I often point to the current high divorce rates as evidence of human beings not being creatures capable of, or even desirous of, absolute long-term monogamy, vastly preferring short-term monogamy and/or temporary marriages instead. Usually I refer to either the “standard” divorce rate most often quoted, which is “50%”, or another figure which is more reflective of people who live in major cities, or suburbs close to these cities, which is usually around 63-65% in the US and Europe.

A while back I promised that I would make a blog post that would really get into the details of these divorce stats, since there’s a lot of confusion about these. Today is the day we get into the numbers to see what’s really going on.

Looking Beyond The Numbers

The stats are important, and paint an important picture. However they don’t tell the entire story. You can’t just point at a stat and say “See??? There you go!”. You often have to stop and think things through a little bit once you have the numbers. I admit that I myself have fallen into this trap, usually because I’m making a brief response on a blog comment or forum somewhere, and don’t want write three paragraphs explaining the deeper nuances of the numbers I’m using.

I’ll give you an example of what I’m talking about. Current statistics from right-wing Christian sources report that one out of three who have been married have also been divorced. A pro-marriage or pro-monogamy person could point at that and say “See??? The divorce rate is only 33%!”

First of all, even if that’s true, which I will demonstrate in a moment it’s not, 33% is still really terrible. I discuss that in item number 37 right here.

The reality is that looking at that one stat doesn’t tell the true story. Far more than one out of three people get divorced. Why? Because:

1. That stat doesn’t take into account the number of adults who have never been married or haven’t been married yet. As I’ll be showing you in a minute, that’s a hell of a lot of people.

2. That stat doesn’t take into account people currently married who haven’t divorced their spouses yet, but who will at some point in the next few decades. Which again, as I will show in a minute, is a titanic number of people, both numerically and in terms of percentages.

Add those two together, and now that 33% figure is suddenly way off. As in, way too low.

Your risk of divorce is not about whether or not you’ve been divorced yet. Rather, it’s based around the odds of you ever getting divorced at any point throughout your entire lifespan. I’m talking about the odds of you getting divorced, even once, at any time, from age 18 to 82, which is the average life expectancy of someone in the Western world.

That’s 64 friggin’ years, dude. That’s a hell of a long time in which you risk divorce. If you get divorced at any time in those 64 years, congratulations, you become a statistic, and yet more evidence that humans are not long-term monogamous creatures.

Therefore, some stat that shows a bunch of people in their 20s or early 30s who haven’t been divorced yet is not indicative of a) the prevalence of divorce in our society or b) your odds of getting divorced if/when you get legally married.

The point is that often you have to pause and think past the numbers you’re given, not glance at a number and immediately assume the message you want that number to tell.

What Divorce “Rate” Means

Talking about the “divorce rate” is tricky, because the often quoted “standard” divorce rate of “50%” is what’s called the “divorce to marriage ratio”. It’s not actually the divorce rate. It’s the ratio of marriages to divorces in a given country that occur within a given individual year. As you might imagine, that really doesn’t tell you much. In fact, whatever that number is for any given country is artificially low, since again, the relevant number is the possible occurrence of a divorce over 64 years, not just one year.

Therefore, if the annual divorce to marriage ratio in the United States is 50% (and the exact figure varies based on the study or source; often it’s around 47%), then that means you have a 50% risk of divorce every year (not exactly; I’ll explain in a minute).

So you get married at age 35 and think you’re smart for waiting that long. In your first year, you have a 50% risk of divorce. After the year comes and goes, you made it! You’re still married! But wait a minute, you have another year coming up, and another 50% chance of divorce. If you live to age 82, your marriage needs to survive another 46 years of this in order for you to NEVER have a divorce. See how low your odds really are?

The numbers and the math do not work out exactly as I just described; those preceding two paragraphs are just as an illustration. Regardless, my overall point stands: the real “divorce rate” is much, much higher than the annual divorce to marriage ratio reports.

