In my experiences on dating websites, I have run across many divorced women, and it has always sent up a small hazard flag. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about second or third chances, but I think the real question that underlines my hesitation, is how many chances should someone be given before they are considered relationship challenged? At what number of failed relationships/marriages, is a person no longer able to call it bad luck, and should admit to themselves that the problem might be them.
If we looked at a few of the most infamous collectors of marriages, we would have to include Zsa Zsa Gabor and her nine husbands, Mickey Rooney and his eight wives, and Liz Taylor and her eight husbands, one of whom she married twice. If any of their exes from about the third one on up, actually thought they had a chance to make it to their 20 year Anniversary, they must have been wearing some pretty thick, rose-colored glasses.
Not to Date: Statistics
I am sure that I have ruffled some feathers of a few readers with that introduction, but I have brought some statistics to go along with my own experience. The Americans for Divorce Reform estimates that 40 to 50 percent of all married couples today, will not last the finality of their vows (“until death do us part”). These statistics are based on how trends appear to be headed, and don’t necessarily represent the current divorce rate, which is a bit lower. Now, if these couples decide to give it a second go, they will stand only a 40 to 33 percent chance of staying together, according to these estimates.
One popular myth among divorcées, is that previous failed relationships offer helpful learning experiences that will improve their chance of success the second or third time around. As it turns out, the chance of staying together in a third marriage is only 25 percent, which is not a whole lot better than your chances of escaping taxes or dying. It would thus appear that the third time is not the charm when it comes to a successful marriage.
More bad news from marriage counselors, suggests that out of the 25 percent of third marriages that do succeed, only about half of them are considered happy. Clearly, if you are concerned with the probability of finding a true, long-term relationship, staying away from two-time failures would appear to be your best chance. However, considering that we are animals of free will, and not just prisoners of statistics, there are three things I have found that you can do to put the chance of relationship success back into your court.
To Date: Suggestions to Improve Your Chances of Relationship Success
Get Help for Yourself Before Jumping into a New Relationship- I know from my own experience, that I have a few bad habits that have cost me several relationships. It was my realization of this that has enabled me to overcome them and become a better partner.
Enjoy the Present, Rather than Compare the Past- One of my favorite Hollywood quotes is, “If you dig up the past, all you get is dirty.” I think there is a lot of truth to this when it comes to relationships. People with a lot of unhealthy, relationship experiences, tend to focus on the bad points of their current relationships. In a sense, they are preoccupied with failure. A better idea is to take note of what’s good, and be proactive in thinking of solutions for the areas that need improvement.
When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Stay Together- While some relationships are toxic, others are just going through a rough spot (sex, money, health, depression, etc. A study of 5,232 couples who were considering divorce, found that those who decided to hang in there, were glad they did. What this study should remind you, is that many problems are caused by a situation, and not the person. Some people try to escape a bad situation in their life by removing their partner, without considering that once the issue was resolved, their relationship would also be restored back to its former glory.
To answer the title of this article, I do think that we need to be careful when dating people with multiple divorces under their belt. However, I also think that if the person is willing to look at themselves critically, and ask for help when it comes to approaching their upcoming relationships with a fresh perspective, they are worth the chance. With that said, anything beyond three or four marriages, and you’re playing Russian Roulette with a loaded pistol.