Lisa Solod

Lisa Solod
Savannah, Georgia, USA
January 03
Writer, Mother, Mother, Writer Visit me at

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SEPTEMBER 17, 2009 2:45PM

This Just In: Women Over 50 Find it Hard to Remarry

Rate: 28 Flag





Okay, perhaps the New York Times article that graced the front page of the Style section recently deserves a little more parsing than that.


            But really.  Like that other scary statistic that turned out to be wrong—remember the one about women over forty being as likely to get hit by a terrorist’s bomb as to marry?  That one had women running like banshees to get hitched  to anyone they could or contemplating that perhaps marrying out of terror was pretty much the same as getting killed by a terrorist—I suspect this one will somehow be debunked in some way, too.  Or perhaps not, as it hasn’t gotten nearly the play as the last scare tactic.

According to the Times,  “the ‘remarriage gap’ for women is far wider than it is for men…the biggest gap of any age group.”

That may well be because men have a tendency to marry down, both in age and intelligence, while women marry up.  Or it could be due to the simple fact that when a woman divorces in middle age, the very last thing she wants to do is get married again.

Of course that theory is never explored.

Instead, the Times interviews a very sincere woman minister (who is appropriately photographed with her hands folded as if in prayer) who spends much of her time cooking splendid meals for herself and calling her daughter to tell her about them. She tried the usual internet dating sites and has had only middling success; she is apparently too tall, too serious, and not willing to lie about her age.

In other words she sounds like a normal, healthy, middle aged woman; she’s not willing to play games just to get a date.

I divorced the first time at 49 and had a pretty good time dating.  That might have been because I got in under the wire of the dreaded Five O.  I’ll never know.  But then, two-and-a-half years ago, I met a man with whom I fell in love.  Rather than just going with that wonderful feeling, however, I accepted his proposal.

Looking out the rear window of being separated yet again and heading for my second divorce, I know full well I should have stuck with the relationship as love affair.  I won’t go into my reasons for marrying, except to say that all things considered it seemed like a good idea at the time.  But what I found out is that I don’t much like the married state any more than I did the first time. And I suspect that now I am not very good at it.

The first time I was not yet thirty and wanted children.  I married and had them and tried my best to make the relationship work. It ultimately didn’t.  The second time I don’t think I realized how much I need my own space and a certain amount of quiet and privacy every day.  As much as I might love a man, I really really do not want him around 24-7.  I don’t want to sleep beside a man who snores.  I do not want to cook dinner every night.  I do not want conversation when I want to read.  I want nights out with girlfriends without explanation, I want alone time with my daughter in the house, I want to eat apples and peanut butter and watch HGTV.

I also, of course, would very much like a lover.  A man in my bed. Sometimes.  Someone to see a flick and catch a meal with.  Someone to travel with. And definitely someone to rub my feet while we watch television.

But I don’t think at this point in my life that means marriage. And I know a large amount of single and married women in their fifties who feel the same way. They decry the lack of alone time, the bed wars, and the daily dinners. They are tired of not being able to just drop down on the couch after a long day and flip the remote themselves. They are very tired of not being appreciated for all they do by the men who promised—some long time ago—to do just that.

 I married my lover and for a hundred reasons, some of which had to do with being married and many which did not,  it all went to hell.  It might well have gone to hell anyway—in fact I feel that it would have—but getting out of a marriage is a whole lot harder than getting out of a relationship.  The pain and the guilt are worse, too.

When I divorced my first husband I said I would never marry again.  But I did.  Now both my lawyer and my therapist have made me promise to call them if I get a cockamamie idea like that again—at least in the next five years.

On the other hand, I don’t think I have to worry:   According to research, I am now into my fifties and part of the statistical norm. It’s unlikely to happen which takes a load off my mind.



