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Cathy Meyer

Why Do Second and Third Marriages Fail?

By September 12, 2012

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I guess the question could include fourth and fifth marriages but that is thinking way too far ahead for me. And I don't like what it says about attitudes about marriage. If you can't get it right the first, second or third time it may be time to think long and hard about a fourth or fifth time.

I chose not to remarry. The choice wasn't out of fear of failing again. I just happened to like being single once given the opportunity to try it on for size. I'll be honest; I don't know why anyone who has gone through a divorce would choose to marry again.

Since they do and statistics suggest divorce rates are higher for those who remarry it is worth taking a look at why.

Baggage: When people divorce and do not take the opportunity to learn from their divorce they take all their crud and beliefs about relationships into their next marriage. If you were cheated on you may take your dented ability to trust into the new marriage. Hurts, low self-esteem, anger it all needs to be handled beforehand if remarriage is going to have a chance.

Commitment Issues: Urbandictionary.com defines commitment as; "sticking with something long after the mood you have said it in has left you." Some folks don't have the ability to stick with a marriage once the "mood" is no longer there. Any sign of trouble and they bale. Maybe an attribute I would assign to those who have been married four or five times.

Consistent Failure: If you meet someone who has failed in business, has failed familial relationships, is someone who seems to have a losing streak a mile long, you may want to think twice before marrying them. Yes, I understand that some people just have bad look, that it is not a character flaw. BUT, some people are forever victims of "circumstances beyond their control." It's these people who go from one marriage to the next.

Rushing into Marriage: Rebound relationships that end in marriage are less likely to succeed if your relationship last a year or longer before remarriage. Men marry too quickly after a divorce because they don't like being alone. Women remarry too quickly because they desire financial security. Two very bad reasons to rush from one marriage to another.

Blending Families: Step-children, step-mother, step-father, all these roles bring challenges that can be hard to overcome. It takes a lot of work to build a bond and trust is a blended family. Some people aren't up for the challenge; some children aren't interested in building bonds and trust with a step-parent.

September 17, 2012 at 1:49 pm
(1) patricia (@pppatticake) says:

there’s also the unstated reason that narcissists are predators who very often purposefully target people who are vulnerable, with recently divorced single parents often being their prime target to exploit. These people tend to think that you will stay and put up with their malignant personalities BECAUSE you have already been divorced. I belong to a support group of men and women who have had their lives decimated by being targeted by Narcissists–we grew from 1K to 6k members in a few short months–the number of people to whom this happens is staggering. Most of the incidences we read daily about of men who have killed their spouse and families are classic Narcissists. Unfortunately, the court system is a dysfunctional one where the disordered bullying of Narcissists is enabled and so it increases until we have this incredible surge in post break up murderous violence.

September 17, 2012 at 1:50 pm
(2) Rick R says:

You are right, I just don’t think god made us to be alone, but spending some time alone is good, its hard, but I cant take the pain of loss again and again, it hurts…but your write up is spot on…

September 17, 2012 at 2:30 pm
(3) francesa says:

I understand your point of view. However, the point of failure and mistakes is to learn from them and grow. As humans we are pack animals. We need companionship and closeness with other humans. Marriage and bonding is a natural need. I am disappointed that one set back (i.e. a failed marriage) would lead the author to deduce that she is puzzled by other’s need and desire to remarry. It is true that rebound marriage and relationship is not a healthy path. But I would not give up on marriage because the first one was not perfect. Keep working on yourself, improving for you and your children and you will find a mate who is also working on improving and growing and interested in a healthy second marriage!

September 18, 2012 at 10:59 am
(4) Diane says:

I too am puzzled as to why a failed marriage means the author thinks it is puzzling not to remarry. i think the key is finding someone who shares similar interests, has spent time alone and is trying to learn and grow and has focused on self improvement. Also faith in God leads some to feel remarriage solidifies the bond. Also, a desire for children is a cause for marriage.

I have been divorced for four years and have been dating my boyfriend for almost a year. We are planning to remarry in two years. I have three children who enjoy being with him and he does not have any. We plan on having a baby together after marriage. I know him better than I knew my ex husband and we talk about everything. Even cleaning together is fun with him. We are taking our time, going to counseling and taking seminars on heathy relationships and communication. When we fight afterwards we feel we have learned more about each other and are more in love. We are committed and will not bale even if things are tough. Yes i know my experience is rare but it does happen.

