Statistically speaking

In my divorce recovery course, the topic of last week’s meeting was ‘New Relationships’. During the lecture, they trotted out a whole lot of numbers, like the percentage of divorced people who eventually remarry and the disturbingly high percentage of second marriages that fail*. It seems it’s not a particularly good idea to get involved in a relationship too soon after your marriage has gone swimming with the sewer alligators.

But how soon is “too soon”? How long before you are “ready” to hit the dating scene again? This is where it got really interesting, because according to the speaker, you need to wait about one year for every four years that you’ve been married.

The sudden pressure drop in the room caused by twenty sets of lungs simultaneously drawing a disbelieving breath was enough to make my ears pop momentarily. My initial reaction (after doing some hasty mental arithmetic) was “Hmm… that gives me a good few years to kick back before anyone suspects that I’m just loafing, not recovering”. It was immediately obvious, however, that nobody else shared my point of view. When the initial shock had worn off a bit, I noticed at least two thirds of the people furtively glancing around in manner that clearly suggested they had fallen foul of the 4:1 ratio.

Gluttons for punishment, apparently.

* We’re all fucked, basically.

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36 thoughts on “Statistically speaking

  1. Oh come on, everybody needs a good rebound victim, someone we can tell “I don’t think I’m ready for anything meaningful just yet, but it’s not you – it’s me. Now… surely that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun, does it?”… and hope to get away with it.

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  2. 1 year for every 4… that gives me a year and a half… which is spot on. It being 18 months this month. I am now ready to ‘move on’… not that I didn’t know that already.
    And Anne, those meaningless one-night bumps in the road (okay, just the one) definitley did the trick.

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  3. Forgive me, but I can’t stop laughing over here. You write so well with the funny tone … that I feel like I am watching a funny movie about divorce. And I can see U in the group with a big happy smile on your face preparing for relationship vacation. LOL. ; )

    What I am trying to say here is that U should quit your day job & go to hollywood. Write for the movies … help us to laugh, since we are all (*) 4 sure.

    On the dark side. After every relationship, I have, I take 7 years to bounce back. The worst is no one-night bumps in between. Am I beyond help?

    Smooch,
    The Tart
    ; )

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  4. anne: You’re Doctor Evil’s love child, aren’t you?

    M: New pick-up line for a jaded generation: “You wanna be my meaningless bump in the road?”

    The Tart: 7 years? That is pretty serious, although if the Cornish Litany is anything to go by, there are many people who would prefer to avoid things that go bump in the night.

    andrea: If I was to extend that metaphor, I’d say I have a toothache.

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  5. Statistics really are only meaningful for large groups, as there are exceptions to everything. But you can learn something from the numbers. Most importantly, know thyself, and you’ll have YOUR number.

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  6. Why rush? I waited eight years after being married 5 and a half. Great eight years they were too!

    Relationships are relationships, ring or no. I sometimes feel that unmarried people appreciate one another more.

    Hang in and enjoy the freedom!

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  7. My Mother is on the phone now & laughing out loud! (What can I say, we Tarts just see things in a funny light!) We both loved your bumps reply ~ Mom is an English Teacher, we googled Cornish Litany to ensure we were on the same page. ; )

    Never the less, go to Hollywood dude!! We would go to your movies.

    Smooch,
    The Tart

    BTW, U have a new fan in Texas, my Mom. ; )

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  8. I know your post was somewhat tongue in cheek, so forgive a semi-serious response.

    My last ex and I broke up because I moved away and didnt want to do long distance. This was my choice not his.

    A month later, I met this wonderful guy (J) who asked me out and I turned him down, saying I was just out of a relationship and tended to hurt nice boys like himself.

    J persued me for a little more than a month, and every time we went out drinking, we ended the night snogging, and I’d say good by repeating my warning.

    Over four years later, J and I are still together. One different continents, apart for six months now, and I have never ever contemplated ending it because its too hard to be apart.

    My point: you cant anticipate when you’re going to meet someone special. Oh, and I just hate rules and ratios for relationships!

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  9. My 7 years of marriage were followed almost immediately by a relationship which started out as a bump in the road! 🙂

    I am now happily ‘unmarried’ and living with my partner and our son. She too is a divorcee, both of us having been cheated on by our previous partners.

    Does this affect the 4:1 formula KN?

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  10. Ditto by Kate. Rule and ratios are for spreadsheet makers. Gluttons for punishment or just frisky risk takers. Dance to the light of your moon K.

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  11. As far as your footnote goes…. the problem is that you all aren’t.

    I wouldn’t take those statistics all that seriously. You take happiness where you find it. When they tell you that half of all marriages end in divorce, just remember the other half also, and thats even worse. I’ve done both.

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  12. statistics schmatistics!

    I waited 6yrs to remarry after a 10 year stint. A little over cautious maybe but my ex is married to my wife’s ex…..you do the math.

    I think that half of the 2nd marriages fail because people don’t apply the hard lessons learned during the first marriage when they are usually young and they still believe in the whole fairy tale thing.

    There is certainly no rush but you’ll know when you’re ready. Phone George Clooney and find out his secret.

