by Michelle Montoro
I am writing this on the morning of our 10th wedding anniversary. We have been polyamorous for the past 3 years of our married life together. We hit that 7 year point, you know the point at which all things seem to fall apart in relationships. I think most people are familiar with the concept of the 7 year itch, a psychological idea which suggests that the happiness of couples begins a steep decline around 7 years of marriage.
This is an idea that has been around for over a century and has been extended beyond interpersonal relationships to any situation that requires a long term commitment, such as a job or a home. It is a phenomenon of the human experience that many of us simply get bored which leads to unhappiness approximately 7 years into any commitment.
It is also a phenomenon that is so far reaching that it has garnered enough interest from experts to prompt quantitative analyses of divorce rates over time. Samples taken from studies done by the National Center for Health Statistics have shown that over the last 100 years, the median duration of marriages before ending in divorce falls right around 7 years. At that 7 year mark, tensions either become too much to bear and couples end the union or they find a way to adapt to one another and make it work.
Easier said than done, I suppose.
My first marriage ended after 2 1/2 years, but pretty close to the 7 year mark in the overall duration of the relationship. It was a textbook situation, falling completely in line with the statistics. Right around that 7 year mark, we were discovering that through time and self growth, we were no longer compatible. We went the through the same process that all struggling couples do. We fought, we blamed each other, we refused to accept failure, we pretended nothing was wrong, we created an outside image of the perfectly happy marriage. But at the end of the day, the 7 year itch won. Differences could not be reconciled. We could not force one another into the ideals that we each had in mind. Ideals that were vastly different from the other’s. And so, as nearly 50% of marriages do, my first one ended in divorce.