Recently, we interviewed a group of women, mostly divorced, some just contemplating ending marriage. All had been married between 10 and 22 years. Their ages ranged from 42 to 68. We asked “Would you get married again? And why or why not?” Their answers were surprisingly similar; a large majority answered with a resounding no.
Was our group different from the norm, we wondered? We looked for statistical evidence to compare with the results of our inquiry, including about 50 women. The only data we found was based on an outdated US Census Bureau survey from 2004. It stated that 54% of women remarried after 5 years, and 75% of women remarried after ten years.
Our results seemed to indicate that women’s attitudes have changed greatly since 2004. Here is what we found:
Women who feel financially secure and able to earn enough money for their livelihood prefer not to remarry. They delight in creating their own environment and decide where to be and what to do without reporting to anyone else. “Sex is better when you want it, not when it’s expected of you,” said one participant.
Most women mentioned that financial security was the major sticking point in a yes or no divorce decision. Some admitted that they knew they would be less well off on their own but decided to go ahead anyway. “I just couldn’t stand the endless confrontations anymore,” one mentioned. “I wanted my freedom,” said another, “and I was willing to make sacrifices to start a new life.”
Most divorcees admitted that it was their decision to initiate proceedings and not their husbands. And a statistic from an AARP study corroborates their answers: 75% of all divorces are based on a women’s initiative.
Nearing or passing mid-life is a powerful driver to review one’s life and future. For many women, their past existence has been spent focusing on others: the kids, husband, elderly parents; their boss at work. Suddenly, with many or all of these responsibilities gone, they ask themselves for the first time, what would make me happy? What would I like to do, where would I like to go? How can I make a better life for myself? Whatever it is – traveling, learning to play piano – they want to be fulfilled emotionally and spiritually.
At this point they know a lot about life; the pitfalls of marriage, who they are, and what’s important to them. Contemplating divorce, do they worry about loneliness? “Of course,” said one participant, “but I couldn’t be lonelier than I was in my loveless marriage.” Freedom is a heady experience. Even the freedom to have a boyfriend who is right for now – and not necessarily for a lifetime – is liberating and exciting. “Once I started pursuing a serious relationship with a new man it was up to me to decide to stay in my own place and not live together. Maybe I will change my mind later.”
Women today can look great at any age. There are numerous cosmetic regimens and medical procedures to keep them looking vibrant and youthful. A healthy diet and daily exercise can keep the body alluring and sexy. At the sports club I go to daily, I hardly ever see an overweight lady. Re-entering the singles market is often a strong impetus to lose the extra pounds and rejuvenate your looks.
Being more mature, more cognizant of their needs, and more self-assured, women today are in a better place to make good decisions for themselves.