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Avoiding Divorce by Not Marrying

I keep reading that people are so afraid of divorce now that many choose not to marry. They practice serial monogamy instead, living together while they focus their attention on their own career, which they imagine will provide the security marriage failed to provide for their parents.

Unfortunately, their odds (for wealth, well-being, or security) are not good. Neither are yours if you decide to leave your marriage and join them.


I was surprised to hear from many of the 20-something students I teach that they want to avoid marriage because they think it inevitably leads to disappointment and boredom. I wonder if media exposure has given them a skewed view. So many articles, books, talk shows, etc., focus on couples who have lost their mojo and drifted apart, and how much work it takes to fix problems, and so on. They are getting a message that being single is easier and more fun than being in a long-term relationship. It's not, but you probably have to be in a long term relationship to know that. And since they are afraid of marriage, they may never find out.

I don't imagine anyone would want to read articles about my single friend who hung himself rather than reach out to his many friends for solace or the 52-year-old women at singles events looking for a short-term hookup or the 60-year-old men putting up with severe nagging and demands from their 43-year-old non-live-in, no-strings lovers of the last decade.

Many do well without marrying, but not as many as do well in marriages. And most who go through the feared divorce remarry and willingly face the same risks all over again.

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Patty Newbold is a widow who got it right the second time...

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