Key Divorce Statistics

Here are a few recent stats, listed in no particular order (though I saved my favorite for last). Instead of filling this article with a bunch of ugly links, the sources for all the stats described are listed here if you want to read further: Source1, Source2, Source3, Source4, Source5, Source6, Source7, Source8, Source9, Source10, Source11, Source12, Source13, Source14, and Source15.

Okay, here we go:

1. Whenever you see “divorce rate declining” articles, this means the numerical amount of divorces per capita is indeed decreasing, but only because less people are getting married (choosing to cohabit instead), more people are getting married later in life, and women make more money and get more free stuff from government, thereby not needing to marry a man like they used to.

To illustrate, the median age of a man getting married is now 28, but in 1950 it was 23. This means you have less people between 23 and 28 getting divorced, since they’re not married yet. The real story is that the rate of people actually getting divorced once they get married is actually increasing, especially for people over 40. For example…

2. Demographers say that based on recent census reports, the increase in divorce with people who actually get married is real and continues to “point in that direction”, with 2009 numbers showing a roughly 46% increase in more recently married couples failing to reach their 25th wedding anniversary.

That’s right. Even though everyone is saying the divorce rate is declining, it’s actually increasing. Aren’t numbers fun?

3. 46 percent of children in England will see their parents divorce by age 16. Yikes! Remember that the next time you hear someone try to use the “monogamy is the best way to raise kids” argument.

4. As I’ve said before, people married a very long time ago have much lower divorce rates. Roughly 75 percent of those who have been married since 1990 reported they had reached their 10-year anniversary. That’s still pretty damn bad, but still much better than average people who get divorced today. This is why you can’t say, “Well, it worked for my parents/grandparents!” Very different people, with very different Societal Programming, married in a very different time.

This means that if you’ve been married in the last few years, or get married at any time after you read this article, your risk of divorce is much higher than that of your parents or grandparents.

5. The average length of time for a marriage before divorce is seven years. Yes, the famous “seven year itch” is real…sort of. That seven year time frame is an average, mostly caused by a huge spike in divorces at three years (what have I always said about monogamy’s three year time span?), five years, and ten years.

The five years thing is a result of people “sticking it out” and “trying to make it work” after the three-year mark of monogamy death. At three years the relationship peters out, but people try to stick it out for another two years before finally divorcing. Married couples are also cranking out babies during these time frames, so that’s also a factor in this slight divorce delay. People get “baby NRE” or try to stick things out for the “good of the kids.”

The ten years thing is because of women taking advantage of insane alimony laws. In many places (such as California), if your wife divorces you after ten years, you have to pay her alimony forever. So if she hates you at seven years, she just waits three more years and then divorces your ass. Then she sails off into the sunset, set for life. (And you’re fucked for life.) Hence the huge spike in divorces right after the ten year mark in these municipalities.

6. Here’s one that surprised me. Despite the increase in divorce and decrease in marriages, the frequency of remarriage has not changed much. That means people who get divorced are still dumbasses and still get remarried, usually without prenuptial agreements. About 18 percent of men and 16 percent of women born from 1940-1944 had been married two or more times by age 40, not statistically different from those born in 1960-1964 who had remarried by age 40.

Less than 20% of people who get married a second time get a prenuptial agreement, even though the divorce rate is higher for second marriages than for first marriages.

In other words, people are still complete and utter morons when it comes to marriage. Honestly, how insanely stupid do you have to be to get financially raped in a divorce, then go get married again without a prenup?

Disney still reigns supreme. Walt would be proud.

7. Less women divorce their husbands during bad economic times. During good economic times, more women dump their hubbies. Why? They can afford to, so they do it. Ah, monogamy.

8. For women under 40, the more money she makes, the less likely she is to get married. This is especially true if she has a sudden increase in income.

9. People are suddenly four times more likely to get divorced if they win the lottery. Hm…

The preceding three stats show you the real reason why many wives stay with their husbands. Hint: it’s not because they like being married.

