Study Says Marrying After THIS Age Will Lead To Divorce

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PLUS: the magic age to get married.

People used to be encouraged to wait until they got older to marry. Countless number of parents asked, "Why can't you wait a while? Why do you want to rush it?"

The older, the better was the philosophy. The relationship between age at marriage and divorce risk was almost always linear: the older you were, the less chance you'd get divorced. 

But now, new data suggests that those who marry after their early thirties are more likely to divorce than those who marry in their late twenties, according to Nicholas H Wolfinger, a University of Utah sociologist. Wolfinger concluded that there's actually such a thing as waiting too long, and there's a sweet spot of relationship longevity.

Someone who gets married when they're 20 years old is 50 percent more likely to get divorced than someone who gets married when they're 25. And each additional year you wait to get married reduces the odds of getting divorced by about 11 percent — until you hit 32, and the trouble starts. Your odds (of divorce) start to go up.

No, it hasn't always been this way.

Wolfinger says, "This is a big change ... it's only recently that thirty-something marriage started to incur a higher divorce risk. It appears to be a trend that's gradually developed over the past twenty years: a study based on 2002 data, observed that the divorce risk for people who married in their thirties was flattening out, rather than continuing to decline through that decade of life as it previously had."

So, does the experience of staying unmarried well past the age of 30 somehow make people unfit for lasting marriage?

If you've had many boyfriends or girlfriends, your exes might interfere with your marriage and may tempt you with being unfaithful. If you've had children with one or more of your exes, there could be major baby mama drama.

"Having multiple sex partners prior to marriage significantly increases the chances of getting divorced," says Wolfinger. But this still doesn't explain why thirty-something marriages now have higher divorce rates than do unions formed in late twenties.

Wolfinger has another theory: "My money is on a selection effect: the kinds of people who wait until their thirties to get married may be the kinds of people who are predisposed toward doing well in their marriages.

For instance, some people seem to be congenitally cantankerous. Such people naturally have trouble with interpersonal relationships. Consequently, they delay marriage, often because they can't find anyone willing to marry them. When they do tie the knot, their marriages are automatically at high risk for divorce."

It could be that some of the thirty-somethings who would've been good marriage material — not congenitally cantankerous — are perfectly happy being single, or living with a partner out of wedlock. 

All they know for sure is that people who marry in their thirties are now at a great risk of divorce than people who wed in their late twenties. 

As if you didn't have enough things to worry about.


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