Marriage After 50

2019-01-16T19:19:48+00:00

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.

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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?

Read more about Dating 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.

Pre-Marital Debt

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.

Estate Planning

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!

Conclusion

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!

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About the Author:

Suzy developed Midlife Divorce Recovery as a safe refuge for people healing and surviving the overwhelm of divorce. Starting her first RADiCAL support group in 2003 she's been helping women navigate the journey of divorce ever since.

23 Comments

  1. Matt June 6, 2018 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    Where do people over fifty meet and socialize? When we were younger we met friends and dates in college. We already know everyone at church and most of them are so old and depressed.

    • dawn June 11, 2018 at 8:08 am - Reply

      hi Matt,

      do what you love… activities… a new class at the local college. you will meet someone then that may resonate with you. this time in your life is about you and making you happy . All the rest will fall into place. Best of luck, Dawn

      • Colette August 5, 2018 at 11:07 am - Reply

        I like this article but I disagree with the “do what you love” approach. It sounds logical and practical but in ten years of life after single this catch phrase has never worked. I haven’t even met someone, let alone dated them. With four relationships including a serious one, all were through work. One was a bar (ugh).

  2. Malik October 31, 2018 at 5:37 am - Reply

    At 50, seeking to remarry is a big mistake! Men need to get lives and hobbies. A woman cannot validate your life! People need to realize that all this is all in the mind even loneliness. Get busy not dizzy. A woman over 50 cannot offer much! She will only try to mould you to her specifications! And try to turn you into her exes who took off in the first place! I do not believe these later age marriages work well…People are too set in their ways and they have less energy and patience.Companionship? Get a dog!

    • Razz November 7, 2018 at 1:01 pm - Reply

      Totally agree Malik, I have been a single woman since the age of 38 (when I divorced my alcoholic husband,) and plan on staying that way, the only men I have met are either looking for a sugar mommy or a nurse maid to pander to their needs, or are all about themselves…boooring. Thank goodness I am in a financial position to love them and leave them. Loving the single life

    • Marie November 12, 2018 at 7:48 am - Reply

      A women over 50 cannot offer much? That is your opinion of women not everyone shares it or maybe you feel as a women over 50 you don’t have much to offer. I got married when I was 51 years old and felt I had lot’s to offer, love, loyalty, great personality, active and fit and attractive and most importantly a carrying compassionate heart. I married someone with the same values and we are happily married for 7 years. Ladies if you want to get married don’t be discouraged go after what you want and don’t allow other Women who feel bad about themselves affect you.

      58yrs old and loving marriage

      • SumGuy January 8, 2019 at 8:31 pm - Reply

        I agree with Marie, women over 50 to me have more to offer than younger women. I’m over 50 myself. In general they seem to know more what they want, and are less uptight. They can offer experience and a perspective that younger women cannot. They can offer true companionship, a dog may be your companion but you can’t have a conversation with your dog (not a sane one anyway) or share memories or get advice from your dog.

    • Mary December 17, 2018 at 2:57 am - Reply

      I agreeMy Husband Was so lost and I was in my second marriage to him and his fourth to me..?

      he became very physically abusive and was extremely obsessed with his demanding church were we met I ran from the osessive rules and finally filed for protection order and a two year later divorce. the biggest mistake is broken people believing they will heal and be abetter spouse this time ait cost me eleven thousand dollars to end my marriage and he walked with a house and an airpalne and a Corvette I praise the dogi idea My dog Died but she eriched my self esteem and gave me the hope of sharing my time life and bed. she never cheated lied gambled or hit me…she healed the bruises physical abuse but on my heart.. A person should never be engaged to a person while still saying there name and ex spose as we did we did that ..If you do not say my ex or former spouse you are not ready for a marriage a month away it is a reality check when a fifty year old man talks about his ex-wife like a high school boy with his first steady girlfriend. The books call it enmeshment also we very weary of a person who argues with you when you want to meet there kids and parents even if the are Fifty or over I was married at 38 and divorced at 50. Marriage does not heal broken people it gives them place to hide from society…I was former military female married to former military!

    • Wendy January 1, 2019 at 2:44 pm - Reply

      Perhaps it’s you that doesn’t much to offer and your bitterness exudes from your pores like a black cloud, scaring off any woman over 50 that doesn’t fit your negative description. You attract what you give off.

  3. Malik October 31, 2018 at 5:40 am - Reply

    And many women over 50 just have too much baggage..Who said one cannot be over 50 and single enjoying life? Most marriages are actually some sort of prison anyway!

    • Laura Beck-Ard March 1, 2019 at 9:32 am - Reply

      I’m delighted to hear that you never intend to remarry Malik. It’s clear to me that you are harboring many resentments and misinformation about women, 50 or not. Clearing you out of the pool as we good, financially independent, self sufficient women keep ours eyes open with the hope of sharing our lives with someone again makes the search much easier. Perhaps you can find a bar with other bitter men with whom you can commiserate on all of the blood-sucking women you’ve encountered.