10. Okay, I saved the biggest and most important stat for last, the biggie that I consider a game-changer. That’s the topic of “grey divorce”, when people get divorced over the age of 50. The number of people getting divorced past age 50 has quadrupled since 1990. Divorces with people over the age of 50 (and 40) are at all-time, historic highs all over the Western world, and the rate is still increasing. To quote one of the above sources,

These findings suggest an important shift in our thinking about marital stability. Divorce rates have been going up and it’s happening among couples well into their later years. Some of these divorces are among second marriages, but more long-term marriages are also breaking up.

As usual, most of these divorces are initiated by the wife, not the husband. Check out this woman bragging about how she divorced her husband right before she turned 50.

The reasons the experts are giving are because of increased lifespan and lifestyle-enhancing drugs like Viagra and Lipitor. My theory is much more simple. As I’ve said many times before, old people are looking better and better. As long as they don’t gain weight (and I realize that’s a big “if”), more and more women in their 40s and even 50s are looking pretty good. Just look at the picture of the 50 year-old woman who dumped her husband. She looks damn good for 50.

And that’s my point. If you’re 50+ married woman and you’re fat, wrinkly, hunched over, with grey hair and saggy boobs, you’re probably not going to dump your husband no matter how bored you are or how irritated you become. You know finding a new hubby will be damn near impossible. But! If you’re 50+ and reasonably trim, have nice black or blonde hair, have had some surgical work done, and look 10 or 15 years younger than women your age did a few decades ago, divorcing your husband is no problem at all. You can dump his ass, get some free money, go be a cougar and fuck some eager younger men for a while, then scoop up another beta provider husband whenever you want. Add to that all the usual free government money, food, healthcare, housing, etc, women can and do get these days, and boom, you’re covered, baby. It’s a great deal (for you).

The reasons for older people to stay married just aren’t there any more.

That’s why this problem is going to get worse, as I predicted a long time ago. The better women (and men) look as they age, the less people are going to want to stay monogamous “forever.” (Not that they actually wanted it in the first place.)

This grey divorce thing is indeed a game-changer, folks. Everyone thinks that if you just make it to past ten years in your marriage or whatever, you’re in the clear and probably aren’t going to get divorced. No longer true. Even I used to think that the odds of marriage were much better for men and women over the age of 50. I’m going to have to revise that now.

No age is safe any more. Having a longer marriage doesn’t help. Being older doesn’t help. As that Radioactive song says, “Welcome to the new age.”

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again. Don’t get monogamous. Don’t ever expect long-term monogamy from a woman. Avoid legal marriage if possible. If you do get married, demand an enforceable prenuptial agreement or don’t do it. Love, cohabitation, and having kids do not require monogamy or legal marriage.

The saddest part is that despite all this data, people are still going to defend traditional monogamous marriage. Societal Programming is strong, facts be damned.

Oh well. Just give them a link to this article. Not that it will change their mind.

33 Comments on “Divorce Statistics

  1. @BD

    Awesome post. One of my favorite stats is that the bigger the income disparity between the husband and wife where the man earns more, the LESS likely she is to be unfaithful. BUT the bigger the income disparity between the husband and wife where the woman earns more the MORE likely the husband is to be unfaithful. 500% more likely in fact if he is solely dependent on her income (stay-at-home-dad).

    Pre-nup or no pre-nup, marriage is a fools errand.

    Dawson

  2. “Can you explain why David Beckam is still married when is he still good looking?

    Because his wife is smoking hot and of high value, not to mention they might actually like each other. But I dont know them. Lets see where they are at in 10-15 more years…

    This does beg a bigger question. Im a reformed serial monogamist. My whole life went from one to the next never settling on a shitty wife. Im in my mid 30’s, financially stable, and have a live in 23yo GF who really is a top tier woman, even at 23. So my question is this. Why my strong need for an at home one woman close companion? Its not scarcity or low security. I just really really wish is was possible to spend your life with just an awesome human. I, however, agree that this is statistically far fetched.

