So U.S. divorces are finally leveling off. But the seven-year itch–break-ups that occur roughly seven years into a marriage–persists.
Which means it takes the average destined-to-divorce couple 7 years to pull the trigger. I know there are reasons for this: People have kids and kids ruin their marriage; someone has an affair; no matter how miserable people are, the unknown is still scarier. Still, seven years seems like a long time. By the time you start looking for a replacement, you’re older, more tired, more bitter and less interested in hearing someone else’s opinion.
I’m a survivor of the less-discussed, but no less sinister, one-year itch. Our first year of marriage wasn’t good, and there were times when I was sure we wouldn’t make it to year two. It was a lonely feeling. Most of my married friends acted as if the best years were the early years, so naturally, that led me to conclude that there must really be something wrong with my marriage (and by extension, with me) if the earliest year of all was such a bust.
We did, in the end, make it to other side in one piece. We even continued to like each other. And on the upside, our first year as parents was, in comparison, a breeze.
It’s been four years total, so there’s still time to fail before we hit the seven-year mark. And I’m not one who takes success in any area–not in work, marriage, parenting, or even programming the DVR–for granted. But I have high hopes, and I plan to work hard to cross that line. Then we just have to make it another 18 years, at which point the 25-year itch–thank you Arnold Schwarzenegger–will be behind us.