Often regarded as a wive’s tale or urban legend, the concept of the seven-year itch in a marriage may be more real than expected, according to the Boston Globe.

The publication, citing data from the most recent U.S. Census, found that first marriages that end in divorce last eight years on average, but the median time frame for a marriage to reach separation is approximately seven years.

The seven-year curse is more than just a concept for the famous Marilyn Monroe film “The Seven Year Itch.” Marriage experts believe the seven-year time frame could be prime for divorce because the stress of caring for young children, financial concerns, family pressure, work stress and an accumulation of other trying circumstances all reach a fever pitch around seven years.

“Over time, people’s flaws reveal themselves,” Andrew Cherlin, a professor of sociology and public policy at Johns Hopkins University, told the Globe. “The positives remain, but the negatives build up.”

According to Science Daily, boredom can also bring about a seven-year itch. Participants in a study by the University of Michigan and Stony Brook University were asked how often they felt that their marriages were in a rut. Study results indicated that boredom in a marriage undermines closeness, which can quickly erode a relationship.

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