  4. Malik October 31, 2018 at 5:40 am - Reply

    Never to remarry!!

    • Don M December 9, 2018 at 4:57 pm - Reply

      Best advice ever. I was married twice and the happiness wears off in a nanosecond. One for 25 years and we raised a family, which made it worthwhile, but I watched her turn into a walking talking nutcase. After the divorce I did the stupid and married a very hot younger woman. Man, it was the lesson of my life. I jumped out of that in 2 years and 12 years later she is married and still calling me. Since that divorce, I have dated a lot of women. They are all over me and will even go so far as to say I am the love of their life. I have been called for the dreaded set down and lets talk routine 4 times. It is always the same as they must have read the same book, lol. The big ultimatum, I am leaving if we are not getting married. I have found to be patient and give the lady one year, the reflect on how the relationship has changed. Never ever remarry. I am fortunate enough to have a pretty lavish life, so I am pretty sure I will have women knocking on the door until I die.

      • Wendy January 1, 2019 at 2:47 pm - Reply

        Perhaps the quality of women you are attracting is reflective of the fact that you are a total jerk

  5. Dorothy November 22, 2018 at 8:20 pm - Reply

    Should you divorce a man who is loving and financially responsible but disinterested in sex

    • Deb December 16, 2018 at 8:07 pm - Reply

      This is my question as well.

  6. Sylvia November 30, 2018 at 10:29 pm - Reply

    Wow it is a whole lot of bitter people in the world…

  7. Jane December 2, 2018 at 4:51 pm - Reply

    I agree with Marie. I am a widow and I don’t feel or act my age. I enjoy every minute I am with my partner. We so much in common ans now after almost 4 years are talking about moving in together. We are taking it slow to make sure we get it right. If you want something you have to work hard to achieve it and this includes a relationship.

  8. Quincy Brown December 26, 2018 at 4:11 pm - Reply

    I don’t see much to any benefit of remarriage for the man. The only advantage early on is to raise a family. Try to give your kids a good two parent home.

    Remarriage at this age is really a contract with too many outs. Back in the old days marriage was commitment. These days it can be ended within a day and finalized in three to six months with all kinds of financial consequences.

    If marriage was real, I think it would be wonderful. But if you take it apart, it’s a very risky proposition that you can follow in these comments. If your wife gets mad, not happy about anything, and decides to leave, what then? And we are talking about being around ten to fiftheen years to retirement. Should money be spent divorcing and paying attorneys for us folks getting ready to reitire?

    And they say prenups… Well those are getting thrown out more and more these days in the family courts. There are no safeguards anymore.

    And I say this as I have given up on dating, I found that most women my age wanted to know where I stood in retirement plans after the 5-8th date. If I would be willing to relocate later on and sale my paid off house, and make some big investments to start a new future. And of course I look at it like, less risks. Less income soon, and these women are ready for the next 15 years like they just graduated college.

    • Karen March 17, 2019 at 9:32 pm - Reply

      Quincy, I so agree. Its sad. I don’t think it’s right for someone to come along and take advantage of all that you’ve worked for all your life. And take advantage of a good soul. I have been there, and it’s devastating. I simply wish you well.

  9. Beth December 28, 2018 at 3:45 am - Reply

    As a 50+ woman whose raised her kids & has her own home & handling her finances, it’s just as frustrating trying to contemplate marrying again after being in a 4 year relationship with a man that I just asked to consider pre-marriage counseling to discuss everything openly. And to be told he doesn’t need it as he’s been married before. Well very true but not married to me & everyone can benefit from counseling with someone who will help you discuss things that appear to be awkward. I feel uncertain about him laying everything on the table. We’ve lived together for over a year & it was brutal as we tried to blend families with his kids. Needless to say, it didn’t work & they were asked to leave. I stressed to him to finish raising his kids & if we were meant to be, I’d try & wait for him. He chose to stay & relocate one child as the others were basically adults 21 & 19. I thought I wanted to re-marry but now I’m more uncertain than I’ve ever been. So it’s not just older men not seeing the value or purpose of remarrying it’s also 50+ women who are bringing much to the table who also have a lot of reserve to fact of remarrying as well.

    • Anne December 29, 2018 at 3:51 am - Reply

      I’m with you Beth! If a woman is financially secure and has raised her family she has more to lose if she repartners with a man who still has children . Not only are the financial implications frightening but also a woman could be signing herself up for a life of looking after others.

    • Sher Peterson March 8, 2019 at 4:14 am - Reply

      No! By 60 or after menopause you won’t care. Cuddle. Talk. Play

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