As sociologist Andrew Cherlin stated in his recent book The Marriage-Go-Round, “Both marriage and divorce contribute to the larger picture of a country (the U.S.) in which people partner, unpartner and repartner faster than they do in any other Western nation.” When it comes to intimate partnerships, Americans seem to be on speed.
After a divorce, as Cherlin notes, ex-spouses in this country seem to find a new partner more quickly than happens in other nations. They often form cohabiting (living together) relationships easily, but also end them more swiftly. This story of fragile partnerships creates a situation of flux and uncertainty, especially for the children involved.
According to stepfamily researcher Dr. Larry Ganong, 40% of all new marriages now contain at least one partner who has been married before. And perhaps equally surprising is the result of a recent Pew Research Center survey: The Pew researchers found that at the current time, one in four Americans has a close step-relative. That is a quarter of the U.S. population!