September 18, 2012 at 6:21 pm
(5) Diana says:

I am in the midst of my second divorce. Looking back, I wish I had never re-married the second time around. I love men, love the companionship, friendship, but clearly I wasn’t ready for the second time around. My husband and I are parting on friendly terms (if there is such a thing), but I doubt I will ever remarry again. Lesson learned. I am not saying I won’t be in a relationship, but I don’t believe I will ever be married again. I am over 50, self confident, financially comfortable. So, I am going to live life…travel…enjoy family and friends.

November 18, 2012 at 6:27 am
(6) Grom says:

I love him because he is a woedurfnl man that is trying so hard to love the Lord first, with all of his heart, and love me second. He tries so hard every day and always makes me feel incredibly blessed.

February 16, 2013 at 7:59 am
(7) Charles says:

Well it looks to me that .as far as marriage goes .YOU GET ONE KICK AT “THAT” CAN…

March 6, 2013 at 12:27 am
(8) Marie says:

The reason why there are so many many failed marriages is because in your country you are allowed to fail it and there is a way out you called divorce. In our country, the Philippines there is no divorce. There is annulment but that also cost much money. Since many can’t afford it, couples stay together even in rough circumstances. Many do separate but most here do try to make marriage work. Getting out of marriage here is not easy. Unless one marries somebody who is so bad, one really has to make it work. Families here frown on divorce, separation and annulment. It will usually bring families big shame. We have a society who still big on honor and our religion, which is mostly catholic together with our law doesn’t allow it. In your country there is too much freedom on everything.

March 9, 2013 at 7:58 pm
(9) Irish/Canadian says:

It is true that people walk out too soon That is the Downside to living in The States/Canada for instance ..BUT..On the other hand as in the Phillippines people stick it out in a bad marriage and for some it works BUT can you imagine the ones where it does NOT work ..OMG Hell on earth..Especially if there are kids involved..So it makes you wonder which is better ..doesnt it ?? I really think overall that the north american way (Faults and all) has the edge….I was raised in “Holy” Catholic Ireland ..NO DIVORCE PERIOD..My poor Mother went through hell with my Dad..(.BOOZE ) .No birth control ..NO DIVORCE.No Escape…Again i do think Divorce availability has the EDGE..

May 19, 2013 at 12:41 pm
(10) anonmymous says:

So true about narcissist. I heard of a Jamaican woman who is a fundraiser manipulated a white man she met by chance and not even 6 months later, they got married and she manipulated him buying her dream house with her lies and charm, claiming she had no money from her ex black husbands. Not even after her divorce from him, she is married once again to another schmuck (latino) to help pay her mortgage from the house she conned from her third ex. A true Jamaican evil woman who just marry men for the hell of it .

May 22, 2013 at 11:48 am
(11) Rafael says:

Well I was my ex-wifes second husband. after 8 years of marriage she cheated on me with a man 16 years older than me. After 9 months of nightmare trying to salvage it for my 3 year ol son I did filed for divorce. Later I did found out that she cheated on her first husband too (not with me), had a kid with her lover, left him and now its working in her 4th mariage draging two kids now behind for the ride. Always had a man in the hopper waiting and married her 4th husband after 6 months of dating.
Anyways to my question. I have not re-married, I was engaged but I lost her to breast cancer. Given the emotional and monetary consequences of a legal binding marriage I will never do that again. I have learned from that mistake and will ntot put myself in a situation again that could lead me to that path. I do believe in what marriage stands for, but I dont want to go thru the same nightmare again, so what other alternatives there are other than staying single?

May 22, 2013 at 11:53 am
(12) Rafael says:

Oh I forgot, my ex-wife its a nice church going, bible studying woman. She was during our marriage, her adultery and now still does while married to her 4th husband. I guess it is just like the image of a good hosewife, homemaker, familly values image that she created for her self

June 9, 2013 at 5:51 am
(13) xyc says:

When someone says they will not get married again after a divorce are they saying that they will not sleep with anyone again or just not get married again?

June 30, 2013 at 6:18 pm
(14) Martha says:

Rushing into Marriage: Rebound relationships that end in marriage are less likely to succeed if your relationship last a year or longer before remarriage – What does this statement mean?

