Overcoming the 1-Year-Itch

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.

Posted in divorce

2 Responses to Overcoming the 1-Year-Itch

  1. Sarah says:

    Thank you for posting this…it is really helpful to me. I was like you, having a pretty rough first year of marriage (we even did 2 sessions of marriage counseling right after our 1-year anniversary, which seemed like a big deal at the time because my husband was VERY averse to it.) And now we’re in our seventh year, and, guess what? We’re going to our first session of a new series of marriage counseling sessions tomorrow! So, it is kind of normalizing to read this post and the statistics, and also gives me hope that, because we’re being intentional about trying to fix what’s going on, we’ll make it to the other side of this itch and into our eighth year and hopefully many more.

  2. I heard somewhere that the fourth years was the worst for a lot of couples, and this was when they divorced… or at least in Europe.

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