Can You Find Love After 50?
So, you are over 50, in love, and getting married for a second time? Hey, congratulations on finding love later in life! It’s so beautiful to find new love when you are older and wiser, shared life experience can really help your relationship thrive.
Are Second Marriages More Successful?
You’re not alone! Statistics show that as a person ages, their willingness to remarry increases. That means more older adults are looking for love later on in life! While it can be just as thrilling to find “the one” when you already have kids, grandkids, or maybe even elderly parents living with you—there can be some unique challenges in getting used to understanding each other’s individual lifestyles.
Getting married the second time around can be an incredible experience, especially if you have had some difficult seasons of loneliness. It’s pretty obvious that remarrying after 50 will come with its own unique set of challenges, such as navigating blended family dynamics and dealing with ex-spouses.
Secrets To A Happy Marriage
As a trained Marriage and Family therapist, let me tell you one of the biggest mistakes that I see with my clients: unrealistic expectations. It happens over and over again: caught up in the “love drug” couples fail to communicate about important issues! Instead of building on a strong marital foundation, they rush to build a flimsy structure held together by their unrealistic hopes.
And like all poorly built structures, their marriage will eventually come crashing to the ground. Hopefully, they begin to understand that they skipped some important steps to building a strong partnership. Once the dust settles, this couple will have to commit to talking about real-life issues if they want to make their marriage successful.
Marriage is Hard Work
It is so important to discuss some of the more challenging realities of second marriages after 50. Please, please do not ignore the difficult topics and hope for the best! That would be like putting on a blindfold and then getting in a car to drive, hoping to anticipate all of the dangerous curves and red lights!
If you have been married before, you have a good idea of how challenging marriage can be! If you are getting married again after 50, it is virtually certain that your spouse has been married before. But in an interesting twist, the younger American generations are refraining from marriage. As these folks age, there will be an increase in never-married folks over the age of 50.
How Many Second Marriages End In Divorce?
But for those of us over the age of 50, entering a second marriage requires a reality check. Research shows that second (third, fourth, etc) marriages have a higher rate of divorce than first marriages. They also tend to be shorter and more complicated due to the blending of families.
- 60 percent of second marriages end in divorce.
- 73 percent of all third marriages end in divorce.
Percentages courtesy of Wilkinson & Finkbeiner, LLC
Trust me, you can be deeply in love and still choose to be really honest about having potential problems in your marriage. The best thing you can do for a second marriage is to be realistic. Be willing to anticipate problems and move quickly toward creating solutions. When you have patience, communication, and realistic expectations, it’s possible to make a second marriage after 50 work.
So, what are the most common challenges for getting married again after 50?
Second Marriage Problems
One of the most common reasons second marriages fail is due to the complexities of blended families. The realities of stepkids and ex-spouses are tough. After a divorce, it is rare to have a pleasant, neutral co-parenting experience. Despite the research that shows children are damaged by warring divorced parents, most ex-spouses struggle to be fair and neutral. One of the benefits of getting married again after the age of 50 is that there might not be minor children involved in your new partnership.
As an adult woman marrying again, you have a family history of your own, which may include children, grandchildren, and ex-spouses. Blending two families can be challenging, both emotionally and practically. It is crucial to keep a realistic outlook on how your new spouse’s children will feel about you and your own children’s opinions of your new partner.
Blended Family Problems
It is very likely that your new spouse will have (young) adult children from a former partnership. This is complicated territory; adult kids still have big emotions about their parent choosing a new mate. Just like you, your spouse comes with their own family history that may be difficult to navigate. Children of any age may experience conflicting loyalties, which can extend to the ex-spouses, as well.
I got married again in the fall of 2020. When you combine my (now) husband’s kids and my kids, we have enough to play a soccer game! As we planned our wedding, we were hearing plenty of suggestions and expectations from our families. As a couple, we wanted to have the most basic ceremony possible. We knew we wanted simple, private, and meaningful. It was no surprise that some of our family objected to that idea and pushed us to make the changes they wanted.
It was one of our first opportunities to put our commitment first, while disappointing people that we loved. We talked about what we wanted as a couple and made a commitment to not yield to pressure from family. In the end, we had the simple wedding we wanted. Our families were able to accept our decision and stopped pressuring us to please them.
Blended Family Issues Are Painful
When dealing with stepkids, the best advice is to work to maintain open communication. Easing the transition to new commitments and priorities can be difficult for your spouse. There is a slight advantage to getting married again after 50, most likely your stepkids will be young adults. Normally, most young adults are focused on their own lives and are able to be happy for their newly married parent.
In some difficult situations, adult children can struggle with the new spouse. Resentment and suspicion can be a problem. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself the target for passive-aggressive comments and rude opinions. Dealing with angry stepkids will take committed and honest discussions between your and your new spouse. Family loyalty and parental guilt can be difficult obstacles to authentic discussions between newly married couples.
Successful Second Marriages Have Learned How to Communicate
If you are getting married over the age of 50, it’s time to improve your communication skills! One of the most common problems I see with my clients is a lack of communication. The great thing about positive communication is that it is a learnable skill. Authentic, intentional communication is the key to every relationship, especially with your new husband!
A deeply connected marriage requires vulnerability. Both partners should feel safe sharing their ideas, thoughts, and opinions. Your wins should be celebrated, and your losses consoled by your spouse. Marital intimacy means your spouse knows the “real” you and you feel safe being known.
How To Be Yourself in a Relationship
Many marriages exist outside of true partnership and intimacy. As children, we are taught to hide or modify our behavior to receive approval and attention. Sadly, most of us will take those old, unhealthy behaviors into our marriages. We don’t realize that we are re-enacting our childhood patterns, and we wonder why we feel so distant from our partner.
