Found this in my drafts from August 2010; so, figured I'd post it...
So, I'm in my thirties and most of the people I know, went to school with, etc... they're married. Or, like me, have been married and are no longer. But we all had that day where we thought we were setting off down the path to "Happily Ever After;" only to find that 'Ever After' wasn't the same thing as forever. Yesterday, while getting brunch with a friend of mine, I picked up the Ladies Home Journal in her car. Christie Brinkley was on the cover; the article covered her fourth divorce. Four. Divorces. Surely she has to be asking herself the question that I think all divorcees ask themselves at some point: "When it comes to love and companionship; is 'Happily Ever After' really in my future?"
And on the surface, it's a tough question to answer. If you look at the statistics, the odds say it's basically a coin-toss. The 'marriage rate' is 7.1:1000 (total population) and the 'divorce rate' is 3.5:1000. So, basically, just shy of half of all marriages are tracking for divorce. And out of those that stay married? Not all of them say they'd do it again... in fact, only 85% of married women said they'd marry their husbands all over again (if they had the chance). Doesn't exactly inspire confidence in forever, does it? Maybe that's why co-habitation is on the rise in the emerging young adults of today... the percentages over doubling since 2002 (61% vs. 30% in 1992).
Of course, simply avoiding the "constriction" of "I dos" isn't a sure-fire method to eternal bliss... in fact, it might be quite the opposite. The Goldie Hawns/Kurt Russells of the world aside? Less than 1/3rd of co-habitating couples in the United States will stay in that relational state. More than half of those would ultimately walk down the aisle; and after they become Mr. & Mrs? Close to 90% will end up in divorce court before their 5th anniversary (1). Researchers surmised that this was due, in part, to a mindset that forms prior to marriage of "serial cohabitation." They cited that most people that lived together prior to marriage had done so with more than one partner prior to tying the knot; so the concept of permanence had already been distorted. But, if that's true, what does that say for people like Christy Brinkley... or people like my divorced friends and I? We've been married, we've been divorced... is our view of 'ever after' now distorted, too?? How do you know?
(1) according to a study done by Cornell and put out by Demography in 2006