In a conversation with my cousin about our upcoming wedding anniversaries – hers in October, mine in November – she asked me what year my husband and I were coming up on.
“Seven,” I replied, to which she responded, “Oh boy, the 7-year itch!” I’d never heard that phrase, so she explained that it basically means that happiness in marriages tend to decline around the seventh year. We dissected it because often affairs are associated with the 7-year itch.
Infidelity is a touchy subject for me because of my Dad’s affair and my tangled role in it, though he was having the 30-year itch (or something f’ed up like that). I’m not planning on having an affair, but psychologically, I can definitely identify with the 7-year itch. My marriage is stable and constant, but it’s not filled with the newness of falling and love or the thrill of having children and starting a family.
A few months ago my husband laughingly suggested we get a karaoke machine to liven up our lives. It seems we were unconsciously starting to feel the 7-year itch, but didn’t have a name for it. “Yes!” I screamed. That could be totally fun. My inner performer is emerging and my inhibitions are waning as I continue to feel healthier and a little more repaired than I was when I started this blog.
“I was just kidding,” he said.
Some people end up having another child to get through the 7-year itch – my cousin did and lucked out with twins. Itched scratched? I’d say so.
The morning after my cousin and I talked about our wedding anniversaries, we brought our husbands into the conversation about the 7-year itch. Mine made a joke, that the best way to avoid the 7-year itch is to get divorced at 6 years. No one took the conversation seriously after that.
My husband and I haven’t revisited the topic since then. We have children and personal interests, busy schedules, and don’t often talk about anything deep. At least not about itches. Yet I keep thinking about the 7-year itch. Awareness of the phenomena is certainly helping me find ways to avoid it, or at least get through it.
In one of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic Lessons (podcast) she tells an author to “have an affair with her writing.” It resonated as a metaphor for having something secret and lovely and passionate in my life, without the dirtiness of a sexual affair. I have certain obsessions that I think/write/talk/daydream about privately that deal with romanticized love. Perhaps I should travel down those road for a while.
I am also going to watch a movie that was made in 1955 called, wait for it… “The Seven Year Itch” that stars Marilyn Monroe. I’m going to make my husband watch it with me. Then maybe I’ll have more insight into this whole 7-year itch thing.
What are your thoughts on the 7-year itch?