Recently, four couples, including myself and my boyfriend, met at a bar to have some drinks. Of the eight people who were there, all are divorced with kids, and seven out of the eight are over 50. None are in a second marriage.
Here is what I find particularly interesting. Of the four couples, my boyfriend and I have been together the shortest amount of time: two and a half years. Another couple has been together for four years, and the two other couples have each been together for nine years. Again, none of us are in a second marriage or engaged.
I know for a fact that one of the women would like to be engaged, but her boyfriend has said he does not wish to be married again. Ever. He said he is too scarred from the pain of his first marriage. Another couple, who lives together decided to label themselves as “life partners” and stay unmarried permanently. The third couple said they are happy with the way things are, that things are very complicated with their kids, and that for now, they do not wish to get remarried for that reason. They said marriage is a possibility, but not for the foreseeable future.
As for my view on second marriage, although I definitely think I’m with the right person, and that a marriage to him would work, both of us don’t feel ready to take on that kind of commitment or to move in together right now.
So, are my friends and I the norm? Do the majority of divorced people over 50 shy away from second marriage?
There are countless statistics about divorce and second marriage over 50. Let’s start with divorce. According to The Pew Research Center, divorce over 50 (also known as “gray divorce”) is on the rise, with the divorce rate in this age group doubling since the 1990’s. But remarriage is also on the rise for men and women over 50 in the US. In recent years, 67% of men and women aged 55-64 remarried, up 55% from 1960.
The case for second marriage over 50 is strong. There are tax benefits, insurance benefits, and social security and pension plan benefits. Also, God forbid one person gets sick and/or is hospitalized, the other person can make medical decisions that someone who is just a girlfriend or boyfriend cannot.
There are also reasons why someone would want to get remarried over 50 that have nothing to do with practicality, but rather with the beauty of tradition. In my opinion, there is something deep and meaningful about standing up in front of a crowd of family and friends, saying vows of commitment to each other, and promising to love and cherish each other, especially through the difficulties that can come with aging.
So, why wouldn’t someone want to tie the knot again? The case for staying legally single is also pretty compelling. There’s the “been there done that,” attitude, where the mindset is that marriage wasn’t a particularly great experience and there’s no need to do it again. Also, many people think there is no need to get married if you aren’t planning to have more children. People also don’t want the stress of blending families—even if the kids are older. In other words, the Brady Bunch mentality doesn’t appeal to them. And then there’s money. Anyone who is divorced will tell you that the stress of possibly comingling finances again can be overwhelming, no matter how much you trust someone. Even with a prenup, marriage can feel scary in this regard.
I think the decision to get remarried is entirely personal, every situation is unique, and that there are so many factors to consider. In my opinion, what’s most important in a relationship after marriage is happiness.
1. Does this person make me happy?
2. Does he or she respect me and vice versa?
3. Do we have fun together?
4. Is this relationship easy?
5. Do I like him or her?
6. Do I adore him or her?
7. Do I like myself with him or her?
8. Do I trust him or her?
9. Would I take care of him or her in sickness and vice versa?
10. Do I want to grow old with him or her?
If you can answer yes to all of these, than you are with the right person, whether you have a ring on your finger or not.
Like this post? Check out, “Is He Second Marriage Material? 10 Questions To Ask Yourself”