July 2, 2013 at 11:25 am
(15) Grace says:

My husband left me out of inferiority complex…I loved him and I still love him I am not sure if I want to re marry again though I am scared of being sing
le and lonely at my old age

July 4, 2013 at 8:51 pm
(16) Anonymous says:

The first marriage was legally divorced and the second marriage is not
registered as per law. What is the rule in india if a second marriage which is not registered fails? Is a legal divorce still required as the marriage was just 6months ago. Please advice

August 16, 2013 at 12:25 pm
(17) Amber says:

I think the divorce rate and marriage rates are inconsistent across all countries. I have noticed that the age of the persons getting married is more consistent with divorce rates. The younger people are when they get married seems to be a greater factor in most divorce rates. As compared to people who get married after the age of 30. This seems to be true for 1st and 2nd marriages. The younger you are at the time of the marriage less than 30 yrs of age the greater the odds are that you will divorce. I believe the reason for this is at age 20 your brain and personality are still developing, at age 25 you are still not matured emotionally but by age 30 you have not only figured out who you are but you are mature enough to know what you want in a relationship and partner. As for 3rd, 4th and 5th marriages it seems to be a personality issue. 3rd marriages tend to last longer if the 1st and 2nd marriage took place before the person was 30 yrs of age. 4th and 5th marriages seems to be less likely to last due to emotional issues of the person. However what I have found to be true for all marriages of my patients is this, is people tend to settle for what is right in front of them instead of waiting for the right person to come along. People are so eager to pair with someone that they (in the beginning) are more accepting of the other persons flaws. Then in the long term aspect the character flaws are too much to live with. Successful marriage has more to do with pairing with the right person. Personality, values, and interests that are shared among two people are better tools for determining if a marriage will last than age. This seems to be true for all marriages 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5. Settling for what you have and not seeking what you really want in a spouse is the downfall.

November 20, 2013 at 1:18 am
(18) John says:

The question is “Why Do Second and Third Marriages Fail?” Well, they usually fail for the same reason the first marriage failed. I see that others question the author as to why she has chosen not to remarry. My question for myself or anyone reading this is pretty simple. If you’re not ready to be a single and healthy individual, then you’re not ready for marriage let alone a relationship based upon getting your needs filled. Many will marry because of sex and others because they don’t like feeling lonely. These are not the foundations for a strong healthy relationship. I too am divorced at this time and I am choosing not to remarry because there is some freedom in being single and I don’t “need” someone else to make me feel whole. That’s not to say I am opposed to ever getting married again, I just don’t have feel I “need ” to.

December 4, 2013 at 9:35 am
(19) LaTonuga says:

My ex is getting remarried. His fiance’e tracked me down on face book to tell me before he could. He won’t introduce us…why I don’t know. Anyway He told my children this weekend, but they already knew because I told them. The really don’t care.

They are 9/7. since he has introduced 7 females in 4 yrs to them …they are very bright and see it as another fail.

I actually wished them the best, because after 24 yrs of marriage and no single life… I like being single….and trust me it is not for sex… I do my best work alone lol.

Anyway, I am praying for him, that is my attitude right now. I did my best, it was not good enough, so someone else can have that headache.

But if I was to remarry it would be him…only because I am the only one right now who understands him…… weird but true.

January 23, 2014 at 1:10 am
(20) Anonymous says:

Looking at life again. Stepfather a never married age 28 marries my mother, nine years older than him. I am her only child age 12 with dead-beat dad. Within a year, the marriage is in trouble. My fault –they were both kind of narcissist but she had some borderline stuff going. They were each other’s Golden Child. No pretense that we were ever going to be a family. I live with this couple for three school years, no summers, two school years outplaced. Then I am free. Five years later, I am 22, they divorce. Forty years later, I finallyh realize they were narcissist, borderline/narcissist. That my mother was his mamma too, that I was the scapegoat for their ever-failing marriage, that she was jealous of me having a relationship with him and even with her own grandparents (my perennial babysitters). But I have always been POLITE. And why not, I just wanted out of the drama. But he walked into our lives, ruined the parent-child relationship, damaged my mother very badly and left her basically childless, shamed, bitter and a lesbian. Of the four, being seen as a failure was the worst for her. I left her alone with her guilt and shame because I could never trust her. Now she is 90 and I am 66 and the past keeps rolling on and always will. However, we can pretend to be normal and we do! But we do and I have learned that you always hate the person who makes you feel guilty.

February 10, 2014 at 12:17 am
(21) LILIAN says:

After my break up, I sat in my bed all day, every day. I cried constantly I actually started to Google ways to get over a broken heart, and thatís when I found your email I just wanted to thank you so much for your help. It has gotten me through a lot, and I appreciate it immensely thank you for bringing my husband back to me and our kids thank you drlawrencespelltemple@hotmail. com you are truly a blessing.

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