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Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Seven Year Itch

I am acquainted to someone who has for 15 years, serve breakfast for her husband in bed. She would willingly wake up from slumber, just to attend to the man's demand for a foot massage, right after he came home from his late night outings. This is also the woman who has abruptly ended her confinement period, so that the kids would go to school and food would be served on the table, right on time when her man was home from work. In short, nothing is impossible for her to fulfill her man's need for perfection. Perhaps all these bona fide actions are fueled by her undying love and affection for her man.

Yesterday was their wedding anniversary. It also marked the first year of the husband's second marriage to a woman from our neighbouring state across the Straits. She was the last to know of this clandestine liaison, friends were aware of this, but none had the guts to spill the beans. "It is heart-wrenching", she told me one day during a phone conversation, "to be the fool who still hangs on to your man's words when the people around you, whom you trust and love, have been buzzing about the ugly truth".

Now name me a woman who is in her right faculty, who will not get hurt hearing such news. Perhaps, to have someone who you love to cheat on you could be equated to stabbing your heart with a dagger and smothering the gashes with the saltiest salt on Earth. It is that painful, you know.

I would like to attribute this to the infamous 'seven year itch ' period as termed by psychologists, to mark the declining interest in monogamous relationship after seven years of marriage. Now, I wonder if it would cloud over my marriage too. Touch wood.

I have to be honest, it has been very taxing to keep the flame burning. Very challenging, indeed. I have always been the lurvy durvy type, I will try my best to impress my man. Of course I do aim for something favourable in return. Perhaps a bit more TLC?

"What TLC?", he would say, "You can't survive just on that", I knew it was more of an irritated remark rather than a question. I wanted to explain, but words do not come easy nowadays. I tend to shed lonely tears in exchange.

I do not serve breakfast in bed, or sacrifice my slumber to serve a husband who has had a whale of a time with his buddies at places frequented by the vilest creatures on Earth, still I believe my simple gestures as an imperfect woman speak volume of how I want to keep this family together.

Indeed, it is true that words do not come easy nowadays, complete silence during rides is no alien to me anymore. I have tried to initiate conversations, though, but maintaining them is not an easy task, thus the effort is usually left in vain. Silence is golden, perhaps it is better than to risk exchanging hurtful words. So the mind is left to travel to places beyond the permissible space. Maybe. I do not know. I do not do mind reading. If I did, I would not have written this bit here.

I wonder if we are scratching the seven years itch now. If we are, how damaging would it be? Would it ever pass? What is the oilment to ease such itch? Funny how these psychologists coin the 'autumn' phase of a marriage.

Oh well, my man has been in slumber hours ago, thus to sleep I must go. Perhaps it is safe to doze off and dream away now, for he will be deep in slumber, maybe temporarily with hearing impairment, for I might talk in my sleep. *wink

So much for the seven year itch. Bah!


Kwong said...

Hahaha.... do you believe the SEVEN YEAR ITCH... Well its all left in body and mind... I do feel sometimes, hahaha

Kama said...

Minta laluan, Ida.

If I may, Kwong. There IS such a thing as the SEVEN-YEAR ITCH, despite your derisive comment and it seems to afflict men more than women. This is because a man gets bored very easily.

Like they say, the fun is in the chase; only when the chase is over and the trophy is yours, it's time to move on to the next conquest.. and so it goes.

Whatever it is that you are experiencing now, Ida, many have walked down that path before.. yours truly is no exception. It's sad but true. I found solace in singlehood (not that I am advocating it, mind you.. I don't want to shoulder the blame of a marital split). May you two find some resolve along the way.. God bless.

QM said...

Men dont just freak out after a 7th year itch.
He will find other alternatives if he has THE ITCH in his 7 inch.
That's why some men can be married to 2, 3 or 4 and why some can be so content in 1.
FYI a man told me this :)

Forest 2 Sea Adventures said...

OMG farah, it rhymes!!!haha

well, im going towards 7 now...ada rasa skit mcm duduk dalam kotak...u hear people talking around u but it is sooooo empty inside *sigh*..well, thats how i feel sometimes...

hope we will get tru this...:)

edelweiss said...


welcome back dear.

ur posting today makes me ponder about my marriage. Harap-2 tak dak lah that 7-year-itch thingy.

take care..

edelweiss said...

Oh Ida...

I pray for u too :) Things will be alrite... Insyallah

Kitchen Guardian said...

men...what can i say, kalau dia nak buat semua pun jadi alasan...kalau dia nak buat , kalau tak, baik aje dia...doa sajalah...

Ida Hariati Hashim said...

Hi Kwong,

I understand many have experienced it. Those who are experiencing it now is simply countless. Yes, this is more like a psychological thingy, but I believe those who are experiencing this phase in their marriage need help, not from others but from the partner himself/herself.

I also have the feeling what, normal la tu..kakakaka.

Jeffrey Matisa said...


The seven year itch, if it exists at all, is merely a summons.

To re-examine your heart's fuel cells. To see if you have enough for the miles ahead.

If you have run out, top up.

If you have some, keep going, not change the destination to suit the remaining endurance.

Absolute codswallop.

Ida Hariati Hashim said...

Salam Kak Puteri,

Tq for the well-wishes..

Why do men get bored do easily? Why do they always surrender to this so call "boredom' by going astray, why can't they open up to their partners?

You know what, when men get bored, their women might respond to this similarly. But then, who wants to be blamed for a marital split, right? Still, madam it is unfair when to simply dump the blame solely on the wife when she is too trying to fill in the emptiness left by her man.

A woman deserves to be loved, respected and appreciated too. I figure it is simply tiring to only care for others' feelings when yours is left unattended.

My two cents. Saya pun budak masih belajar.

Ida Hariati Hashim said...

Dear QM,

If the itch is in the 7 inches thingy, it can be understood perfectly. But there are also those with more 'inferior measurement' who go humping around town.

Ida Hariati Hashim said...

Dear Lyana,

U rasa mcm dok dalam kotak? Oh..biasa la, beb. I understand sometimes you have too many things around you, people laughing and talking to you, but deep in there you feel so numb and empty, yes, been there done that..kalau dulu I layan, but now dah malas, sebab kalau I am down, my significant other pun will be very very down, lepas tu boleh meletup.

Luckily we have the Internet, ye...*wink

Ida Hariati Hashim said...

Hello Edel,

This is a normal phase that many have gone through. I believe it is the battle within yourself, of how you assess your relationship after so many years together.

Perhaps familiarity breeds all sorts of not so wonderful feelings. As pointed out by Puteri Kama, the fun is in the chase but when the trophy is won, the magical feeling changes.

Look what happened to the Jon and Kate Goslin, ugly, uh?

Good luck to you too..

Ida Hariati Hashim said...

Hi Kak Yani,

Men, those poor creatures, have difficulties in handling boredom in their relationships. Perhaps it gives the much needed boost to their ego. But they must realize that we women must have that kind of boost too.

Still, it is a shame when couples quit communicating. Sigh.

Ida Hariati Hashim said...

Hi Major,

Yea, fiddlestick to you, Sir, but not to others who have fallen prey to this kinda phase. Still, it is all in the mind, thus one should be able to control it.

Now tell me please, Sir. What do men think of when they are keeping silence in the presence of their women? Can the common answer of "nothing" when asked about what is on their minds be considered as a truthful reply?

I personally cannot think of "nothing" when I am keeping my mouth shut.

Jeffrey Matisa said...

Of course: "nothing" is dead right. Men's minds are the vast arid desert of their psyche.

Maybe they just haven't learned the word "nonplussed".

Soon when you ask a chap a question, he is gonnaa say, "Nonplussed."

Jeffrey Matisa said...

Dear Ida

I had not meant to trivialise the anguish of womenkind with what I had said.

I meant it more for men. They should listen to the message that their doubts are asking them. Not fill it with a distraction.

I am not given to younger modelled women. So that doesn't explain the need for a tryst. I do not need to feel rejuvinated by the attentions of a younger nymphette.

No, I am not safe. I admit to experiencing crushes for the eternity of half an hour. These are mere questions, that do not need to be answered. They will pass.

And these are the best of times to see the woman who has stuck with me when I was a total fool. Because of her, I have graduated into being half a fool instead. We have been through our own hell. We have been parted, when soul is ripped from body because of the absence of the other. We have caused each other anguish that would have rent two lovers had it not been for something much bigger than ourselves to hold on to.

We have laboured year after year, built three other lives that follow us for better or for worse. These are far more real than the illusion of starting over with turning my back on all that makes me what I am as the ransom.

So as far as I can see, there is no "better" person than the one who has bettered me over the years. I get a choice like this only once.

No ageing, no gain or loss in weight, or hurt is going to change the truth that to be parted from her would be the biggest lie I can tell myself whilst reaching for the illusory crutch of fleeting fantasy.

Therefore when the eye wanders, it is time to ask: well, wasn't all I have been through so far real? I know the foregone conclusion.

A man can dream....and I have my share of them. I confess to being a fool in this sense. But my answer is still, teary eyed as I may be at losing a shagging opportunity with Elizabeth Hurley, that I have no other home than by her side, this one who has loved me at my worst.

Shahieda said...

You're certainly back with a bang my dear!! :)

I have been one of those to succumb to the seven year itch, make that the ten year itch. But not after fighting for the marriage with everything I had. One very big lesson I have learned, is that, you cannot fight for something when the next party doesn't do their bit. It takes two to tango, doesn't it??

