More people are getting married after 50 than ever before. Our culture is more accepting of divorce, and so it makes sense that more people are marrying or remarrying in our 50s. A person whose spouse dies, is also more likely to remarry than not, so there are more “available” 50+ partners than ever before. The good news is, marriage after 50 can bring fun, security and adventure that sometimes doesn’t happen when we’re younger.
Marriage After 50 Statistics
Have you suddenly started seeing more 50+ dating sites advertised during your favorite television shows? You’re not imagining that. Senior online dating choices are everywhere!
According to recent “marriage after 50” statistics, Pew research , divorce for people in midlife has almost doubled since the 1990s. Part of this phenomena is because many baby boomers grew up embracing “free love,” or whatever it took for “my” pleasure. We’ve carried that demand for personal fulfillment into our lives after our marriage fails or our spouse dies.
Why Get Married After 50?
If you’re single at 50+, you’re likely still healthy and will eventually want to get married again. There are people who are so devastated and angry about divorce, they close their heart to finding love again, but for most people, that is not the case. Most midlife people remarry within four years after their divorce.
Speaking from experience, marriage after 50 can be just as exciting as marriage in your 20s or 30s. After all, 50 is supposedly the new 30! After 50, after a divorce, if we have done the healing work we need to do, we usually have a clearer idea of what we’re looking for.
When I married at 21, my list of “must haves” was different than my list when I remarried at 53. It was also easier to cross someone off of my list after 50 when I knew they weren’t marriage material! Life is short, and I knew what I wanted and wasn’t afraid to end a relationship that wasn’t good for me. I hear the same from women who come to us for help.
Love & Companionship!
After divorce or the death of a spouse, two of the hardest things to deal with are the loss of romantic love and simple companionship. The absence of those intimate daily connections with another human being after our spouse leaves is devastating to most women.
When our company did research a few years back, loneliness is one of the hardest issues to deal with after a 50+ divorce. We are experiencing a lot of loss around that time in our lives. Our bodies are changing … menopause and midlife crises sometimes wreak havoc on our physical and emotional selves.
Sometimes, that is what causes our divorce. Usually men, and now more women, are willing to break their marriage vows to deal with those challenges. That’s a cowardly way to deal with something that all of us inevitably face.
Other losses in our fifties include the fact that our children are more independent and leaving home. The “empty nest,” is difficult after you have had a houseful of people for 20 or 25 years. Our parents are usually needing more help from us at this time, too. The loss of a parent, to death or dementia, is a serious adjustment as well.
Many people who divorce in their 50s are alone for the very first time. The loneliness can overwhelm us. After divorce, women feel desperate to find love and companionship to ease those losses of midlife. That is one reason some people get into marriage or remarriage too soon.
Loneliness emphasizes our need for companionship and increases our desire for marriage after 50 years old. Marrying at this age can seem terrifying, but, with good sense and self-confidence, and not desperation, we have a better chance than ever of a happy second marriage after 50.
Cost of Living & Finances
In our company’s research, we discovered that finances are in the top three issues of most concern to women after a midlife divorce. It’s less true for the younger boomers, but many of the over 50 women are less financially self-sufficient than younger women.
In my situation, My first husband and I got married in college. I worked to help support us while my husband was in medical school until our children were born. I was especially vulnerable after our divorce 33 years later. I was unprepared to financially support myself like I would have been if I had been following my own career path.
Most women after a 50+ divorce are financially at risk. About 25 percent live below the poverty level. Most women, among other things, want to find someone who can at least help pay the bills.
At the same time, many of the 50+ men are looking for a younger woman. Many older men are drawn to women below them on the economic scale. That’s why in my work every day with women going through midlife divorce, I hear so much about successful men running off with their massage therapist, their administrative assistant, a waitress or a nurse.
Most marriages and remarriages after 50 years of age aren’t based solely on the finances, but women, especially, will usually cross off a future partner who will not be able to support himself or help financially in the new marriage.
