Living Single

The truth about singles in our society.

Should Larry King Be Banned from Remarrying?

Should serial divorcers have their license to marry revoked?

Sorry to pile onto the Larry King joke-a-thon, but I just read a very witty column in Time magazine and I wanted to share it with Living Single readers. Reporter Belinda Luscombe begins by reminding anyone not keeping up with celebrity slings and arrows that Larry King may be on the verge of divorcing for the eighth time. She christens King the "octospouse." (See why I love this column?)

Here's Luscombe's key question, perhaps posed with tongue nestled in cheek:

"How many marriages are too many? Statistics show that more second marriages break up than first ones and more third marriages - about 75% -- break up than second ones. Given that trajectory, shouldn't a referee step in after the third or fourth and suspend play for the good of all?"

Maybe, Luscombe is suggesting, marriage licenses should be revoked. They revoke drivers' licenses, don't they?

There are several reasons why I'm happy that this essay was published. First, Larry King is completely and totally obsessed with other people's dating and mating lives and their marriage prospects. He always asks about those things. He asks even when his guest is Bill Maher. I remember an interview he did with Sheryl Crow after she had broken up with Lance Armstrong. King sometimes seemed more interested in Crow's thoughts and feelings about Armstrong than just about anything else in her present or future life.

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I was also grateful to see the Time essay because just yesterday, someone emailed me with a version of a story I have heard too many times before. A woman who had always been single was chided by a man who said that her never-married status made her suspect. Guess what? The guy doling out the singlism was multiply-divorced! His assumption was that he should get credit for having gotten married again and again. He was ‘chosen' and the single woman was not. Never mind that he may have made a mess of each of his supposedly lifelong commitments.

Luscombe is questioning the conventional wisdom about who deserves credit and status. She's saying that after the third or fourth divorce, maybe you've lost your Married Couples Club privileges for good. Maybe you've earned entrée into a new club - the Delight of Comedians and Columnists Club.

[For anyone who is interested, my next singles talk and book signing is coming up this Wednesday. Details are here. I'd love to say hi to you if you can make it.]

Bella DePaulo, Ph.D., is author of Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After. She is a visiting professor at UCSB.

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