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My therapist made me make similar promises; every two weeks he checks my cell to see if he's still on speed-dial. rAted!
Loved this and love you for all the reasons you stated why you don't want to be married and would rather have a lover. You and I are a match made in heaven! xoxo
When I divorced in my barely forties, my "good" friends told me, "Mary, no man is going to want you with four kids in your forties!" Remarriage was the last thing on my mind. Ask me if I cared. I didn't. The fact that I remarried in under a year to a lover of a man six years younger who "took me on" with 4 teenage kids is unimportant. The attitudes suck. Having said that, and I'm happily remarried now for almost 9 years, given the legal ramifications of second marriages that often involve children, and the over 70% divorce rate of these marriages, people would be wise to reconsider the whole concept of "marriage". The premarital agreements and now postnups agreements are necessary, but expensive and complicated. Great post Lisa.
They say that you keep marrying the same person every time, only you don't know it at first. I prefer older, more mature and intelligent women myself, but maybe that's just me. But I think one of the big problems is that at a certain mature age, men and women get set in their ways and it's too hard to change.

Omigod, this should be an E.P.

You took the words right out of my brain!

No, seriously. OUT! Out the door! Go!

I could have written this: "Looking out the rear window of being separated yet again and heading for my second divorce, I know full well I should have stuck with the relationship as love affair. I won’t go into my reasons for marrying, except to say that all things considered it seemed like a good idea at the time."

Actually, I could have pretty much written the whole thing...

Sorry you're going through this too. Hugs.
This rings so true, Lisa. (And you know that I blogged on the joys of being alone, so I am on your wavelength.) That said, I married for the second time in my 50s and it was heavenly. Unfortunately, he died. But it has changed my thinking since.

Right now I'm in the first serious relationship in a long time, and I'm 60-something. He is a great guy, age appropriate. But it's been about seven years since my last really serious relationship -- kind of scary and strange and my cat can't cope with it. ;)

I think since you are charming and funny and bright you'll attract someone, no matter what your age. But as you get older the urge to merge lessens, at least it has for me. And that is a blessing.
I am balking. I like solitude. But it's fun to be in that position.

You'll find lots to enjoy, and someone if you really want someone. You might not.
I've said this before elsewhere, but overall I think marriage is just too hard. Great post.
It looks to me that your mistake was not to get married again, so you should not rule it out since that is obviously (from reading this) what you really want.

You just married the wrong guy, and possibly guys.

One thing about a woman over 50 is that she should be very wise based on her experiences of life. You have raised children and gone through a lot that life has to offer.

Yet, the guy you just dumped wouldn't give you the "space" you need. That's not his fault. That's his personality. The "space" and cooking ("I don't want to cook dinner every night") issues bothered you. You either didn't include it within your criteria for marriage, or you have come to realize that. You should have enough experience and confidence in yourself by this age to demand what you want from another person in your life. And if the guy you want to be with won't do that for you, or with you, then keep on looking.

Chances are there is a man out there wanting to do and have the same things as you, whether younger or older. You can use your past experience, both good and bad, with marriage, and get out there and do your best to find him. You have the advantage that age is not an issue in what you are looking for.

To me, the vast majority women over 40 are all about personality and ability. They know there is more to life than what kind of car a man drives, where he works, and which bars he frequents. They don't have little kids to deal with and can lead their own lives and go places, and be responsible at their work and interacting with others. There is a lot of value in that.

I love looking at attractive women from teens to upper 30's. Even into middle age, it is still an obsession with me to the point of spying on them with binoculars and trying to see up or down their clothing in public places at every opportunity. They have much more appeal when I'm not listening to them. It is what they have on their unique bodies that appeals to me.

Yet, when they lose their attractive appearance and grow up in terms of experience, it's all about what they have to offer as a person - for the first time.

You seem to fit the mold. Just because you haven't found the right man for you at this stage of your life does not mean you should not try. All that can change is that your life will be better than ever.
My grandmother got married for the second time when she was over eighty years old. The fellow she married was a little older than she was, and he had NEVER been married before - my grandmother was a very persuasive woman. They had a couple of good years together before illness got in the way.
OMG! I did write this! It is sitting on Word and waiting for my final proof reading! You have saved me the trouble, because everything I wrote is already posted. I was divorced when I was 51, after 25 yrs of marriage. I will be 56 this weekend. All of these exact thoughts have passed through my mind.