Communication is of utmost importance. In my opinion, if you're happy & fulfilled with who you are as a person then there should be no reason whatsoever for you to stray. That goes to say for both sexes.

I take my hat off to your friend, her reward will be in the Hereafter!!

That is my 2 cents

Salt N Turmeric said...

When my good friend got married she told her mil abt the 7-yr itch but the mil told her why worry abt 7 and tht she should be worried abt 3yr itch.

I think whatever-year-itch comes in play because women and society keep letting men go with those excuses. Why is it only men are 'allowed' to have those itches and the women get blamed for it?

Men get bored easily? Women don't is it? Men can go astray and women just have to be docile, take the blame and punish themselves?

Yes they are things for men to do and there are things for women to do. But if the thing tht men do includes having other women, Id demand the things that women do includes having other men too. Why the double standard?

If it's ok for you to do it and im supposed to just keep damn quiet, you better be damn quiet when i do it too. Capisce?

Well, I hope you and dh would be able to sort this through and come out as champion, together. *hugs*

Anonymous said...

Been married for 17 years. Yes there is such thing as 7-year-itch maybe even more. Look at it as an opportunity to improve the marriage relationship. It is not impossible to be soul mates to each other. Cherish him like your closest friend. Give unselfishly, maintain respect and stay polite even if you have to bite your tongue. Believe me it is possible and when you have overcome a challenge you two will get closer more than ever. Read Dr. Laura's books and others as well. Keep searching for the answers, it is there you just have not find it yet. And most importantly ask for guidance from the One who created you and him, the One who knows the deepest secrets of your hearts.
Take this from a women who was at the verge of divorce.... fight to keep the marriage and the family and fight to have her dream relationship all for the sake of pleasing her Lord and wanting Paradise as the reward of afterlife. And this success does not come without tremendous effort.
Wish you all the best.

Anonymous said...

Believe me, you are not alone.
My husband doesn't abuse me or have an affair but i don't know what's inside his head.
Sometimes i wonder if not for the kids...i would have left a long time ago.


Anonymous said...

Hi Ida

Just an observation...

Er... why does it appear as if the 'seven year itch' afflicts only men? I've seen women (many women, in fact) who are afflicted by the same thing.

Maybe its because men are not so willing to share the fact that his woman has been fiddling around with a tool-box that doesn't belong to him. This is why we seldom hear about it.

In any case when a woman says her man has been 'adventurous', the world rallies to her aid. But when a man says his woman has been 'exploring', the world laughs at him.

I guess its tough being a man too. ;-)

tireless mom said...

Hi Ida

Welcome back.

Been there, done that. The itch will come no matter at which year. That is natural and normal. All I have to say, never stop making the effort and doa is ever so powerful to keep them astray.

7 year itch? said...

There is no such thing as the 7 year itch. Its only a hollywood expression i.e film. starring marilyn monroe to excuse about sexual escapades.

The itch is there as long as a man or a woman breathe.

A man try to grab all that he can. So does a woman.

Its all about opportunities. Brad Pitt has a two year itch cycle.

If you live in a kampung then there will be less opportunity to meet the opposite sex so.. no itch till both die.

But if you are handsome, a popular singer etc like Edison Chen, then you can satisfy your itch and the women's itches within a short span of time.

Get it..its all about the getting to know other women or men. Many women/girls nowadays are not satisfied with a single man too. If they have the chance and no hassle or fights..then they want taste to other partners too. Nowadays girls will confide their unasiness that once married oh god they will have no chance to taste other men..

Ida Hariati Hashim said...

Dear Major,

If only all married souls have your perspective of life, I bet sorrows and ills will not exist on the face of the Earth. Your wife is truly a lucky woman to have someone like you. And you too, sir, are lucky to have the life of a wonderful partner. In fact, we are all lucky, if only we could learn to love the imperfection perfectly.

the witch's broo said...


i am a silent reader. but i just cannot resist wanting to say something here.

There is really no such thing as a seven-year itch.
that is a scam by psychologists, abetted by psychiatrists, to give justification to men's innate desire to philander....

with all due respect to Kama, I really believe that THAT "itch" (for it is not just a state of mind but a physiological need i.e. they physicll WANT IT)does not exist in the way she has accepted it.

Now get this -- seven-year ITCH does not exist in the sense we have been accepting it.

The damn ITCH is there from the day men were born!!!!

so, beause it would be oh so demeaning to say that, psychologists -- abetted by psychiatrists -- have given it a name and a time-frame to make it more, shall we say, medical.

It's a damn condition! No cure!

thank you, Ida for writing this.

I am so sad for your friend.

she should send her husband out to dry. Or get someone to do it for her!