A rising divorce rate in American society makes the topic of remarriage more relevant than ever. On average, each person goes through one divorce and remarriage during their lifetime. But how many divorced couples remarry each other?
Scarce statistics of getting back together after divorce show that such cases occur under certain conditions, which we will explore below in this article.
Is Reconciliation After Divorce Possible?
After the adoption of a no-fault reform, the number of couples filing for divorce increased considerably. "Most of us are now free to walk away from our marital commitments more easily than from any other contract in our lives," notes W.J. Doherty, a family therapist and a professor at the University of Minnesota.
Each person has their own ideas about life after a wedding. And now, when divorce is practically commonplace, any slight misunderstanding can become a reason for breaking off relations. A lot of breakups occur because of hasty decisions and acting on impulse.
It would be a mistake to think that couples are not inclined to contemplate reuniting with a past love after divorce.
An Institute for American Values survey mentioned that 40% of divorcing couples are interested in their marriage restoration.
However, chances of reconciliation after divorce are lower for people aged 60 and older.
The Likelihood of Remarriage After Divorce
2015 US Census Bureau research discovered that people tend to remarry less often than they used to. The share of people who were married only once has decreased since the 1960s.
The number fell from 54% to 50% for men and women from 60% to 54%. Yet, the percentage of women who married twice and three times between 2008 and 2012 increased for ages 50-60.
The research also found a relationship between remarriage rates and age, race, and educational level.
Education plays a big part in the probability of remarriage. People with higher academic levels had only one marriage (64%). We can explain it by the fact that this social group delays their wedding in the first place.
Since they are more mature when entering a marriage, their union is more stable. As a result, they get divorced less often.
The survey showed that the likelihood of remarriage depends on race. For example, Asian men and women are less likely to have second and third marriages (5.6% probability) than the Non-Hispanic White population (15.6%).
Asian Americans have the lowest divorce rate among other races. It explains the lower likelihood of remarriage.
Turning to age, older adults remarry more often than younger people do. Moreover, men and women tend to have a different percentage in the same age groups. For example, men aged 25-29 have 1.7% of second marriages, while women – 3.1%. It is almost twice as much.
These figures grow with age. Between 40 and 49 years old, 16% of men have been married twice. For women aged 40-49, this number is slightly higher – 18.2%.
Why Divorcees Remarry Each Other?
The answer to this question is manifold. Statistics of reconciliation after divorce shows that the decision to reunite largely depends on the cause of separation.
But there are more severe circumstances that cause a family breakdown. The instances of divorced couples getting back together are not very numerous among those spouses who separated because of physical or mental violence. Research by Demie Kurz from the University of Pennsylvania revealed that 19% of marriages fall apart because of cruel treatment.
Below are the most common reasons for reconciliation after divorce.
Recognition of Past Mistakes
This reason is perhaps the most positive motive for reuniting after divorce. Let us look at some reasons that led to divorce but could be eliminated for the sake of reuniting.
Lack of Attention to Each Other’s Needs
If one of the spouses chronically lacks attention in marriage, it often leads to the relationship’s subsequent breakdown. Changing the way of communication can improve the situation considerably. As a British novelist Matt Dunn noted, "A relationship needs constant attention. It’s a living thing, not just a habit."
Mainly, it refers to the tight working schedule of one or both spouses. It often happens that a career becomes a number one priority after the wedding. Instead of spending time together as a family, people disappear day and night at work.
Ex partners who got back together after divorce usually change to less time-demanding jobs to have more time for each other.
Sometimes, only a major breakdown of a relationship can sober a person up and make them look at the situation differently. Getting rid of alcohol and drug addiction is not easy, but it is possible.
And those couples who have gone through this stage of the relationship can begin to rebuild their life together.
Couples with low income are at high risk of relationship breakdown. Regardless of all the positives in their marriage, they state that financial hardships are the primary source of their communication problems.
Such couples believe that a union could be successful only if both spouses have a steady job.