If I can recommend one thing to help create a healthy, satisfying marriage, I would advise you to do the hard work of being authentic with your spouse. Getting married again after 50 is hard enough, but for a successful partnership, you need to be vulnerable.
You can build a healthy and mature second marriage if you are willing to put in effort and hard work. As a trained therapist and relationship coach, I make sure my clients are aware of the following suggestions to help them build a healthy marriage. This advice should help you with potential pitfalls, helping your partnership stay strong even if faced with unexpected stresses.
How To Have A Healthy Marriage
Suggestions For A Long Lasting Second Marriage
Every marriage – first or second or beyond! – is unique and comes with its own challenges. For a second marriage after 50, however, there are some tried-and-true suggestions for keeping the relationship healthy and happy.
Communicate! see the above paragraphs! This is the foundation of any healthy marriage. Find the time, space, and words to communicate effectively and regularly. It is critical to show appreciation for your partner. Let them know that you value their input and that their opinions matter to you.
Nurture the relationship. Keep the love alive by being affectionate and attentive to each other’s needs. Celebrate milestones and make new memories together. Reminisce about your love story often.
How to Stay in Love
Research shows that couples who have positive memories of their “origin” story are more likely to stay together.
When couples retell their “love story “with negativity and criticism they are more likely to separate or divorce. Check out this study done by The Gottman Institute for a more detailed explanation. The moral of the study? Words do matter.
Intimacy is critical to a healthy marriage. Yes, you are older, and your sexual engine might take a little longer to get warmed up but making love bonds you to your partner. Couples that have a mutually satisfying sexual relationship are more likely to survive difficulties.
Remember that intimacy doesn’t always have to mean physical contact – simply talking and actively listening to your partner can do wonders for your connection. By making intimacy a priority, you can strengthen your relationship and keep the passion alive for years to come.
Why Date Night is Important
Commit to a regular date night. Keeping your relationship fresh and exciting is key to maintaining a healthy and happy partnership. Find easy ways to spend time together, and make it a priority to have a type of date night once a week. Head to your local art museum, try a yoga class together, or find a small breakfast diner to visit.
You will feel more connected when you set aside time to be together. Studies who that by regularly taking time to have fun and explore new things with your partner, you’ll find that your relationship stays fresh.
Keep your individuality. While you might share a last name and life together, it is essential to maintain your own independence and personal interests. Despite the romantic nonsense that we are force-fed in romantic movie plots, no one can be everything to one person!
It is not possible for your spouse to meet all your social and emotional needs. Make sure you are building new friendships and maintaining old hobbies to help you diffuse your emotional energy.
As you navigate your second marriage, don’t forget to focus on your own personal, emotional, and spiritual growth. Invest in yourself by pursuing your passions, hobbies, and lifestyle choices. Take steps to secure your financial future, set goals, and take calculated risks.
Blended Families: The Secret Sauce
Be willing to compromise. With blended families, there are many personalities and needs to navigate. Be open to hearing your partner’s concerns and have the flexibility to compromise when needed. Yes, a divorce legally ends a marriage, but if there are children involved, there will always be an ex-spouse to deal with on the sidelines.
Don’t count on peaceful compromises or bright shiny co-parenting agreements. If your new spouse has minor children with an ex, things will get challenging! The best advice I can give is to keep your focus on your marriage. Children grow up, and ex-spouses eventually fade into the background.
Remember that a healthy supportive marriage is the goal, even when blended family issues feel ridiculous. Your spouse is dealing with plenty of big negative emotions as well, try to take the pressure off him by having an understanding supportive attitude.
Tips For Dealing With Marriage Conflicts
Choosing your battles. Not all issues are worth fighting over. Sometimes, it is better to choose your battles rather than getting into an argument over everything. By the time we reach the age of 50, we should be able to discern if something is worth a fight.
As an adult, you know that difference of opinion is natural. You may not always agree with your spouse, but respect their opinions, and try to find a middle ground
Remember, your new spouse has had decades of growth that have happened without you. Give him room to be himself without endless challenges.
Patience is Still a Virtue
You didn’t start your young adult married life with him, you are both different people than you were in your first marriage. Both of you have developed routines and preferences that might be annoying or confusing. Unless it is something big, like character or moral issues, try to refrain from commenting on his unusual method of storing his socks.
Actively listening. When your partner is speaking, listen carefully, with empathy and openness. Avoid interrupting or dismissing their feelings. There is nothing more frustrating than feeling like you are not getting a chance to share your needs. Be aware of any tendency to jump into problem-solving mode too quickly. Most of us just want someone to listen to our thoughts and give us empathy.
If you’re thinking about a second marriage after 50, go for it! Yes, you will have challenges and conflicts, but all marriages have difficulties. Please note: If there are obvious red flags in your relationship, then you owe it to yourself to slow things down and get help from a qualified mental health professional. Marrying someone does not solve problems, you must explore all the concerning issues before making it legal.
Getting re-married after 50 can be challenging, but it is possible to have a successful and happy partnership. Don’t let uncertainty keep you from pursuing something special – it’s never too late to find the love of your life!
I hope that this advice – keeping the communication lines open, nurturing the relationship, handling conflicts, and always investing in yourself – proves helpful as you start on this new journey. Keep in mind that, with patience, understanding, and a lot of love, a second marriage can be a beautiful and rewarding experience.
Have you been married again after the age of 50? Leave your best advice in the comments!
Melane Ann is a writer, blogger, and life coach. In 2020, she turned her experience in midlife divorce and creating a new life for herself into midlifeismagical. With a master's in Marriage and Family Therapy, Melane focuses on helping women over 50 navigate their relationships and commit to healthy aging. She and her new husband share 7 children between them. Melane jokes that she has a black belt in blended families! In addition to her writing, Melane works virtually with her coaching clients from her home office.