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The Demographics of Second Marriages and the Indicators of Success

If you’ve been divorced, you understand how terrifying it is to consider a new relationship. Add to that the idea of getting married again and you may be even more hesitant. But there are circumstances where a second marriage can achieve the relationship satisfaction that you were unable to get the first time around. Looking at the demographics, you can get an idea of who is likely to be married a second time and the key indicators of success. 

55 and Older

According to a Pew Research Center survey, adults between the ages of 55 and 64 are the largest group to marry again after a divorce or losing a spouse. Younger generations are less likely to get remarried today, which is a very different family landscape than 60 years ago. While we want to focus on remarriage, we are also interested in the number of people cohabitating. The law is very different for those who didn’t choose to enter into marriage, and that number is also on the rise. 

More Men than Women

Pew’s study also indicated a fairly substantial gender gap for the likelihood to get remarried. More men than women embark on second, or even third marriages. In 1960, 75% of men were more likely to get remarried but only 45% of women. The gap still exists, but it’s narrowed. When Pew conducted their survey six years ago, the number of women had risen to 52% while men dropped to 67%. 

Serial Remarriage

While we are focused on the success of second marriages, there is also the phenomenon of serial remarriage. These are people who have been married more than twice. When the Pew survey was conducted, 29% said they had been married at least once before but 8% said they had been married two or three times prior. It’s not surprising to see a correlation with age for this demographic as well, with those 55 and over more likely to get married more than twice. 

Skills for Success

While all of this is an interesting look at who is more likely to remarry, it doesn’t necessarily point to the success of a second marriage. What’s more important are the skills learned throughout a lifetime to make new relationships work. 
An article updated last year in Divorce Magazine provides 10 skills that predict success in a second marriage: 

  1. Avoid criticizing
  2. Engage in post-conflict repair
  3. Don’t attack or call them names
  4. Increase physical affection
  5. Find shared interests
  6. Focus on positive qualities
  7. Express vulnerability 
  8. Be accountable
  9. Don’t hold a grudge
  10. Apologize and forgive