The recent comments to an older post caught my eye. The post is from March of this year, and is titled Are Women Done With Men After Age 55? I did some investigation, and found that this is surprisingly one of the blog’s all time most popular pages:
Most of those pages aren’t surprising. Lara Logan continues to be a top search term used to reach this site, and in the runup to the 60 minutes piece on her that post was getting incredible traffic from search engines. Somehow my post ended up being one of the main search results on Google for that. The post When Judging the performance goes wrong was popular in its own right, and then Heartiste linked to it the other week sending almost 3000 hits my way. Should I divorce him is evidently a commonly searched term, and Google has my post of the same title on the first page of results.
But the over 55 page has me perplexed. Normally I can see where the traffic is coming from. I don’t see either large numbers of hits via a link or a search engine. Wherever these hits are coming from, it is clearly a popular page. One thing I did notice is that Google and Bing both have that page high up in the search results for “women over 55 remarriage”. Google has it as the first link, and Bing has it at the bottom of the first page.
Wherever the traffic is coming from, I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise. Women’s declining marriage/remarriage rates as they get older are a lightning rod, as you can see in the post Rationalization Hamster 500! Few topics generate more hamster spinning than this one.
While searching around I noticed one of the top search results for the topic is an article on babyboomercaretaker.com titled How Many Divorced Women Over Age 55 Remarry? I don’t want to keep you in suspense, so here is what women who click on the link learn:
As a woman over 55, if you feel that divorce is you only option, then go for it without any doubts or qualms. You should not feel insecure because there is life even after 55. You can get into the dating scene without feeling bad as many women of the same age are doing so…
…very few women over 55 remarry because they love their independence and do not want to make changes so late in life. They are content being in a relationship but not in a marriage.
Spin glorious hamster! Yes, the reason women are less likely to both divorce and remarry as they get older has nothing to do with their declining power in the sexual marketplace. They are really just loving the dating game! Forget that the AARP survey found that middle age and older divorced women who don’t remarry are very often terribly alone (emphasis mine):
Almost 9 in 10 men (87%) dated after their divorce, compared to 8 in 10 women (79%)… Among those who dated after the divorce, more than half of men (54%) but fewer women remarried (39%). (Page 39)
Many women, especially those who have not remarried (69%), do not touch or hug at all sexually. An even larger majority of women who have not remarried do not engage in sexual intercourse (77% saying not at all), in comparison with about half of men (49%) who have not remarried. (Page 6)
Check out some of the other articles linked from that page for amusement. I suggest Biblical Advice Second Marriages, which opens with:
Having a second marriage is not always wrong. This is especially so when you are sure that your first marriage was a mistake and was not meant to be. Maybe, you will find your true love and the right person meant for you the second time round…
As says the Bible, learn to find happiness in your second marriage, if not your first marriage.
Both articles have an English as a second language feel, so perhaps this is a site designed to game the search engines for hits. Either way, it is sadly very standard fare.
The US Census Hamster Gets Into the Act
I noticed another prominent link when searching on remarriage rates for women over 55. This one is a poster from Rose Kreider at the US Census, titled Remarriage in the United States. It has a chart on page 4 which shows that remarriages are making up a smaller percentage of yearly marriages over time:
Then she shares data on remarriage rates for people who divorced over 20 years ago:
Most men and women marry within 5 years of divorce.
She makes this assertion even though her own data shows that this hasn’t been the case for women since the 1960s! She’s trotting out a myth that hasn’t been true for 40 years. While I (and evidently she) can’t find recent statistics on remarriage rates, we can see the footprint of the new reality on the system in the same SIPP data she is referencing. Per the 2009 table for non Hispanic whites, 39.4% of all white women in their 50s had ever divorced, and 18.3% of women in this demographic were currently divorced. Nearly 20% of all white women in the US in their 50s are experiencing Post Marital Spinsterhood. Given that these women came up during a time when remarriage was much easier, the future will likely be much worse for those women divorcing now. One other factor which would seem to make this worse is that remarriage opportunities for women decline greatly with age. This shows up in another chart from the same poster: