While many say falling in love is sweeter the second time around, the statistics are quite staggering– over 70% of second marriages fail. Here are the 4 main reasons these unions do not last:
1. Not Enough Time to Reflect– After experiencing a divorce, most people avoid the pain or sorrow associated with this loss by avoiding things like coming home to an empty house and spending some quiet time alone with their thoughts. Instead of allowing ourselves time to grieve a major loss, we often pack our calendars with things to do and go out of our way to stay busy and entertained with others. While it is definitely important to rebuild a social life, it is just as important to take time to ask some big questions like: why did my marriage fail? What role did I play in the demise of our relationship? What should I do differently the next time around? Before embarking on the next marriage, people should take time to fully process their emotions and thoughtfully consider ways they can avoid making the same mistakes again.
2. Rushing Into Things– The desire to re-establish a partnership is strong for many, especially those that enjoy being in a committed relationship. Indeed, 75% of men and approximately 66% of women will remarry, usually within 2-5 years after their divorce, but obviously no one should feel pressured to follow these trends, especially if they are not successful. Divorced individuals need to pace themselves after suffering a major setback in life. They often are a bit emotionally vulnerable, and their filters may be a bit off, therefore it is important to put any new relationship through the test of time. Big changes should be taken in baby steps, otherwise taking on too much at once can cause a lot of instability, especially when discussing significant issues about merging households and managing joint budgets. If the couple is indeed a good fit, then time will always be on their side.
3. Money– The financial devastation caused by divorce cannot be overstated. Regardless of whether someone only had $100 or $100Mn to divide, the fact is after a divorce s/he will often find there is significantly less available post-divorce. Maintaining two separate households adds a considerable amount to the family’s expenses, meanwhile many will also feel the sting of lingering support obligations either for the children or a former spouse in need of alimony. Sadly, these ongoing payments will weigh on people for many years after their divorce becomes final, and they will drain the resources available in a second marriage, which is very often a source of conflict.
4. Kids– Hands down this is the biggest challenge to any marriage. The fact is when kids are involved, it is impossible to always make a partner fee like a #1 priority. Children have needs and require attention that will take time away from a spouse. In an intact house we are more forgiving of this fact because we are both responsible for bringing the children into the mix, but with blended families, the dynamics are far more complicated and can be very tricky. Step-children will not always take to their new step-parents or siblings, and the age of the children plays a huge factor in terms of not just their demands, but also their openness to adding new members to their families. Studies show that after age 13, a child is far less likely to bond with a step parent– not that it is a bad thing to strive for, but the fact is that they already have an established notion of how they define family and their peers matter more, so they simply will not be too interested in re-creating the Brady Bunch, and trying to force this is a recipe for disaster.
As you can see, navigating all these complicated issues involving emotions, finances and children can be very tricky, and so it is easy to understand why so many second marriages fall apart. But perhaps if we were more open and honest upfront about the challenges second marriages will face, then we can prevent major disasters from occurring later down the line. By identifying the problematic issues and addressing them early on– both from an emotional and financial perspective, perhaps we can improve the odds of happily ever after the second time around.