I want to go to bed when I feel like it and get up when I want. I don't want to do their dirty skid marked laundry and I don't want to cook them dinner or breakfast. If there are dirty dishes in the sink, I do them when I feel like it! I deplore grocery shopping and reporting to someone about where I am going to be and with whom. I don't want to deal with anyone's idiot children (because, frankly, mine are perfect - all college educated and world travelers) and I certainly don't want to deal with their ex-wife. I don't want to deal with their cheating ways or their drinking (which are often the reasons men my age are divorced in the first place). Men my age can usually afford to buy their love from a younger version and that gives them the power and control the long for.

And I don't want them driving my Honda S2000!!! It's MINE, damn it!
i am really grateful that my parents told me the truth about their relationship before my head was filled with models that don't reflect reality. my mom was divorced before she married my dad (she did it to get out of the house and regretted it for a decade). and dad's parents were relieved when he met her because they were both in their thirties. this is why i dated my husband for over a decade before we tied the knot. it's not a guarantee, but i'm glad i didn't race into marriage like it was home plate.

and i'm glad you're writing about this. if more people were upfront about their real experiences, we wouldn't be so reliant on the model.
and who WANTS to get married after 50?
After 50, I'm just hoping to find it"hard"....
Thanks for warning me about the article. Won't read it and don't know if I would want to marry again. I am not crazy about being alone but seem to be getting better at it all the time ;0) Being lonely while single is not nearly as bad as being lonely while married and I had years of that. Marriage does not guarantee happiness.
I know what y0u mean. I'm now at that age that the only time women will look at me is if I have lots of money. Thank God, I' still married.

BTW, it is now a Post-Structualist World. Just saying.
Lisa, this is a great amplification of a news article with your personal experience. And I completely agree with you that the idea that a woman over 50 might not want to marry (or marry again) seems to slip right past a lot of people. hell, the fact that a woman under 50 might not want to marry slips past most of'em. I went thru this my entire adult (single) life and now that I live with my partner, I still get asked why I don't want to marry. You'd think I was cooking up plutonium in my kitchen or something for how puzzling it seems to a lot of people.

And yet, like you, I know many many divorced women who don't want to marry again, even if they do want a lover. It's not that unusual at all. And yet society just won't take in this reality and has to see all women as wanting marriage, at any age. Bah!
"After 50, I'm just hoping to find it"hard"...."


Anyway, great article. I've always wanted to bottle up the difference between having a lover and being married. It could even be that your lover lives with you and yet there's this difference on many occasions based solely on a piece of paper. This is not to demean the sanctity of marriage, but it's just to say that is it all just a state of mind?
...That may well be because men have a tendency to marry down, both in age and intelligence, while women marry up... know I love you...but but but that sentence! Um...noooooo. Marrying a woman is never marrying down. Never. I don't care what anyone says. Hands over ears. That idea is not one that should be proliferated...xox
You're not going to believe this, but I swear it's true. I was writing a paragraph today and I wanted to use the word cockamamie. Being too lazy to check a printed dictionary, I looked online, and every spelling I tried was incorrect. I finally gave up and used a different word. You've solved my problem -- and I thank you. Great post, by the way. I had not seen the Times piece.
"The second time I don’t think I realized how much I need my own space and a certain amount of quiet and privacy every day. As much as I might love a man, I really really do not want him around 24-7. I don’t want to sleep beside a man who snores. I do not want to cook dinner every night. I do not want conversation when I want to read. I want nights out with girlfriends without explanation, I want alone time with my daughter in the house, I want to eat apples and peanut butter and watch HGTV."

Just stopping by with the opposite view-point. I too want all of the things you listed above, but I am married, have been for nearly 22 years, and realize I am damned lucky! Take-home message being you've just got to be married to the right guy. Oh - and I'm 47.
Always interesting to see which essay gets the readers!

Cartouche: too bad you aren't a guy....

MaryT: You are very fortunate

John: I didn't marry the same person, but I realized that marriage has the same limitations. And you are right, I am not going to change much.