Studies show that divorce is more likely for people with a high school diploma or less (40%) vs. 15% for those with a BA. If a couple who ended their relationship because of money improves their finances, their odds of reconciliation become much higher.
Reconciliation for the Children’s Sake
A high percentage of divorced couples get back together because of children. Children reach 17 years old while their parents are still married in only 47% of US families, according to the report by the Marriage and Religion Research Institute.
Family disruption is very detrimental to children in many aspects: health, education, self-esteem. Children of divorced parents more often behave antisocially and experience a high level of anxiety.
Interestingly, these effects are more common for children who did not expect their parents to divorce, as studies show.
Couples who want to make up often resort to family counseling and should be in no hurry to move in together. "It’s important not to put too much pressure on yourself to make anything happen right away," suggests Dr. Claudia Grauf-Grounds, a family therapist and professor at Seattle Pacific University.
Although reuniting their parents is a dream come true for many children of divorce, they are not always ready for the lightning-fast development of events.
Improvement of Finances
After divorce or separation, each spouse experiences a decrease in income. A study by G. Duncan and S. Hoffman shows that women’s economic situation is worse than men’s.
In the first year following a divorce, women receive only 70% of their previous income. In five years, this figure slightly grows to 71%. Women with children spend more time off work, which affects their revenue.
As for men, they also suffer a decline in income, but this deterioration is milder compared to their ex-wives. Mostly, their finances are affected by alimony and child support payments. Besides, they do not need to provide the same level of life for their former family.
The financial situation usually improves after remarriage. The assets of spouses merge. Plus, they move in together and split the rental costs. The spouses may enroll in family insurance plans that are usually less expensive than for singles. Married couples also pay fewer taxes when they file joint tax returns.
Lack of Suitable Partners
One of the other reasons for remarrying your ex-spouse can be the lack of satisfactory partners in your area and age group. Divorced women experience more hardships than men when looking for meaningful relationships after divorce.
A UCLA professor of sociology Megan Sweeney believes that it’s because "Socially defined attractiveness generally declines more rapidly with age for women than for men."
Contrary to this information, Dr. Sweeney found in her research that 70% of women were the initiator of divorce, while only 53% wanted to break up. She believes that women feel more anxious about the mediocre quality of relationships and do not want to put up with inconveniences.
After a futile search for a soul mate, people sometimes return to their former spouses. They look for that sense of comfort and familiarity that they experienced during the best times of their marriage.
Plus, it’s a universal psychological rule that people feel safe around things or other people they already know.
Over the years, many couples accumulate tons of pleasant memories and insider jokes that no one else can appreciate. The inability to find a new partner who will understand them and forgive their faults makes many couples reunite to experience forgotten positive emotions again.
How Strong are Reunited Couples?
Second marriages between the ex-partners are more resilient than the first ones. The National Center for Health Statistics data shows that about 28-33% of remarriages end up in divorce, compared to 40% of first marriages.
The longevity of newly restored relationships depends on the reasons for the break-ups and whether they were fixed. If, for example, the spouses broke up due to domestic violence and the guilty spouse returns to old habits, then a second divorce is inevitable.
To ensure the success and greater vitality of remarriage, spouses can resort to the following methods.
Create Time for Each Other
Lack of quality time spent together often leads to a marriage failure. A couple should spend more time together and fulfill other obligations in the remaining time to sustain a healthy relationship.
"There are three main ways to make time for your partnership. You have to make time to talk, time to date, and time to connect physically," thinks a family therapist Adam Maurer.
Be Open to Communication
One of the main problems in any marriage is the lack of effective communication. Spouses need to be open and discuss any misunderstandings that arise, preventing them from accumulating negative emotions.
Learn to Take Responsibility
Admitting your mistakes in front of others is not a weakness. It is an effective way to defuse conflict. John M. Gottman, a marriage and divorce researcher, believes that "taking responsibility — even for a small part of the problem in communication — presents the opportunity for great repair."
Just because the first time things didn’t go well does not mean it could happen again. Now that both spouses have rethought past relationships and corrected mistakes, they can move forward and build a more meaningful and supportive relationship.