This is one I’ve pondered for some time now. The statistics for first marriages aren’t very good. Between 40 and 50% of first marriages end in divorce. If that’s bad, subsequent marriages are even worse, with 60%-67% of second marriages ending in divorce, and 70-73% of third marriages. I understand why women with kids would want to get remarried, since they usually make less money and raising kids with money and social support structure is easier and likely better for the kids. But why would men want to ever, ever get remarried again given those statistics. It’s like a game of Russian Roulette with really, really poor odds, but instead of dying you simply take half your money away. You wouldn’t play that game, especially if you lost once, and the odds were worse every time you played it. I just don’t get it.
Over the weekend, we caught up with my old college roommate and his brother who we haven’t seen in a dozen years or so. We knew them both really well at one point in our lives. Anyway, talking with the brother, he was maybe a year past his divorce and he was still talking about how awful it was and how he wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Despite a spare tire, he’s still a really good looking dude, charismatic, plays in a band, on the volunteer fire department, confident and I don’t think he has any problems with the women. His wife, who he was with for seven years, was cheating on him for a year before the marriage fell apart. He had some interesting stories about dating in his mid-to-late thirties, and how there were many, many women in that same age range who were looking for a guy like him. Either never married, or maybe divorced, some with kids, some without, but they all were looking for a catch to maybe have that kid before the eggs got too rotten, maybe just looking for someone to help them foot the bill.
Big surprise that women are pretty much in the middle of hitting the wall that they are looking for that one final swing for the fences and settle down “for good”…that is until they get unhaaaapy again. So it sounded like our friend was dating 4-5 women over the last 6-8 months, some of them at the same time. I was surprised he was fishing in the mid-30’s pond, as he could easily be fishing in the mid-20’s pond. Anyways, he hooked what sounds like a decent woman – never married, no kids, good job; one that he said he could conceivably picture marrying. He wants kids at some point (dodged that bullet with wife #1) and wants to raise them in an environment to see them prosper. For that reason alone, could I see seeking marriage for a second time, but even then you’ve got to do what you can to mitigate the potential for a second divorce. I just didn’t understand him almost settling down within a year of getting divorced, and wasn’t the only one, other friends were asking him the same thing… but C’est la vie.
A marriage partner for the second time should have the same criteria as a first marriage. Marrying someone who has kids, has been divorced previously, and doesn’t have her shit together are huge red flags and a lot of baggage to sift through. Here are some things that decrease divorce risk:
Factors % Decrease in Risk of Divorce Making over $50,000 annually
(vs. under $25,000)
30% Having graduated college
(vs. not completed high school)
25% Having a baby seven months or more
after marriage (vs. before marriage)
24% Marrying over 25 years of age (vs. under 18) 24% Coming from an intact family of origin
(vs. divorced parents)
14% Religious affiliation (vs. none) 14%
There are obviously exceptions to the rule, and obviously a fair amount of second marriages do work out. Holly’s dad got remarried within a year after his divorce and they have since been married over 25 years. But the other side is you have serial marriage guys who just can’t be alone. One of our friend’s dad has been married and divorced three or four times. Why would you keep doing it if the results are always the same? My wife and I have a lot of incentive to stay married, and things are pretty dang good right now, but there’s the constant buttressing of the marriage castle that is required. If things ever did fall apart, I don’t believe either of us would have problems finding someone new. However, I doubt I would get remarried after what I’ve learned the last few years as the risks just seem to outweigh the rewards for men. Instead, I’d fish in the pond using the “rule for men” – half your age plus seven, and catch and release.
Holly is the one for me, and there’s many reasons why I love her and we do well together, but the disincentive of divorce is very strong. With that said, I am certainly a supporter of women and men doing what they have to do to have the life they want and the happiness you want. If you’ve read and followed the The Mindful Attraction Plan and The Married Man Sex Life Primer (both of which I can’t recommend high enough), and are patient through the process, and still don’t have the marriage you want (you can’t change others, only yourself), it’s up to you to have the LIFE you want, which may require some decisions that suck, like divorcing a life-force vampire. I just can’t recommend getting remarried though. If you want to, just beat yourself over the head with the stats: you only have a 1 in 3 chance of making that second marriage work. Horrible odds.