On the heels of my uplifting previous post… Drew over on thezombieshuffle wrote about the divorce rates in North America. According to his research the rate of divorce for 1st marriages is 50%, 67% for second marriages and 73% for third marriages.
While doing a little research of my own I came across some statistics from Dr. Phil. His statistics aren’t quite as bad. According to him your chance of divorce in your first marriage is 35-40%. Hey, you’ve been given a 10-15% bump up in success rates! Hooray! Your chance of divorce in a second marriage is 60-65%, giving you a slightly better chance by a 2-5% margin. If you choose to marry a third time (hello, Jezebel!) the chance of divorce climbs to 70%+, which is a slight 3% bump from Drew’s figures.
Regardless of whose figures you use it seems apparent that your best chance for happily ever after is your first marriage. Statistically speaking, of course.
The bigger question he asks though is this: With the identical trend of the rising rate of divorce the more times you walk down the aisle, do people actually learn anything from their failed marriages? Follow up questions: Are relationships a waste of time? Are they all fleeting?
I think more than likely he hit the nail on the head with his first question. I think people don’t learn. Look at cheaters. CF constantly plays the victim. Nothing is his fault. His relationship with his kids is in the toilet, but it’s not his fault. Oh no! It’s mine! I’ve poisoned the kids against him.
I’m taking all of his money. But that’s not his fault. I’m just a greedy, money hungry bitch. His behavior didn’t play even a tiny bit into what has happened to him.
He was forced out of his home. He had to quit his job. He has a drinking problem. It’s all my fault. I didn’t love him. I didn’t take care of him.
He’s not unique. Most cheaters blame the spouse they’re cheating on. They blame us for all of their ailments and failures and unhappiness. And then they turn around and blame us for their affair(s).
You didn’t grow a garden. You didn’t fetch me my slippers. You didn’t wear sexy underwear. You got bald. You wouldn’t help with the kids. We didn’t have sex (often enough or ever). You didn’t support my new pumpkin patch business! You didn’t support my passion for crab racing! You didn’t understand me!
Nothing about where they went wrong. Nope. Just pick a different partner and everything will be tickety boo.
This can apply to almost anyone though, not just cheaters. Many people think the partner is the problem and so long as that changes everything will be fine. Others love that “in love” feeling and bail when things get difficult. Still others can’t bear to be alone so they quickly get involved without ever looking at themselves and the choices they are making. Others are just flat out crazy! No seriously, they have mental health issues that don’t make them suitable partners for anyone.
When you start looking at second and third marriages you have additional complications. There could be an ex or two in the picture, children that aren’t yours, schedules that have to be coordinated because of custody. Then you have money issues: child support being paid, how to fairly distribute funds, what to do when one of you dies. There are family rules to settle and how much authority does the new spouse have? Are your families going to blend? There could be differences in how you raise your children versus how your new spouse has raised his/hers. All of those things complicate the relationship far beyond that first marriage where neither of you had children from a previous relationship or an ex-spouse. Considering all of that I’m not surprised subsequent marriages face an uphill battle.
My favorite Dr. Phil statistic though was the chance of a divorce for a relationship that begins as an affair. He puts it at right around 95%. I guess Chump Lady wasn’t too far off the mark when she described marriage between cheating partners as a farce registered at Macy’s. Or as another reader’s lawyer described it: Repeat business.