Second Marriage After 50
When I was first divorced at 53, I thought I would never be really happy again. It took me a long time to get myself back. I was lost under layers of sadness, anger, bitterness and fear, and it took me longer than I wanted to feel normal again.
In my 10+ years of doing midlife divorce recovery work, I have discovered that the after 50 couples who create happy second marriages are those who take the time to do the grief work and healing work that is necessary after the end of a marriage. Don’t rush it. Be kind to yourself and be patient with the process.
Living Together vs. Marriage After 50
It is definitely a trend among young people to live together before, or instead of, getting married. Some older people do that, too, even though most research shows that people who live together before marriage are more likely to divorce than couples who do not.
Unmarried couples living together are almost always having sex before marriage and that can dramatically change the relationship. It takes it to a deeper level, especially for women. If you are living with someone as opposed to just dating, It is more traumatic and complicated to end that relationship, but it’s still easier than splitting up after marriage.
Some older couples, who because of their religious tradition, feel as if they cannot remarry after divorce. Regardless of your situation, the question of whether to live together or get married is one question that you need to settle in your own mind before you even start dating.
Sometimes we are so hungry for sex and for the companionship and other intimacies of a relationship that we make decisions based on that, rather than looking carefully at the whole person we are dating.
PS – I read somewhere that middle-aged men are the least careful of all male demographics to NOT practice safe sex! Just saying!
How Long To Date Before Marriage After 50?
My rules are: Do not date until you have done the grieving and healing you need to do after the end of your first marriage. A counselor told me to expect one year of healing for every 5-7 years of marriage. I said, “I don’t have that long! I might be dead by then.” Another said one month of healing for every year of marriage. That got me down to about 3 years.
Those long time frames are what encouraged me to develop a program that can take women through a structured program of healing that can be completed in one calendar year or even faster if you’re dedicated to the process.
Dr. Laura Schlessinger, author and relationship advisor, always said three years is the minimum time to date before marraige. For me, it was more like a year and a half or two years. I would err on the side of taking your time rather than jumping in too soon. Going through a 2nd or 3rd divorce, is something to avoid at all costs!
Finances & Future Planning When Marrying After 50
By the time you are thinking of marrying after a divorce, one of the things we encourage all women to do is to find out exactly where you stand financially. Many 50+ women did not take care of the finances in their first marriage.
Meet with someone who can help you figure out where you are financially. Go to a professional or find a community center or church that offers basic financial awareness services. Don’t skip this step of your after-divorce to-do list!
Before you marry, especially after 50, you must talk about your finances! And as hard as it is, you should have your financial histories out on the table with nothing held back. Meeting with an accountant is often a wise step to take.
Talk about savings and marital assets that you each bring to the marriage and discuss how they will be handled. Talk to a financial planner. Talk about taxes and Social Security and how those will affect your future financial stability.
Do not get married without a clear view of the financial situation you are committing to.
Should You Get A Prenup?
If you are thinking of marriage after 50, you should get some agreements in writing. Talk to your attorney and ask if he or she can put together a prenuptial agreement. You will probably need to get an estate planner involved if you have assets that needs to be protected.
Money is a hard thing to talk about, but your financial security and your future depends on both of you being honest and open about it before marriage. If you have assets you want to pass on to children or grandchildren, definitely get an agreement in writing that ensures what you want to happens, happens.
It’s especially important that you find out about all debt, including bankruptcy, that might be affecting any future partner’s financial picture. End the relationship if anyone will not be open about his or her financial details. Do a background check if you need to.
If you are thinking of marrying after 50, especially if you have money or assets of your own, you should definitely meet with an estate planner. If you have savings, IRAs, 401Ks, property or other assets, you must get professional help in protecting what you need to protect.
Most attorneys will have a list of reputable estate planners. Ask your friends and people you trust who they used for their estate issues. If a potential marriage partner is upset by you wanting to get this kind of help, run as fast as you can!
Getting married after 50 certainly has its share of complications and pitfalls. But the rewards of finding love again at any stage of life is worth the risk! Take precautions, but be open to finding that person who will bring joy and fun and all kinds of good things to your life. It happened for me and it can happen for you!