Deborah: Sorry about your brain. But see if you can get me that EP

Verbal: We need to take a vacation together:)

Susan: You are right. I urge people to wait. And wanting kids does change things.

JK: Indeed!

Lea: From your mouth to God's ears

Hells: Too hard for me, anyway.

I.C.: No, I don't think that is it. Before my second marriage I spelled out my needs, but things changed. And I can easily see myself in love again, maybe more than once, and doing fun things together, but WHY 24-7 and why marriage?

little: Wow, a man marrying for the first time in his 80s...

MAW: Neither of my men drank or ran around or anything awful like that; they were good and decent guys.... but the rest of it I am with you on.

bstrangely: my view is that if we were upfront about everything, from marriage to childbirth, we would be much better off.

Trig: Good point, although some do.

O'Really?: Too true and clever

whoopedo: Nothing, as far as I can tel, guarantees happiness:)

Trudge: Yes I know. Gotta talk to Ric:)

Silkstone: Thanks. I have been working on a book proposal...

Manchu: Dunno....

Robin: Girl! You know damn well what I meant. Women are not DOWN. Men marry women they perceive as less intelligent, and certainly want a younger woman (most of them, anyways). Don't give me grief:)

Steve: Thanks, and thrilled to be your spellcheck

blue: If you can have all of that and time and space and privacy and still be married and in love after 22 years, I award you the prize. Not sure what it is, but you get it!!
great post.

i've often wondered what part of my brain -- when I was 38, had been single for 14 years, and had a 16-year-old fabulous daughter -- malfunctioned and told me it was a GREAT idea to marry a guy with an entire bus full of mostly unpleasant kids. back then I think it was mostly about sex. if I had a viable choice at this point, it would certainly be about sanity. but no more marriages are in my future, thanks, ever. one of the few reasons I'm happy about being 50+.
I'm late to the party because I just spent four days hiking in the Grand Canyon with my spouse of 30+ years. We are both still alive and happily married, which surely is evidence that we have one of the few truly good marriages around.

That said, if I ever were widowed, I wouldn't marry again. I like being alone. I like living alone during the protracted periods when my husband is serving elsewhere. None of that is a comment on my current relationship; I love being married. But I have done this (and, I hope, done it well) and would want the next phase of my life to be doing something else.
My grandmother had a group of friends who were widowed fairly young (late forties, early fifties) and none of them remarried. Neither did my mother who was widowed at 49. My grandmother used to tell me that she never wanted to be beholden to another man, that they either wanted a mother or a maid and she was done being both. Sometimes I dream of being that person that can come home to peace and quiet, watch what I wish, wear what I wish, do what I wish. But then I tell myself to be careful what I wish for

Great post. Thank you for the perspective that women do not always want to remarry. In fact, I think more often they do not. And I'm tired of seeing these women over fifty portrayed as desperate.
provocative and fascinating comments all!
Goldie and Kurt have it right. As someone =several, mentioned, 'why marriage?' where's the benefit after children are out of the picture? Taxwise you get socked, legally you are bound - and although being bound can't be all bad in all ways, legally it's a bitch. If two are 'committed' and mean it, why get the government involved?
Great post, Lisa!

"Or it could be due to the simple fact that when a woman divorces in middle age, the very last thing she wants to do is get married again."

Why would this be so hard for so many to understand? Oh, I know many reasons and that might be fine for them, but what about how YOU feel?

"As much as I might love a man, I really really do not want him around 24-7. I don’t want to sleep beside a man who snores. I do not want to cook dinner every night. I do not want conversation when I want to read. I want nights out with girlfriends without explanation, I want alone time with my daughter in the house, I want to eat apples and peanut butter and watch HGTV."

