I’m not one to quote statistics. I’m not nerdy enough to compare studies and figure out possible skews, etc. I did look at a study on divorce recently, though, and was a little surprised by some of the results. I think most of us know already that 50% (more or less) of marriages end in divorce. That’s first marriages. No surprise there. I was surprised by the rate of divorce for second and third marriages. About 67% of second marriages end in divorce. And for third marriages the rate goes up to around 74%. It seems to me that after a failed first marriage, we would try really hard to get it right. I think we do. I know I did. My recent divorce was my second marriage. Maybe the surprise for me should be that it lasted for almost thirty years. The odds were against us. Will I try a third time? I think not. But I guess it’s good to know I’m in good company.
I learned how “not alone” I was when I started admitting that I was separated. “That happened to me.” became a common refrain. I went to the bank to set up my own accounts. When I told the banker what I was doing and why, she said, “That happened to me.” She became all the more helpful because she understood what was happening to me. She even gave me the name of her counselor. I was sitting in church one Sunday morning with a woman who said she hadn’t seen my husband in a while and wondered where he was. I told her and she said, with tears in her eyes, “That happened to me.” She took me to lunch one day that week. I could go on and on. There were so many that I started to call them “the sisterhood.”
I imagine there is a “brotherhood” out there, too. I wasn’t in a position to meet the “brothers.” The loud and clear message I got from the “sisters” was that each one’s husband had left her after having an affair (usually of undetermined length) with another woman. Typically a younger woman. And the husbands were almost all in the same age range as my husband, in their fifties.
It’s impossible for me not to think it was a midlife crisis. I did some research on the subject and discovered that D fit the profile almost to the letter. I showed him the profile and asked whether he could see himself in the writer’s description. His response: “How could I not?” And so it goes.