The New Resilience

Better health in an interconnected world.

Caught Between "Longing" vs. "Settling" In Your Marriage?

Midlife baby boomers experience increasing marital conflict as a result of the legacy of their early ideals. For many, that takes the form of feeling caught between "longing" to recapture a lost ideal, or "settling" for what they have, including their disappointments and frustrations. Read More

I thought divorced remarriages fail at a higher rate!

You wrote...

"Interestingly, though, 60 percent of divorced people end up with new partners in positive relationships."

Other PT bloggers -- the famed Maggie Scarf, for instance -- are arguing that divorced people in remarriages have a much higher second divorce rate.

"he rate of divorce among remarried couples is 60% — higher than the divorce rate among first marriages, which is 50%. "

Who's right?

That does appear to be

That does appear to be contradictory, but I think the remarriage data for subsequent divorce may be accurate for within a certain time-span, while Dr. Hetherington's research was based on longitudinal studies, over a span of decades; and included co-habitation, not just remarriage; i.e. "ended up in positive relationships," not necessarily marriage. So in a sense, both sets of data are correct. But I will look into this further - thanks for raising it.

Scarf's 'data'

Do look into it. You'll learn that the "60% second marriage divorce rate" is a total meme, based on date gathered during the first Bush administration (Bush 41!). It has little statistical grounding but is cited over and over for shock effect. Even then, it was not broken out by age of second marriage.

Stick a stake through the heart of this bogus "statistic" and consign it to the dustbin of "therapeutic touch."

A blog post about this would be really useful, Dr Labier. People listen to you.

Although the "60%" figure has

Although the "60%" figure has been widely quoted, I have not found any of those references linked to the alleged, actual source data.

Where one does find data referring to a 60 -70% citation regarding remarriages, it refers to the percent of divorced people who appear to remarry or cohabit, NOT subsequent divorce.

The most documented data I've found are from a 2002 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, which estimates a "...strong probability that 2nd marriages will end in separation or divorce (23 percent after 5 years and 39 percent after 10 years)." The link:

So -- the 60% of remarriages ending in divorce appears to be a widely circulated, but totally inaccurate figure.

Are boomers still at "Midlife"?

I think most boomers are into their Golden Years by now, no?

The definition of midlife has

The definition of midlife has been evolving and lengthening with increasing longevity, health, etc. In my view, "midlife" is really a misnomer, in that it's really the period of true adulthood, when one begins to deal with issues of purpose and meaning in one's work and relationships. From that perspective, it probably begins during the late 30s and extends into and ever-lengthening age range. Perhaps the term "old age" or "elderly" works best after or into one's 80s. For the purposes of my article, I was defining the midlife boomers in terms of the demographics of baby boom generation, the last of whom are turning 60 in 2014.


The youngest boomers were born in 1964, so they're turning 50.

Correct! Failed to catch my

Correct! Failed to catch my own typo -- thanks!

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Douglas LaBier, Ph.D., is a psychologist and the Director of the Center for Progressive Development in Washington, DC.


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