Giving things up for someone you love is only ok to a point. If you love skiing and you realize that after being with someone you have not gone skiing in years something is wrong. Not necessarily with the other person (that is besides the point) but with you.
It is surprising how many women stop doing things they like to make men happy or to cater to a man’s needs or career. We think that our moment will come next, but years go by and most men never pass the ball. They are having too much fun playing with it, while we are just sitting there, watching them play, somewhat happy, somewhat proud, waiting for our turn. Then kids come into the picture and you pretty much disappear.
Some men are keen on letting you play their game (they ask you to join their hobbies, business, etc.) and this might seem fun at the beginning, you discover something new, your learn about their world and since their world fascinates you, you are willing to try whatever it is, even if that means running a half marathon in the middle of the night with no shoes on. But when it comes for them to play your games… not so keen. And this can go on for years, normally the first 5 to 6 years, coinciding with the time when we are making concessions and giving up personal spaces and things for the relationship to flow.
And what happens next? The 7 year itch. The prelude to the crisis.
You begin to really miss your former life, your former self and unconsciously become angry at the person that indirectly, in your mind, has prevented you from being yourself when in fact you only have yourself to blame.
I remember the exact moment when I first heard about “the itch”. I was chopping avocados in downtown Chicago at a friends’ house with a friend of a friend who happens to be a Telemundo channel star, so famous and influential amongst the Latino community that she even launched her own cosmetic line.
It was the 4th of July and we were making some snacks to take to the rooftop terrace to watch the air show. My friends’ friend absolutely gorgeous and talented, had divorced a few years earlier (I never asked her why and if she told me I don’t remember). She was interested in knowing if me and Prince Charming were getting along. From the outside it seemed ideal she said. Then she asked how long me and Prince Charming had been married. “Going on 7 years” I replied. “Well, you must be close to experiencing the seven year itch” What is that? “You’ve never heard about it? You will know soon”.
By the end of the summer I was on a plane, leaving Chicago and Prince Charming for good. I was done moving from place to place for him to advance his career. I was done waiting for the right moment to move back to Europe. I suppose I was done watching him play. I wanted my own game.
I often remember the itch conversation. How do couples get to that point?
My thought is that every time that we put ourselves second we are heading towards the 7 year itch. Every time we make our partner’s goal our goal and we say “It’s OK let’s do that and not this” we are corrupting an otherwise healthy relationship.
I met a friend at the mall the other day who said that she and her husband were in rough waters. She realized that she had not been skiing since their daughter was born. Yes, their daughter is 7 years old. It reminded me of myself because up until I left crocodile I hadn’t been skiing. I had not been surfing either. It just never seemed like a good time. Crocodile never showed any interest in my hobbies and there was always something else going on on crocodile’s agenda.
Only recently I picked up skiing again, I took out my surfing board, I got up early with my son who had never been skiing to drive those two ours that it takes to get to the ski resort. I drove those insignificant five minutes that it takes to get to the beach where I can practice surf in the middle of the day, while my children are at school.
And guess what? It feels really good. How about you go do that and I’ll do this?