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The Seven Year Itch

Zsa Zsa Gabor, Hungarian-American actress, socialite  and former beauty queen, who was married seven times, once said, “I am a marvelous housekeeper. Every time I leave a man I keep his house.

That’s not chump change to, say, Zsa Zsa’s second husband, Conrad Hilton, but the average Joe doesn’t have an international chain of business hotels to absorb the cost of a lawyered-up, gold-bricking ex-wife. Today’s ex-wives believe that a primary wage-earning husband should subsidize them and their lifestyle for long after she’s pink-slipped him. Make no mistake, the average American ex-wife has a totally clear conscience about her dismissed ex-husband underwriting her lifestyle, one that after you may include Rolf, her personal trainer, doing naval shots from her tummy snifter two nights a week after you’ve left. Which isn’t nearly as insulting as the fact that steroid-boy doesn’t know the difference between Remy Martin X.O. and carburetor cleaner. (cretin). The least ‘roid-boy could do is marry her himself, and then he truly would be reaching for the carburetor cleaner.

It’s called “The Seven Year Itch, and I don’t mean the film where an underground, hot air conduit blows Marilyn Monroe’s white, halter dress skyward, thank you jesus. The lore surrounding the Seven Year Itch phenomenon is that this is when the husband’s boredom, leading to his infidelity, leading to divorce is likely to occur. The old margarine television commercial used to mimic how “it’s not nice to fool mother nature, but what happens when mother nature fools men?

Anthropologist Helen Fisher has found that divorce worldwide occurs most common in the fourth year of marriage, in the couple’s late twenties. She speculates that four years is what is needed to attract a mate, establish a home, produce a child and raise it until it was weaned. Then the hammer drops- worldwide- and divorce occurs.

I applied Fisher’s theory with American averages and was rather interested in the finding. Fisher’s findings convert seamlessly to an American timeline of seven years.

The average age that American women marry is twenty-five. The average age of her having their first child: twenty-seven years old. According to the US Division of Vital Statistics, the average woman today will have two children. Studies show that through ecological breast feeding, women commonly experience between nine and twenty months of postpartum infertility, with the average being about fifteen months. Thus, children are naturally spaced on average about two to three years apart.  So what is the span from marriage to first child to second child to second child out of diapers and off breast feeding? About seven years. Which also happens to be the number of years that the average first marriage in America lasts when it ends in divorce. Factor in that sixty-five to seventy percent of all marriages ending in divorce are initiated by a woman who files.

I propose that in many marriages, after a man has served his settling and siring purposes, just after the time when his wife is involved in her most demanding maternal years, many husbands are sent packing by their American wives. And why not? The support function, like Sonny and Cher’s “beat, goes on for-ev-er. A clearly hostile-to-men legal system that considers fathers nothing more than sperm-donors with ATM machine lifetime obligation fairly well strong-arms men into a state of money hemorrhaging (second household maintenance) under the banner of “the child’s best interest for as long as possible.

American women are well aware that they can dismiss the husband, if they’re unhappy, confiscate the kids and still receive cash infusion far beyond what the children need from the banished husband for up to nearly two decades if she plays it right.

The most comprehensive study on why women file for divorce was conducted by two economists, Margaret F. Brinig, University of Iowa, and Douglas W. Allen, Simon Fraser University. After analyzing 46,000 divorce certificates, Brinig and Allen published their findings in the American Journal of Law an Economics, in a paper entitled “These Boots Are Made For Walking: Why Most divorce Filers Are Women.” Their conclusion: most divorces are filed by women because women have the most to gain.

From the report:

“Our results are consistent with our hypothesis that filing behavior is driven by self-interest at the time of divorce.

Individuals file for divorce when there are marital assets that may be appropriated through divorce. Because the heavy investor can’t easily move, the other party may be tempted to take advantage of the investor.

In most cases, the “heavy investor, in terms of input during the marriage (and indentured servitude to a lopsided for many years after) is the husband.

Gentlemen, listen carefully. In terms of risk assessment, one of the safest things you can do to ensure that your wife will stick around, work through the issues and fight to maintain your marriage is to cut her off at Incentive Pass, at least when it comes to money. Any man in these United States in the 21st century who gets married without a prenup is potentially in for an ass-raping that is not uncommon to men in divorce. Unfortunately, custody and child support issues can not be contracted in a prenup, but you can keep the cash cow from being rustled to some extent.  A relationship held together in part by mutual need is not such a bad thing.  It has a funny way of causing partners to try just that much harder.

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