Change the gender in this statement and you've described me to a tee. Thought I've never been married, I've had several live in relationships that didn't work out. I just don't want to be around ANYONE that much. You want to ruin a friendship? Just hang around with each other ALL of the time. Why would a relationship be any different. I've come to grips with the fact that I will probably never marry, but I do like to rub a woman's feet and watch TV. I'll even cook dinner, but 24/7? I don't think so. I know some who can do it, but I'm just not one of them.
One of my mother's friends debunked the whole idea of remarriage this way -- "It would just be cleaning some other man's socks." That just about says it all, alas ...
Most excellent article and fun to read. I think women over 50 are perceived as "desperate" because some men's egos just can't fathom that a woman could be happy without a man. Er, get real. I married late and I am happily married, but there are times when I would like to be single again. I think being single is greatly underrated and I miss my "alone" time more than I thought I would. I'm lucky that I have a lot of independence but still...I would have been just as happy to have a long-term relationship living apart. The Dutch have a great expression for it: LTA (living together apart). What a concept.
All those gay people really don't know what they're in for, do they?
My late night google of "Women who don't want to remarry" directed me right to your blog. A poignant reminder that I should be listening to *my* inner voice and needs, and carry on with my happy status quo. My inner economist is constantly doing the cost-benefit analysis of remarriage in my head... if it were a stock I wouldn't be too quick to invest!

PS. I recognize your name and picture -- FMAH, maybe? I was a member years ago. Dorothy.

That one, freighted word, I suspect, would be the response to this post by my girlfriend of a month (aged 57 yrs. to my 51), who has been mind-bogglingly gracious enough to hold my hand and more while I limp through the trauma of being separated, pending divorce, from my wife of five-plus years (aged 68 yrs. to my 51)...

Marriage is immensely hard... divorce but slightly less so; remarriage but a smidgen easier still... 'til comes divorce again, which feels hardest of all.

And yet, I relish and adore the intimate company of a woman. Women are the most awesome presences in this vast landscape we call life; I suspect they find themselves so; I along with the overwhelming majority of my male peers most certainly do.

Women: so alien, we can't live with 'em. Women: so ambrosial, we can't abide not living with 'em.

I am working now on how to win and keep that oh-so-delightfully paradisiacal proximity of ONE, without ever again suffering that gut-wrenching, mind-scrambling, soul-discombobulating marriage/divorce/re-marriage merry-go-round.
male and make this simple. Women find hard to remarry is true and some reason why. The six year rule applies, relationship aveage is six years. To keep your life simple then six year rule does not apply. Just want to have children is life to commintent women file for divorce 70% of the time. So much for women wanting commintent. makes alot of women Lairs to say the least. Women to not get every thing is connected to every thing you do. Women do not get be nice be nice be nice always. never be first person to case a stone then you have to life with that hear on earth and on the other side for ever. Think about for ever that is the way it is no matter what. The type of person you are here on earth is the way it is going to be on the other side for ever I recommend every one thing about this every day. If you are happy with your self then your spouse is the topping on the cake it is that easy. remember children of divorce parents after divorce will never see there other parent again you better think about that for ever, every day the rest of your life because that is the choice you made for your children. I will never go there and have yet to go there. get back to basic in your life and every thing is easy and simple it works every time
Not much to add to comments, just complete agreement that not all women need/want to marry/ any age. There is simply no space in my life for remarriage.
chilling. your comment is almost incomprehensible with its confused spelling and grammar and sentences that don't end or begin. I don't think you got the point of this. But I do need to point out that to generalize that children of divorce never see their father is ridiculous. That only happens in the worst of situations.... and often because the father either wants or deserves it. And of course there are all kind of unkind people in the world, but this article is not about that at al.
So much talk about staying single and having lovers. What about morals, values, integrity, God, and sin?
Are statistics for squares? I mean we on the edge, we bohemian artists and writers--why do we even read these statistics at all?

Since 50 I have had one, two, three great relations. The men were: in order: 5 years younger, 6 years younger, 30 years younger (the best!). Marriage never even crossed any of our minds. Thanks for this, hilarious and true stories!
It took a long while and repeated attempts to realize that I just don't do marriage well. Now in my 60's as lonely as I may feel sometime, I really can see no purpose in my remarrying. Thanks for a great essay! There are more of us than we know out there!
As a man over the age of 50 I see no point in remarrying. The main point is to find a good partner and if not you can enrich your life by making friends and taking part in other Community activities.