10 Painfully Honest Reasons Second Marriages Are More Likely To Fail

Here are the reasons why divorce is more common for second marriages.

unhappy couple sitting together YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV / Shutterstock

After you divorce, you may think you will never get married again, but all of a sudden you meet Mr. Right. You’re so happy and everything seems so perfect.

Before you take the plunge and say yes to getting married, you need to be aware of the answer to a very important question: "Why do second marriages fail so often?"

Relationships are difficult and second marriages are even harder. 

RELATED: The Month Most People Get Divorced — And Why


What percentage of second marriages fail?

The Centers for Disease Control found that within five years of a first divorce, approximately 75 percent of women and 80 percent of men get married for a second time.

U.S. Census data from 2020 found that 50 percent of first marriages and 60 percent of second marriages end in divorce.

Many couples who marry for a second time will divorce in less than eight years

No one goes into marriage thinking they are going to get divorced, but then why are the statistics so high for couples divorcing in second marriages?

When you learn the reasons that second marriages don’t succeed you can be proactive and not be another statistic. 


Here are 10 painfully honest reasons second marriages are more likely to fail:

1. Co-parenting in step-families is difficult

When couples have children from previous marriages and relationships, there can be loyalty and rivalry issues.

For example, "Do we treat all of the children the same and fairly, or are my children my favorite and a priority?"

In addition, since these children are from first marriages, the couple doesn't have children to "bind them together" and create stability in the second marriage. 

2. Ex-spouses can still be the priority

In second marriages, sometimes the ex-spouse is still the priority, even when the new spouse should be. If the new couple doesn’t prioritize one another, fights will occur.


Of course, if there are children from the first relationship, there will need to be communication between the ex-spouses, and how that communication happens will need to be discussed in the new couple system.

Some ex-spouses may be jealous of your new relationship and try to do or say something to sabotage it.

For example, some ex-spouses will drag their partner back into court which can create a strain on the second marriage in many ways, such as financial and emotional. 

RELATED: Getting Divorced Saved My Life: 3 Critical Things I Learned

3. There's baggage

If your first marriage ended in divorce due to your spouse having an affair, this issue might impact your second marriage.


For example, you will have more difficulty trusting your new partner and have fears about your new spouse having friendships with people of the opposite gender.



4. Money issues

Money is a major source of conflict in second marriages. You will need to discuss if you pay alimony and child support and how that will impact your financial resources and allocations.

Many women have careers and do not count on men (as much as in the past) for financial support. Therefore, women are more likely to file for divorce now because they aren't worried about how they will financially support themselves. 


5. You notice the signs and stigma

Frequently, when you've been divorced once, you will quickly see the signs that the relationship is not working out and possibly be less willing to give your partner extra chances to stop cheating, drinking, gambling, or yelling.

Also, after being divorced, you may feel there's less of a stigma to divorce so you might be less worried about what others will say or think. 

RELATED: 11 Signs You're Going To Get Divorced (Before You Even Marry Him)

6. You haven't worked through the negative feelings

If you or your partner have many negative feelings about the first marriage, such as anger, resentment, hate, or self-righteousness, you should work through those feelings to keep them out of the second relationship.


These negative feelings can taint your perspective, attitude, and thoughts about your partner.

7. You may not notice patterns due to familiarity

Dr. Stan Tatkin in his book, Wired for Dating, explains how people pick partners that are familiar to them.

Sometimes, the reasons you're attracted to your partners may not be the best decision or choice for you.

Dr. Tatkin suggests that you vet your partner by bringing your partner to meet a trusted family member or friend and ask their opinion. Sometimes, you might have difficulty seeing traits about your partner that your family or friends can observe. 

8. You're on a rebound

Sometimes, people jump into a new relationship to take away the pain or distract themselves from the divorce.


Rebound relationships may or may not last, but the bottom line is that if you do not take time to heal or reflect on your first marriage then this relationship might not last either.

9. You have a fear of being alone

Fear of being alone or feeling sad that you're alone are real feelings and need to be addressed with friends, in a divorce support group, or with a therapist.



Feeling lonely is not a good reason to get married and a reason your second marriage might fail. 


10. You tend to blame

If you blamed your ex for all of the problems in your marriage and took no responsibility, you will probably wind up blaming this new spouse for the same issues.

Blaming your partner and not being able to look at your role in the relationship challenges will lead to divorce. 

Learning why second marriages fail so often ensures that you don't repeat the same patterns from your first marriage.

Don’t be a statistic. Be aware of these signs so your second marriage succeeds and you spend many happy years together.

RELATED: The 5 Most Common Reasons People Get Divorced (& 5 Unusually Specific Ones)

Lisa Rabinowitz, LCPC is a licensed counselor, a Certified Gottman Couples Therapist, and a PACT Level 3 who works with couples to develop more secure attachment styles for healthy, happy relationships.