Is there any truth to the statement that first marriage ending in divorce point to a similar fate for future marriages? A quick Internet search indicates that the answer is yes. Statistics tell us that 50 percent of first marriages, 67 percent of second and even 73 percent of third marriages end up in divorce. What is the reason for these dramatic figures and are there any lessons to be learned?
Some believe that a prime factor in the breakup of second and third marriages is children. Children hold first marriages together and children of first marriages can create tension in second and third marriages. Of course children are always stakeholders in a divorce situation but I'm not convinced that this is the sole reason for failed second and third marriages.
Others say the changing level of independency between husband and wife of the last decade(s) could be an important factor. On the Internet you will find a lot of different answers but I always like to choose a pragmatic approach. So I tried to get the answers from my own clients by just asking them what they believe caused their 2nd or 3rd divorces. The answers were surprising, often containing the phrase: 'like in my previous marriage(s)', pointing to the fact the many do not learn from past mistakes.
If you ask me personally I don't think there is one specific reason. I think it's a confluence of different circumstances. So I enumerated a couple of reasons why I think second and third marriages fail.
High Speed Society
Our society is based on making rapid decisions. It's not uncommon for people to jump into new relationships, without taking the time to reflect on past ones. New relationships create the sense of renewed passion and connection that was usually missing from previous relationships. However, most people tend to forget that the honeymoon phase always wears off and when relationships enter normal waters, old patterns reemerge. Both men and women need time to process their divorce before they start a new relationship. Yes it maybe sound strange but as the creator of DivorceHotel, I do think a divorce procedure should go fast, but selecting a new partner and entering relationships need time. I've said it before and I will say it again; it's a global fact that it's too easy to marry and way too difficult to divorce. This should be the other way around.
Who are you?
Do you really know who you are? While many people think that they know themselves completely, the reality is that most people don't. The fact of the matter is that self-knowledge is ons of the most important components to finding a truly compatible partner. Taking time to get to know the self helps us to figure out what we truly need and want in a partner. This principle is crucial after the end of a marriage. Taking the time to reflect on the specific elements that led to the end of a relationship can help prevent the same fate in the future. A relationship with a partner who is complimentary to you can survive the tensions in nearly every case.
Marrying (too) young
Based on the experiences with my clients I can safely say that spouses are very demanding and focused on having 'the perfect relationship'. Many often married very young, with no real idea of what they actually wanted. The divorce rate for couples that marry young is high. Did you know that 59 percent of marriages for women
under the age of 18 end in divorce within 15 years? The divorce rate drops to 36 percent for those married at age 20 or older ("Cohabitation, Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage in the United States," M.D. Bramlett and W.D. Mosher) Of course I do not want to discourage anybody, but marrying too young is one of the reasons for first, second and third divorces.
There isn't one specific reason for failed marriages, but we can try to slow down, spending more time on getting to know each other and ourselves before we run into relationships or marriages. Increase your level of self-knowledge and try make some progress in reducing the number of mismatches in relationships and thus lowering the US divorce rate.