Second marriages work out differently depending on the circumstances which give rise to them and also depending on a number of factors about the husband and wife going into the second marriage.
Some sources state that 70% of second marriages end in divorce. (See Sources, below.)
If a man and woman have an affair, cheat on their wife / husband, divorce their partners and marry each other they clearly bring a lot of baggage to the second marriage. They may genuinely be soulmates. Or they may find the lust and infatuation of their affair wears off son after their wedding. There may be awkward relationships with children from the first marriages and with the ex-wife and ex-husband. Many factors combine to determine the quality of the new marriage.
Overall though, statistics on second marriages show that they have a higher failure rate than first marriages.
Studies show that 15% of second marriages end in divorce after 3 years and around 25% end in divorce after 5 years.
Research shows that second marriages are more likely to fail if:
the couple has a low income
the wife has poor educational achievement
the wife gave birth within 7 months of her first wedding
the wife is older than her husband
the couple live in the Northeast or Midwest
A second marriage is 44% more likely to fail after 10 years if the wife had children by her first husband, during her first marriage.
Age of Husband and Wife in Second Marriages
Age is an important factor in second marriage. A young couple may go into second marriage with relatively emotional ‘hangover’ from the first. If the couple are older though – say, in their late forties or fifties, they may have difficult emotional, financial and practical relationships with ex-wives and ex-husbands, children of their own and stepchildren. Since ex-wives and ex-husbands often continue to co-parent they remain essentially a co-parenting couple for life, though not a conjugal couple. This means they necessarily continue to have a relationship with the divorced partner, and very often where an ex-wife or -husband continues to be a factor in the daily life of the new married couple, there will be tension.
Children and Stepchildren in Second Marriages
Where children are brought into second marriages, they be unhappy, unstable or resentful of the new husband or wife. This is particularly likely where the new spouse was involved in breaking up the child’s family and hurting the parent who has now been left on his or her alone. Where both husband and wife in the second marriage bring children from the first, there are even more complex relationships and possible resentments to negotiate between step-siblings.There are also likely to be financial tensions in a second marriage where one or both partners have children from the first. Are the other spouse’s children costing more than mine? a new wife or husband may wonder. How should spending be organised and shared? How should wills and testaments be drawn up? If a remarried man with children leaves wealth to his new wife, isn’t he in the long run directing his wealth away from his children and towards hers? If he leaves his wealth to his children, will they turf their widowed stepmother out of her home one day? All these issues need to be considered and resolved. If not, then festering tensions can become corrosive in the second marriage. And while contact with ex-wives and -husbands can be kept to a businesslike minimum perhaps, the presence of young children will mean there must always be co-operation and communication between ex-spouses. Your new husband or wife for example, will always need to let his or her ex know his/her whereabouts in case a child falls ill or has an accident.
Blended Families and Second Marriages
Where partners in the second marriage are young, they may have children of their own. When they do – if they already have children from first marriages – they will need to address the complexity that comes from having step-siblings and half-siblings in the home. A chaotic mix can arise, of new children, children by previous spouses, step-children and half-siblings, the new husband and wife and the ex-husband and wife. How will everyone settle into the new family and find a role they’re comfortable with? How can fair treatment for each child be achieved? How can the new married couple cope with step-children who may live in the ex-partner’s home but visit the second marriage home to spend time with their half-sisters or half-brothers?
You’re His Ex-Wife; I’m His Wife
Tensions between a new spouse and the ex- can also be damaging. An ex-spouse may harbour anger and disappointment towards the partner who left the first marriage, particularly if there was infidelity and betrayal. The anger may easily extend to the second marriage partner and can cause anxiety and quarrelling in the second marriage. An unfaithful husband who leaves his wife, for example, may feel guilty about beraying her. If his second wife sense that guilt, she may in turn feel betrayed that her new husband’s loyalty isn’t a hundred per cent hers. Often there’s little understanding on the part of the second wife that the first wife has been badly hurt by her husband’s infidelity and divorce. The husband, caught between second wife and first, may feel bad if he helps his ex in any way – and equally bad if he doesn’t.
These are some of the issues involved in the success or failure of second marriages. It’s a complex issue. Second marriages are often built on disappointment following disloyalty and infidelity in the first marriage or built on guilt after cheating and abandoning the first spouse. Those who remarry after being betrayed will have their own problems with trusting again and these will often damage the second marriage. Those who marry after having an affair, or affairs, and hurting their first spouse badly may carry guilt into the second marriage. They may also have a general unwillingness to commit to a marriage and a tendency to look for affair partners outside marriage. There are plenty of factors complicating second marriage….
Sources, among others: