The itch for something new? Let’s talk about the infamous seven year itch, the stereotypical relationship restlessness that seems to encourage a roving eye, and the most renowned reference perhaps — the Billy Wilder film that bears that name.
As for the play turned iconic showcase for Marilyn in 1955…
Wikipedia tells us:
The phrase was first used to describe an inclination to become unfaithful after seven years of marriage in the play The Seven Year Itch by George Axelrod, and gained popularity following the 1955 film adaptation starring Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell.
The Lure of the “New”
Personally, I’m not the “unfaithful” type. And while I may take a stereotypically French view of infidelity, I’m loyal to a fault, which can be a relationship handicap at times.
When it comes to yearning for something new, particularly on a timeline, plenty has been written on the seven year itch in the context of marriage. Naturally, as individuals with our own stories and preferences, we face the forces of familiarity with differing responses. Some of us — whether we’re discussing relationships (and the need for something new to sustain sexual interest) or work assignments (and a similar need for the “new”) — will spice things up by switching things up… keeping the players and the cards we’re dealt, but tweaking the game or inventing a new one with no need to commit infidelity or to walk away from a spouse!
Others, whether you’re talking about Year Four or Year Fourteen, can no longer tolerate the sameness of their daily rhythms. As this Psychology Today column on marriage theories explains:
… after seven years of marriage many couples have successfully raised one or two children through the risky infancy years and realize they don’t want to be around each other anymore, or else they haven’t had children at all and decide it’s time to look for another potential mate.
It’s an interesting article on human behavior and serial sexual monogamy. Pop by and read it.
Of Hall Passes and Time…
I find myself contemplating the notion of the hall pass as I continue to consider the seven year itch. You know the concept I mean — giving your long-term partner a period of sexual freedom to enjoy a relationship with someone else.
It may sound good in theory, but oh, the intimacy issues that would arise!
Whatever you make of these theories of pair bonding and human love relationships, here’s a piece of personal news that deals with a relationship of another sort: Today marks seven years of Daily Plate of Crazy.
The itch to do something different? The itch for new challenges, a different pace, an altered format?
I can’t help but think about where this all began. Right here. With coffee. With two teenagers in the house. With a big beautiful mutt of a dog at my feet. With so much crazy I didn’t know what to do. Then again, perhaps I did. I wrote through it, feeling my way, making my share of mistakes, but able to look back and see my choices and thought process.
And I listened — to my children and what they needed, to you and the lessons you had to share. And I listened to my gut — eventually, I was more keenly tuned to my own intuition, that uncanny sixth sense, the intrepid and insistent inner voice that is such an effective GPS.
What else was with me, nearly all the time?
My worries. My idealism. My hopefulness.
Here I sit again, seven years later to the day. I have some of the same worries, a few new ones, and thankfully, a handful are resolved. Much to my surprise, my idealism is intact albeit more fragile. My hopefulness?
Admittedly, as we live through experiences that tarnish our belief systems, hanging onto hope in the future becomes a challenge. Yet that, too, has not deserted me entirely.
Coffee, Connections, More Coffee
Now that makes me smile. I have to laugh at the number of times over the past seven years that I have written about coffee. I may have replaced Italian Roast with French Roast, but the dark elixir of morning musing sits at my side as I type even now — and the java is piping hot, strong, and still a source of sensory pleasure.
My teenagers are no longer boys; they are young men. Our beloved dog is gone, and she is still missed. I have expanded the breadth of topics that catch my interest and, I believe, that influence our daily lives and deserve airing.
Most often, however, I come back to relationships — love, sex, friendship, parenting. Relationships are complex, always shifting, always fascinating — certainly to me. As I think back on more than 2,300 posts, the majority deal with issues between friends, between lovers, between partners, between spouses, and even exes.
There are relationships here as well — relationships that involve trust and caring that I hope is mutual, and a sense of community that has been precious indeed.
As for the itch to do something more or less or simply different, I’ve been pursuing other things behind the scenes. I hope to give those activities the time they need, and frankly, perhaps I could do with a hall pass after all.
I will continue to publish, though I may hang out the Gone Fishing sign for awhile, posting from the archives and writing new content at a slower pace.
Do see The Seven Year Itch if you haven’t. This classic may be sixtyish years old, but it is nonetheless full of charm, wit, relevance… and surprises.
Image of Marilyn Monroe in the white dress, public domain.
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