News of the impending split of Yolanda and David Foster leaves us with an important reminder: when it’s time to rise up from the ashes of a previous marriage and soar into your second, or third, or fourth, you should probably take it very seriously, because the odds are not exactly in your favor.
As my colleague Kate Dries tearfully explored following the split, the Fosters were together for 9 years (married for four). Their marriage, as depicted on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, was picturesque, if not entirely, you know, healthy-looking (Yolanda insisted on home-cooked dinners awaiting her “king,” as she actually referred to him). And they did all this with a blended family—David Foster has five kids from his previous marriages; Yolanda has three with ex-husband Mohamed Hadid, models/it girls Gigi and Bella Hadid and their younger brother, Anwar.
But as marriages go, this was not the first time around for either of them—it was David Foster’s fourth marriage, and Yolanda’s second. And each subsequent marriage comes with a higher risk of divorce than the previous. If first marriages come with a 50 percent divorce rate (depending on your age and affluence, it could be more like 33 percent), then consider this: second marriages jump as high as a 67 percent divorce rate, while third marriages are nearly 73 percent. I can’t even find a divorce rate for fourth marriages; it’s typically lumped in with the third.
Of course, people remarry all the time. Four in 10 new marriages are a second marriage for at least one person in the couple. So in spite of these odds, and while fewer people are getting married overall, those who’ve been married before are likely to do it again, particularly men. You would think that having experienced marriage already would equip you to go forth and remarry wisely—but while there are certainly loads of stories of people who married the wrong person and then found the right one later on, there are many good reasons why remarriage enthusiasm is ill-advised.
According to Psychology Today, which looked at the alarmingly high failure rates in second and third marriages, remarrying too soon and not taking time to really unpack what went wrong in the previous marriage is a big recipe for disaster. Another issue is the question of blended families—when there’s no common child to bridge these two groups of people, it can be difficult to establish bonds and truly anchor the partnership. On a grimly optimistic note, however, people in second+ marriages may realize sooner when things aren’t working, cutting out earlier and wasting less time than they would have the first time around.
While there are near-infinite factors that can lead to the end of a relationship, there was one issue in particular that had to have affected the Fosters’ marital harmony threatening their harmony: illness. Divorce is thought to be six percent more likely when the woman, rather than the man, falls ill. The reasons are pretty obvious, if deeply depressing: Women are more likely to want to take care of men, because they have been socially conditioned since birth to be nurturers and caregivers. Men? Not so much, though certainly there are many, many exceptions.
Yolanda was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2012, and a source told Us Weekly, “She just felt he wasn’t there for her when she needed him most.” Meanwhile, a source told Page Six that “David thinks Yolanda always plays the victim...and he got sick of it.”
The older we get, the more complicated our lives become, and the harder it is to truly merge with another person. This doesn’t at all mean that divorced individuals shouldn’t get to take another shot at commitment—just that they, like anyone, should probably take extra steps to ensure that they aren’t marrying a total asshole.
Image via Getty.