    This question is independent of monogamy. Something I havent promised to anyone in more than three years and never will again.

  3. Can you explain why David Beckam is still married when is he still good looking?

    There are many answers, but mine would be: Do you think David Beckam has been absolutely, 100% monogamous to Victoria the entire time? As in he’s has never cheated once in any way whatsoever?

    Why my strong need for an at home one woman close companion? Its not scarcity or low security. I just really really wish is was possible to spend your life with just an awesome human.

    Most of us have that same need, myself included. It’s biological and natural. As long as you A) don’t get monogamous and B) don’t plan on it lasting forever, then there’s no problem with it.

    however, agree that this is statistically far fetched.

    The only statistically far-fetched part is the relationship lasting forever in an absolutely monogamous state. Everything else you could possibly want is perfectly doable from a long-term female partner.

  4. Well done BD. I think it is very understandable that the 50 y/o set would be getting divorced more now. THink of a 55 year old, well off man, who is just retiring. He’s in good shape, his dick works well, his wife is a cow. He can divorce her sorry ass and move to a whole different community and live the life he always wanted.

    Another angle on the 50+ divorce stats is that the tax laws penalize married people. Sometimes you’re better off divorcing and using your singleness as a tax strategy.

    One last comment. Why the hell would anyone get married in California? Lifetime alimony? Thanks but no thanks.

  5. Great observation about what the divorce rate doesn’t mean- that alone makes the whole article. Unfortunately, you’re way off about what it does mean. 50% means half the number of marriages that occur that year, not half the number of married couples in existence that year. And your analysis there is very clearly contradicted by numbered items 4 and 5.

    Great article overall, except for that part. I wish you’d cite sources, though I myself have seen many of the stats you refer to. For a few of them though, I have to wonder if you’re just going off personal experience.

    Great points about how people aging better and living longer raises divorce rates. I’d add that divorce is also more accepted, and that people in the past were probably more likely to stay in an unhappy marriage due to social convention.

  6. 50% means half the number of marriages that occur that year, not half the number of married couples in existence that year.

    I said that.

    And your analysis there is very clearly contradicted by numbered items 4 and 5.

    No it doesn’t. Do the math. If you’re in your early 50s and got married in your late 20s, you likely would have been married on or after 1990.

    I wish you’d cite sources

    I did. There are 17 links in this blog post to the sources I used. Not sure how you missed those.

  7. The only source that I think is actually worth examining is the one from the census bureau.

    So while I don’t necessarily disagree with anything you’ve said here, I’m going to play devil’s advocate for a moment. What if the problem is not necessarily monogamy, it’s people entering, exiting and acting within relationships in stupid ways.

    Let’s take a hypothetical population of some western developed country.

    Let’s suppose that Group A (comprising 1/3 of population) get married and that within this group at least one partner cheats. Now some might be long-term cheaters. Some might have had only a few hookups here or there. And on the other face of it, some ppl in this group know their partner is cheating and turn a blind eye to it. Others have no clue and either never discover this, or only after a long time. Let’s even say that 70% of Group A ultimately get divorced.

    Of the ppl that stay married in this group, some may well be quite miserable, even though as a statistic they appear like a ‘success.’ Now others who were married to a ‘cheater’ and got out of the relationship, may have actually been quite happy during their time married, despite a few of the hookups of their partner. Overall, even though they are divorced, doesn’t mean they did not enjoy their life during this time period.

    Now let’s say Group B also get married, but in this group neither partner is cheating. They are truly monogamous. It may well be the case that Group B *as a sub-population* are on the whole LESS happy than Group A! These people might be bored, some might hate each other, some might be happily married, it’s somewhat of a crap-shoot. Let’s say 50% of this sub-group get divorced. I’d argue that the divorce statistic wouldn’t tell you at all which ppl in this group were happy during their time in the relationship and which ppl were not. Like group A it may actually be misleading.

