Another Spin of the Roulette Wheel of Romance

A vast majority of the men and women who divorce remarry within three years and as they walk down the aisle toward the altar these men and women brings with the wisdom of experience that gives them an advantage first-time couples do not have. These battle-scarred veterans, the conventional wisdom holds, have learned from their mistakes; they are “older and wiser.” This time, the promised land is in sight because she has found Mr. Right or he has found Mrs. Wonderful. So goes the conventional wisdom. Alas, the conventional wisdom is wrong: about 60 percent of all second marriages end on the rocks — a rate even higher than first marriages.

The odds are poorer for that second (or third) spin of the roulette wheel of romance for a number of reasons. Sometimes, divorced people, reeling from the pain and suffering of a failed first marriage, jump into a second, rebound marriage, and in a surprising number of cases, marry a person who is very much like the person just divorced. This puzzles their friends who see the similarities that escape the betrothed. When he asked why he always married small Mexican woman who looked (and acted) very much alike, the actor John Wayne said, “You pick your poison. I’ll pick mine.”

Hope springs eternal, but leaping into a second marriage without figuring out why first failed is like NASA firing a new rocket before finding out why the last one exploded. Instead of honest soul searching that includes an honest inventory of vices and virtues, people become convinced that the marital promised land includes a Mr. Right or Mrs. Wonderful who is everything (good) the first partner was not.

Second (and subsequent) marriages mean the unfinished business of first marriage (or previous) marriage — children. And partners drawn from a pool of people whose first marriage (or previous) marriage ended on the rocks. That means stepchildren and stepparenting. And second (and subsequent) marriages mean pinched finances. These can be overcome, of course, but climb is often steeper, and the plunge more often fatal.

Comments are closed.