Statistics on US divorce rates vary wildly, from under 35% to over 125%, depending on which source you look at and how annoyed you are with your spouse at the moment. But, no matter how you slice it, Baby Boomers are getting divorced at a higher rate than their parents’ generation. One source quotes the rate as three times as high. Some experts attribute our higher divorce rate to the much greater expectations and opportunities that we have than our parents ever did.
Parents of the oldest group of Boomers had to deal with pesky issues like the Depression and World War II, so maybe they weren’t focused on who was taking out the trash more times than the other. Another reason for divorce increase is that people are living longer. The Census Bureau reports that in 2008, one-fourth of new divorces took place in marriages of over 20 years. The same year, almost 51 percent of all divorced (but not remarried) people were Boomers. If you are miserable after 20 years of marriage, and your life expectancy is, say, 50, you are probably too busy checking your blood pressure than worrying about whether you are happy. But if your life expectancy is 85, you could get seriously depressed at the thought of spending the next 35 years with someone who spends all of his leisure time watching McHale’s Navy reruns.
The important point to all of this is if you are a Boomer and you are divorced and are considering remarrying, you’ll want to know what makes a second (or third, or whatever number) marriage successful (that is, aside from marrying someone who lives on the opposite coast and just sends you large checks each month). And the answer, you might not be surprised to know, is that the same factors that make a good first marriage, will make a good subsequent marriage. Try as we might, we just can’t get away from those boring issues like communication, commitment, and equality.
So, if you had an issue with any of those in your first marriage, know that they won’t go away in your second unless you are prepared to choose differently, behave differently, and/or experience differently. Otherwise, you might start competing with Linda Wolfe. She’s been married 23 times and is still looking for Mr. Right. Considering a relationship with Linda, any man in his right mind might choose to be Mr. Left, instead.