    Let’s say there is Group C that never gets married, but expects to have a monogamous relationship. Within this group you still have the some of the cheating, pre-mature babies, drama, whatever of the other two groups. The major benefit of this group is that if the relationship ends, there’s not legally enforceable agreement between the two parties (aside from child support maybe).

    But a person from Group A who gets a solid pre-nup, files a parenting plan with the state, and who doesn’t co-own assets might actually be better off than the person in Group C who has a kid with his significant other and doesn’t do any of the above. Divorced dude from Group A with foresight might be much happier than loser dad in Group C.

    Ok, for sake of BD, there is group D which also doesn’t get married and is Poly. But in this group to be fair, you still have ppl making dumb choices regarding co-owning assets, having kids without the means, and getting involved with the wrong partners, etc.

    The real statistic to flush out if possible is how many of the people in these various groups are *happy* in their relationships, regardless if they’re married-cheaters, married-mono, co-habit-mono/cheaters, co-habit-poly, whatever.

    At the risk of sounding crazy, I think it’s less a function of mono / poly than:

    1) Picking a partner (or several) that you connect with well on mental and physical level.

    2) Entering, exiting, or remaining in those relationships in a responsible fashion *DESPITE* how the other partner acts.

    -#2 is critical, b/c once you fuck this one up, you’ve made a mistake than can stay with you for decades.

    -If you get married, get a prenup.
    -If you have kids, file a parenting plan with the state. (Poly people can fuck this up).
    -Don’t co-own assets. (Poly ppl can fuck this up)
    -Use contraception until you’re ready to have kids. (Poly ppl can also fuck this up).

    Anyway, curious to hear your thoughts BD.

  8. 10%. That’s the percentage of people that stay in love their entire lives.
    I think that’s quite a lot. Just look around you: undisciplined, morally weak men and women constitute the majority.

    Monogamy, polygamy, capitalism, communism, any contract… Give the good something and they will make it into something good, and vice versa… The more people involved, the more likely that someone will make a mess.

    Monogamy is suitable for men like me: I don’t have the energy for more than one woman and I find most women not worthy of it.

    It just should not be institutionilised if there’s no discrimination between children born in and out of wedlock.

    100%. That’s the percentage of people that should get a prenup.

  9. 10%. That’s the percentage of people that stay in love their entire lives…

    …100%. That’s the percentage of people that should get a prenup.

    …and that’s the problem. If at least 80-90% of the population got prenups when they got married, this topic would be a very different conversation and I would have much less of a problem with this.

    Only 3% of people today get prenups, even when they know deep down they’re not going to be together “forever”.

    Sachmo – Your entire argument revolves around this statement:

    even though they are divorced, doesn’t mean they did not enjoy their life during this time period.

    That’s correct. The “Happy Now, Miserable Later” argument is the argument used to defend serial monogamy, which is what you’re essentially doing. Serial monogamy is a different animal than long-term Disney monogamy (which is what marriage represents). My objections to long-term monogamy are facts. My objections to serial monogamy are opinions. They’re two completely different conversations.

    The reason I avoid serial monogamy is because I prefer a “Happy Now, Happy Later” model which, while many open/poly people fuck this up, is still impossible with monogamy no matter what you do (serial or long-term).

  10. … talking about Becks here’s an interesting link:

    Quote: Last year, the couple’s marriage was rocked by allegations David enjoyed steamy affairs with his former personal assistant Rebecca Loos, model Sarah Marbeck and the couple’s beautician Danielle Heath – something he has always denied – and Abbie is convinced he did play away.

    So, there you have it, would have surprise me anyway if a guy like Becks wouldn’t jump into other girls beds !!! If I were in his shoes I would be doing the same, to be honest … and he’s probably smart enough that he doesn’t knock one of these girls up !!!

    By the way, greets from Germany, Blackdragon. I’ve been reading this blog for a year now + this here and some of the Pick-Up-Stuff I kind of stumbled on by accident got me thinking a lot + actually made me change a couple of things in my life. Thumbs up, mate !!!

