The 3 Year Glitch — What’s Cute vs. Cringeworthy?

The article I’ve re-posted below talks about how today’s stressful, fast-paced lives have also fast-forwarded the 7 year itch. It now only takes three years to get to the point where what once was cute… is now cringe-worthy. Take the results with a grain of salt and a tongue in cheek, as while it is a significant poll of 2,000 UK adults, it also was in done in tandem with the movie Hall Pass which is all about how couples need to take breaks. But either way, let’s see how the results stack up against 40:20 hindsight and perhaps some advice on how to avoid it!

The 7-year itch is now the 3-year glitch: study

Tue, Mar 8 2011
Full article here.

LONDON (Reuters) – The “three-year glitch” has replaced the “seven-year itch” as the tipping point where couples start to take each other for granted, according to a new survey.


Poll: Weight gain, stinginess, toe-nail clippings on the bathroom floor and snoring are a few of the passion-killers that have led to a swifter decline in relationships in the fast-paced 21st century, said the study commissioned by Warner Brothers to promote the release of comedy film “Hall Pass” in UK cinemas.

40:20 Vision: socks, dirty socks. As for nail clippings and other hygiene affronts, if you can afford it, separate bathrooms are a lifesaver.  Whatever it is, put some thought into whether you can wake up to it when you are 70.


Poll: The findings showed that 67 percent of all of those surveyed said that small irritations which are seemingly harmless and often endearing during the first flushes of love often expand into major irritations around 36 months.” – Reuters

40:20 Vision: You love him but you won’t always like him. Expect to be irritated. As this woman put well:

“There are days, even months, that your husband will annoy you. I’m the first to say that my husband is a great guy, but there are days and months that I think I’m going to kill him even though I know he is an honest, upstanding great guy. But then some days, he eats dinner and I’m like “could you stop doing that?” He says, “What? Chewing?” I know it’s just my problem because he is eating dinner the same way he eats dinner every day.- – 40, married, 2 children


Poll: The study goes on to say that sex drops off — with 52% in younger relationships enjoying sexual relations at least three times a week, compared to just 16 percent of those in relationships older than three years.

40:20 Vision: Whatever you do have sex. The most satisfied women I talk to tend to say this is a critical part of their relationship. Just do it.


Poll: The report also said that those in the first flush of love can look forward to an average of three compliments a week from their partners — a figure which falls to an average of a single weekly compliment at the three-year high tide mark.

40:20 Vision: All we can say is try not to take eachother for granted. Would it be that hard to try to compliment someone 3 times a week (if so you probably need to ask yourself more questions). Most women say it’s the little things that count. Doing little things in the everyday rather than big things every once in a while to show your love. I think this woman had a nice thought:

Remember who you are, why you fell in love with each other and work at it a little each day to make it seem like the first day.” – 40-something, married, Los Angeles, CA


Poll: The findings also showed that more than three quarters (76 percent) of all people surveyed responded that “individual space was important” within a relationship and pointed to a rise of individual activities.

40:20 Vision: Give yourself some freedom to have independent lives. You’ve heard it here before!

“You have to cultivate independent lives and outside interests. It keeps each other interesting and that makes it more fun to be together. If you don’t have a social life, an intellectual life or some kind of activity that isn’t all about your significant other, it’s really hard to feel that you have a sense of identity. You can’t entirely depend on another person for your identity.”


Lastly, the study lists the top 10 everyday niggles and passion-killers:

1. Weight gain/lack of exercise, 13 percent

2. Money & Spend thriftiness, 11 percent

3. Anti-social working hours, 10 percent

4. Hygiene issues (personal cleanliness), 9 percent

5. In-Laws/extended family – too much/too little, 9 percent

6. Lack of romance (sex, treats etc), 8 percent

7. Alcohol – drinking too much, 7 percent 8. Snoring & anti social bedtime habits, 6 percent

9. Lapsed fashion-Same old underwear/clothes, 4 percent

10. Bathroom habits – Stray nail cuttings etc, 4 percent

(Reporting by Paul Casciato, editing by Steve Addison)


Some of these are more serious than others. But I’d love to know what are the cute vs. cringe-worthy habits/characteristics of your partner? It will be interesting to see how it’s different for 20 vs. 40-somethings.

I know I saw the movie Blue Valentine and thought, “Wow. Putting up with a husband who eats oatmeal off the table like a tiger would be cute once or twice, but after 6 years I’d probably want to throw him to the tigers, especially if I was trying to get my daughter off to school in the morning.  Some 20-somethings I know who also saw the movie thought it was cute and that the Michelle Williams character was a bit of a downer (aka b#$ch).  Age or tolerance?

Let me know yours!


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