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  13. Hey – my Hubby is on his second marriage – and we are doing JUST FINE!!!
    Anyway, everybody knows that 86% of stats lie, or is 68%, no, wait I think it 76%..or is that they are made up….

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  14. IITQ: Thanks. It’s also useful to remember that it’s better to be pissed off than pissed on.

    Rrramone: Stats are also only meaningful in hindsight – a sort of mathematical “I told you so”.

    Inyoka: I’m in no particular hurry to step into the ring again.

    Ol’ Hoss: So true. The only thing you HAVE to do is die. Everything else is a choice.

    The Tart: Just call me Frankie & tell your mom I said “Hi”.

    Kate: Somewhat? SOMEWHAT? Huh! Incidentally, while some people may enjoy being statistical anomalies, I prefer to ride the curve

    DelBoy: Couldn’t say, Del. I read somewhere that the three basic principles of Sociology are as follows:
    1. People do stuff
    2. We don’t know why
    3. Test on Monday

    The Doll: I LOVE spreadsheets. With regard to the whole “moon” thing: dancing with your pants down can be a risky exercise.

    Miss Cellania: I can only imagine. That’s harsh.

    homo escapeons: Always assuming, of course, that people actually learned something. By the way, I phoned George Clooney and you know what he told me? I can’t tell you, it’s a secret.

    New Mom: You’d be amazed what I can stop with these shoes.

    Spookie: Glad to hear it – about your marriage, I mean.

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  15. OMG…have a freshly-divorced friend who needs to read the range of back-chatter here, and Our Host’s witty retorts and rejoinders.

    Kyknoord, I’m with the Tart and her Mom — when oh when will you write that screenplay?

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  16. LOL, yup THAT song would come to your mind! ; )
    Yoga is really shaking things up around here.
    Maybe The Div Rec Group should do yoga one night as they further explore the %s.

    Smooch,
    The Tart

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  17. You ARE a hoot, Kyk!

    I don’t think the statistics lie, but I don’t think we need to live by them or in fear of them either.

    Everyone does this differently. When my ex and I split in 2000 or so, and I left the house, a guy started showing up there within two weeks. Not a great message for my two kids who were with her.

    I, on the other hand, was introduced to a gorgeous but troubled woman within a week after the split and I chased her and her problems around for almost two years!

    Been there, done that with several women since then, hurting some, being hurt by others. It’s all part of the plan, Stan.

    We need what we need and we do what we do to get what we think we need. Statistics or caution aren’t going to change that, because this stuff is all ruled by the heart.

    This can’t be an easy time for you, but your sense of humor is unbelievable and will help you through it.

    You can see that cutie over in the corner of the divorce recovery room right now…

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  18. angel: Fools rush in and all that?

    Lori Witzel: The more the merrier. Always happy to have a fellow sufferer along for the ride. As far as the screenplay goes, I’ll have to get back to you on that.

    The Tart: I think they’ve suffered enough.

    Within, Without: I see you opted to take the practical module. I looks like it’s a lot tougher than the theoretical one that I’m doing. By the way, that cutie over in the corner – that would be me.

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  19. Well I am not to sure how accurate the Stats are (can you remember when they went around the country awhile ago counting the people – they still haven’t found us – ok so that means Im not a statistic – cool). Anyways, when you are ready, you will know it, so don’t be in a hurry you dont need some stat to say when you are ready – Do You!

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  20. Does their statistical analysis include how long the relationship was over before it was over?
    All this is relative. I am 6 months out of an 8 year relationship which probably fell to pieces 6 years in. I am in a relationship I avoided for 3 months because I was concerned that I may be rebounding. I nearly lost someone who is worth it. My ex was not.
    All divorce advice is based on a law of averages. Some of us are simply not average.

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  21. bikini girl: The very same.

    Blogg Hopper: The divorce stats are based on figures provided by the state, so you can draw your own conclusions there.

    Lee: The Dark Side of the Force is strong in this one.

    Jam: I think it’s based on how long you’ve been “apart”, presumably that includes emotional distance as well as physical. Glad you didn’t lose your someone.

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  22. Kyk… I think you could set up your own divorce recovery group with eveyone that you have managed to hook here 🙂 When you do, let me know… this could be sooooo much fun.

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  23. hmm, statistics. On the one hand, you could say that since 100% of all people who get married will eventually die, marriage is fatal. On the other hand, you have different fingers.

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  24. My Sweetheart and I have certainly broken that rule, but we think we have learned some things from the chaos that preceded….let’s hope so!

    As for you, enjoy life as opportunities present–rules are made to be broken. Best wishes!

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  25. M: As with the yoga class suggestion, the temptation to mess with people’s minds would be too great. I only use my power for evil.

    moonflake: Marriage, carrots, water – you name it. Life is a veritable death-trap. And a thumb. Don’t forget the thumb.

    3T: Hmmm… the thick plottens.

    sophie: I wouldn’t think it’s so much a rule as a guideline. Many people are more comfortable with a definite answer than something like, “you’ll know when the time is right”.

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