example.  I'm just saying that "gender norms" haven't completely changed with major changes to gender responsibilities.

Apr 20, 2012 8:38PM


There are rolls, in marriage.  Doesn't matter what you believe or where you were born, or what decade you were born in. 


Unlike the middle east, we don't  encourage "stonging"  because there might be a difference of opinions.  Religion, "informs" young women"  their place in marriage.  Poppycock.


But, in today's society men are confused about their roll.  ( I'm not going over to the other side, but this is what I hear and see)  Discussing rolls, is beneficial to the life of a relationship. The books don't touch base about him not wanting or liking to go shopping to the mall, or her.cleaning up the food mess, after a sports game.  


Appearance: Men's physically appearance changes too.  Women have working breasts, and carry a human being, making her body stretch to limits that are inconceivable, pack on a few lbs, etc.   Men, get breasts with age, prego bellies, and saggy testicles and pack on the lbs too.  So when you LQQK at your wife, 10 years and 3 kids later, take a longer LQQK at yourself, you just might have an epiphany.


Contrary to belief, 3.5 minutes of sex, isn't worth getting excited about, being selfish doesn't help either.  My point to all this........if you are marrying the "physically" perfect soul mate(now), you are doomed for failure (later on).


When my husband passed away, after 27 years of marriage, it took me a long time to sleep in the middle of the bed.  I would step up to the altar, and do it all over again, because he was worth it.

Apr 20, 2012 8:29PM
A single friend of mine told me that a woman is a life support system for a vagina. I have been married to a wonderful woman for 20 years. I don't think I agree with him, but since I can't remember what a vagina looks like, I have reserved comment. I have submitted a request to my wife to see hers so I can make an informed decision. She is going to dust things off and let me take a look next week. I will let you know what I decide.Nerd
Apr 20, 2012 8:23PM
And yet....everyone continues to have kids.  
Apr 20, 2012 8:11PM
The trouble today is people get married on a whim without seriously thinking of it as a lifetime commitment like our parents and grandparents. I have been with my husband for 15 years and we both have children from previous relationships. It's been rough and sometimes we were ready to throw in the towel but we love each other and want to grow old together. Relationships take work and alot of give and take from both parties.Too many people place emphasis on looks and body but those change over the years but the person you are inside and your beliefs stay the same. i may not be the same as I was when I was 30 but my husband still call me beautiful every day.
Apr 20, 2012 8:11PM
We are no longer living in an age when we need to remain chained in a relationship for the sake of matrimony.  The church is no longer an influence the god\religion is on it's last legs.  All of that B.S crap has been exposed for what it is, a farce used to control the masses.  Anyhow it's really simple folks if you want to be in a relationship or married then do it, if you don't then don't.  The only thing I can say is only have kids if you are truly ready to flush your life down the toilet.  Or if you have just given up on yourself and think that raising kids is the best use of your free time.  LOL
Apr 20, 2012 7:59PM
Been with my wife 15 years and we have a wonderfully happy marriage and friendship together.  This article hits the nail on the head.  After seeing countless friends and acquaintances destroy their young marriages by having children, that is the last thing that we would ever do.  No kids for us, I got fixed!!  I think that the 3 year mark is no coincidence, that is about the time that the kids seem to show up.  All of the parents who are already miserable make such an effort to railroad childless couples into having children because they want everybody else to be as misereable as they are.  I have no desire to be around gaggles of family now so don't tell me that I will be "lonely" someday.  That argument does not work.  P.S. to the bible thumper that made the comment about getting married in front of god, we got married in front of a judge and we have the same piece of legal paper that you do. 
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