  11. Last year, the couple’s marriage was rocked by allegations David enjoyed steamy affairs with his former personal assistant Rebecca Loos, model Sarah Marbeck and the couple’s beautician Danielle Heath – something he has always denied – and Abbie is convinced he did play away.

    Yup. Super good looking famous multimillionaires don’t stay monogamous for very long. Oh, they might stay married for a while, but they never stay monogamous. You wouldn’t either if you were them.

    Every time someone gives me the name of a married celebrity as evidence of marriage “working”, within 30 seconds Google tells me about their cheating or separations or similar.

  12. Interesting post. But there are various reasons for increasing divorce rates. Just because a lot of people are fucking it up doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Just have the discipline to make sure if you’re going to do something you do it properly and be the kind of man who can do it properly.
    Theres an awesome book on building discipline for success in anything at;
    http://www.learningthesteel.squarespace.com

  13. @Sachmo
    An interesting mental exercise. I would ask this however, why has society at large defined the only type of relationship that is a “success” is one where a couple meet, fall in love, get married and stay together until one of them dies. Anything less than that is somehow failure. The greater issue is that as exit costs to a relationship increase, people’s willingness to accept lower levels of happiness increase. If exit costs are high enough, people will tolerate horrendous situations.

    Keep exit costs as close to zero as possible and then you can make more rational, fact based decisions about if a relationship (Poly or mono) is working for you.

    @Bellum
    I always love when people use statistics with absolutely no basis for them whatsoever. In order for this to come even close to a real statistic one would have to survey couples over 30, 40, 50 year relationships every single year. If that was done, no chance it is as high as 10%. But even if it was 2%, 5%…so what? How is being monogamous one’s entire life to a single person a contributor to that love? You don’t indicate that you are in love, just that you don’t have the energy for more then one woman.

    Dawson

  14. Just because a lot of people are fucking it up doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Just have the discipline to make sure if you’re going to do something you do it properly and be the kind of man who can do it properly.

    Sounds wonderful, but none of that takes into account the biology of the woman you marry, which is 50% of the equation no matter how good you are.

  15. In a similar line to Sachmo.

    If monogamy has it’s short comings and a high failure rate, do poly relationships not have a failure rate too? It will be hard to present accurate stats but how can you tell that poly people don’t have a failure rate (however you define that) similar to the monogamy people?

  16. If monogamy has it’s short comings and a high failure rate, do poly relationships not have a failure rate too?

    I’m sure open/poly relationships have a high failure rate just like monogamy, perhaps even higher, but it’s less relevant due to the nature and logistics of open/poly relationships. Refer to item number 41 here.

  17. @ Dawson.

    Those statistics were based on neurological research, where they compared the brains of new and old couples. Regrettably I couldn’t find the article in question on the internet.

  18. @BD @Dawson thanks for responses, and an interesting discussion. I suppose I’m actually defending all types of monogamy… but that’s not so much my point.

    Disney expectations are stupid and unrealistic, agree 100%. If it happens great, but it’s highly unlikely.

    But what I am saying is that it’s ok to be a person in any of the groups so long as your smart about things. You can be married, partner ‘cheats’ and you don’t actually care that much – start off mono and ‘renegotiate’ to an open marriage – and have a perfectly happy life. It’s ok for lines between mono and poly to blur, and have a ‘mono-gamish’ relationship as Dan savage calls it.

    You can be in a marriage where you do have expectations of monogamy, partner cheats, you get a divorce, and still be happy. I don’t see why you’d be ‘miserable later’… Sure, most divorced ppl are, but readers of this blog know to get a fucking prenup.

    In the open relationship world, a good friend of mine had a kid too soon, got stuck with child support payments (child support good, arbitrary payment levels mandated by gov’t bad) and also had to fight an uphill battle for a while just to get visitation rights to his kid. Poly life style doesn’t magically fix these problems. My biggest takeaway from this blog is foresight and planning when getting into *any* kind of serious relationship.

    Guess my biggest point tho is keep your eye on the prize which is freedom and happiness.

  19. @Bellum
    As I expected. Then what they are really measuring (and I use the term measuring loosely) is a couple’s memory of how they felt over a lifetime together. And we all know how accurate that would be.

    @Sachmo
    At the end of the day, you sort of nailed it. Different lifestyles are going to make different people happy. Even if there are exit costs, if having the same person to go to bed with every night (for example) is something a man values highly (which I don’t get but to each his own) then cohabitation (married or otherwise) makes some sense so long as you have as soft an exit planned as possible.

  20. You can be in a marriage where you do have expectations of monogamy, partner cheats, you get a divorce, and still be happy. I don’t see why you’d be ‘miserable later’

    Then you really need to go talk to a few people who have gone through a divorce because they were cheated on.

    Sure, most divorced ppl are, but readers of this blog know to get a fucking prenup.

    Prenups cover the financial end. They do not help at all with the sexual or emotional ends.

    So you get married and monogamous and get a prenup and pat yourself on the back for how smart you are. Two years later you catch your wife cheating on you. Look me in the eye and tell me you wouldn’t be very unhappy.

    And that’s my point. Happy now, miserable later…this is the model you choose if you insist on aboslolute monogamy, even if you cover all the finaincal bases with prenups and parenting plans.

    And yes, I admit some people like that model; some folks like the ups and downs of monogamy. Most do not however.

    In the open relationship world, a good friend of mine had a kid too soon, got stuck with child support payments (child support good, arbitrary payment levels mandated by gov’t bad) and also had to fight an uphill battle for a while just to get visitation rights to his kid. Poly life style doesn’t magically fix these problems.

    Now you’re using the opposite example. You’re talking about a guy who covered the sexual end but ignored the financial end. You need to do BOTH. Get a prenup/parenting plan AND don’t get absolutely monogamous. Not one or the other. BOTH.

    If you choose just one, regardless of which one, and ignore the other, you’re asking for trouble either way. True, you’re still better off than the man that does neither, but your relationship still isn’t optimal for long-term happiness.

  21. The emotional issues are probably the biggest reason I won’t remarry. If a girlfriend dumps me it hurts for a little while, but the healing starts right away. If a wife dumps me months and months (1.5 years in my case) of legal formalities keeps the pain fresh. The separated/getting divorced stage was the by far the worst period of my life and was not at all made worthwhile by any marital bliss we enjoyed along the way.

    It’s been over five years, and I’m still not as happy as I was before or during. I’d argue that those of us most tempermentaly suited to monogamy take divorce the hardest which makes it even more important to avoid tying the knot even with a solid prenup.

  22. Jon, if I handed out an award for Best Comment Ever, you’d get it.

    If a girlfriend dumps me it hurts for a little while, but the healing starts right away. If a wife dumps me months and months (1.5 years in my case) of legal formalities keeps the pain fresh. The separated/getting divorced stage was the by far the worst period of my life and was not at all made worthwhile by any marital bliss we enjoyed along the way.

    You said it better than I ever could. I have nothing more to add.

  23. Okay, I can see how the sources comment was vague on my part. What I meant was, I wish you’d link specific claims on your part to specific sources. The problem with the method you chose is that, in order to fact check any claim you make, your readers have to hunt through all of the sources you cite. And depending on how good their memory is, they may have to do this multiple times. There’s a reason people normally clutter up their articles with source links, no matter how ugly it looks- it makes the sources easy to check.

    As for the 50% stat, no, you got it wrong. You correctly stated what it meant, then went on to misuse it anyway. Here’s the relevant quote:

    “Therefore, if the annual divorce to marriage ratio in the United States is 50% (and the exact figure varies based on the study or source; often it’s around 47%), then that means you have a 50% risk of divorce every year.

    So you get married at age 35 and think you’re smart for waiting that long. In your first year, you have a 50% risk of divorce. After the year comes and goes, you made it! You’re still married! But wait a minute, you have another year coming up, and another 50% chance of divorce. If you live to age 82, your marriage needs to survive another 46 years of this in order for you to NEVER have a divorce. See how low your odds really are?”

    If you have a 50% chance of getting divorced every year, that means 50% does in fact mean 50% of all existing marriages- which, as you said, isn’t what it means. And according to the second paragraph, the odds of a marriage lasting your whole life in that example are 1/.5^57, or effectively zero- again contradicting the rest of the article, and if it were true, you would NEVER see couples who had been married more than 30 years. I mean literally never. You get your stats right in the rest of the article, but here you unwittingly slipped into the wrong interpretation of that statistic, and wrote out a couple of paragraphs whose falsehood should have been immediately obvious on re-reading. You write some great stuff, but a little more proofreading would go a long way.

  24. Caveman, in the midst of your mathematical analysis you forgot to read the very next paragraph I wrote, which was, and I quote:

    The numbers and the math do not work out exactly as I just described; that preceding paragraph is just as an illustration.

    I realize you’re trying to help, but before you tell me to proofread more, I would recommend that you read more.

    I love the internet. 🙂

  25. 80-90 % of all businesses fail. I would not use this as an argument against starting a business. Likewise with marriage. What makes a business successful is combination of specific repeatable factors and luck. Same with marriage. After 36 years married and the 2 of us very much in love with each other I am not blind to the fact that marriage is very high risk, but it is very high reward. Whether it more like winning the lottery (don’t) than starting a business (do so wisely) each much decide for himself.

  26. Old post, I know, but I’d like to add a comment based on a discussion I had with a friend who is a family therapist, who asserts the actual “unofficial divorce rate” is much higher than the publicized divorce numbers. He says “divorce” is really about 10-15% higher than the official numbers due to couples who never get formally divorced because of primarily financial reasons. They stay “together” to share some monetary benefit (like insurance,  or to avoid the high cost of exiting the marriage), yet agree to live entirely separate lives.
    I personally know 2 couples like this.  One woman stayed “married” to her husband so he could keep health insurance from her government job after he had a bad roofing accident.  She didn’t have the heart to legally divorced him, but she lived separately from him on another side of town for the last 15 years, and does what she wants and dates who she wants.  Another couple I know live separately in the same house, him in his basement man-cave, and her upstairs. They do want they want, without consideration for the other.

    The “divorce” rate is even worse than the numbers say…

  27. By that logic in reverse, the “divorce” rate is even lower.  How many couples live together forever and never actually get married?  I bet that number is greater than the “couple who live in the same house and don’t talk to each other, but are still married on paper” number.  That sililoquy of personal experience does not lend itself to the whole.  I know more than 2 of those couples.  If you’re counting yours as “divorced”, then you gotta count all these as “married.”

  28. How many couples live together forever and never actually get married?

    How many of those couples stay together forever and never separate? Same problem.

  29. What about Pareto? Shouldn’t a small percentage of people causing the biggest number of divorces and jack up the average? Like Larry king who got divorced 7 times?

  30. Here is an absolutely horrifying fact.   A recent study conducted by a social scientist survey over 1000 married women.  A whopping 50% of them admitted to having a plan B guy on the back burner.  Heck if half admitted to it you have to figure that between 10-15% of them had one but simply wouldn’t admit to behaving so utterly reprehensibly

    What this means is that women are largely little more than whores who with out even thinking twice will rape you financially when she decides that she just doesnt like you anymore.  Fuck that.  NEVER get married

Leave a Reply

To leave a comment, enter your comment below. PLEASE make sure to read the commenting rules before commenting, since failure to follow these rules means your comment may be deleted. Also please do not use the username “Anonymous” or “Anon” or any variation thereof (makes things too confusing).

Off-topic comments are allowed, but Caleb will ignore those.

Caleb responds to comments in person, but he only does so on the two most current blog articles.

Related Posts

Begin typing your search term above and press enter to search.