Are Second Marriages at Greater Risk of Divorce?

Woman giving her marriage ring back to her husband, divorce

The divorce rate for second marriages is higher than that of first marriages. In the U.S., about 50% of first marriages and 67% of second marriages end in divorce.

Why Second Marriages Are More Likely to End in Divorce

Familiarity With the Divorce Processes

If someone has been through a divorce before and knows he or she can manage the life-altering ordeal, that person may be less terrified of going through the process again. If things get tough, spouses with divorce experience may be more inclined to quit at the first sign of trouble.

Making Hasty Decisions

Some people marry a second time to avoid feeling lonely. Others do so to return to familiar dynamics. Reentering into coupledom without giving oneself enough time to heal, grow from the experience, or think things through can set up a marriage for failure. The relationship may start to fizzle once infatuation wanes.

Children are the Common Glue

Children act as the common glue in many first marriages. When things get rough, couples often try to work things out or sacrifice their own happiness for the sake of their children. Many subsequent marriages lack that common binding agent because they do not produce children. Additionally, parents who remarry may have to shuttle existing children to and from exes’ houses. This can complicate family schedules. In some cases, children may harbor resentment for their step-parent, putting a strain on the relationship.

The Exes

Some ex-spouses are happy to see their ex get married, especially if it could reduce alimony and child support payments and result in fewer legal motions. Some ex’s, however, may try to sabotage a new marriage. They may file legal motions long after the divorce is final or lobby the children against the new spouse. This creates financial or emotional tension for the new couple.

Financial Issues

Money is already a top issue for many couples, but it becomes even more troublesome in second marriages. Many individuals enter second marriages with more financial assets than they had in their prior marriages. They may also have independent financial goals that they may not be willing to change when they remarry. In addition, spouses may feel resentful about money going out to their new partner's first spouse and children, especially when money is tight.

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