real life

Getting married again. And again. And again. Is that okay?

Kate Winslet and Ned Rocknroll, her third husband.

What would you call a woman who’s been married three times before she’s 40? Impulsive? Opportunistic? Unlucky? Careless? Optimistic?  Brave? A hopeless romantic?

Kim Kardashian has just been married for the third time. She’s 33. That’s a lot. How did she fit it in? She’s pretty much been married every few years of her adult life.

And she’s not alone. So has Kate Winslet and she’s only 38. Tara Moss, too. And she’s just 40.

I remember a time when people would speak in hushed tones about couples divorcing once. Let alone twice. And then going in for another marriage. I’m quite exhausted just thinking about it.

Look at the photo of Kate Winslet to the left and tell me if you’re not tired after reading this:

Kate Winslet was married after she filmed Titanic. It lasted a couple of years; not long after their baby was born, they were divorced. Soon after, she was married again for seven years and had another baby.

Recently they were divorced and she married a bloke who goes by the name Ned Rocknroll and they have a new baby. Her life hasn’t had distinct chapters titled career or motherhood but surely there’s a vague shift between marriages? That aside, anyone who doesn’t immediately marry a man with the surname Rocknroll, is crazy.

Or perhaps these are just long-term relationships with a ring on them. Imagine if you married everyone you had a long term relationship with? Is that what these women have done?

But this isn’t just about celebrities. Saying ‘I Do’ again (and again) – no matter who you are –  isn’t nearly as taboo as it once was.

Marriage seems to have lost its magic. In a good way. For too long, pledging love was about staying married forever and sitting through years of a relationship that may be filled with abuse, hatred, boredom or duty. And if people did get out and find love again, a second marriage wasn’t really the done thing. Divorcees had ‘partners’.

The ABS says the probability that a marriage will end in divorce has been increasing over time. Around 33% of all marriages entered into in 2000–2002 will end in divorce. That’s about one in three. In America, it’s one in two. (So, if you have a choice, get married here, not there). But they don’t say anything about getting divorced twice and following it up with a third marriage. Surely those odds can’t be great.

Kim Kardashian was married last weekend. This is her third marriage.

I have a friend who is in her late thirties and has been divorced twice. She’s beautiful and clever. And young. But has she used up her leave passes?

She certainly doesn’t think so and she’s up for it. Even the wedding. Imagine doing it all over again. With different partners. And different families. “Til death do us part.” Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Apparently the first and second marriage are the ones most fraught with danger. We’ve all seen first marriages fail; it’s not uncommon. Two young lovers grow up and grow out. But what happens between marriage two and three?

If you’re of the third marriage variety, apparently this is how it plays out for you:

First marriage? The spouse’s fault.

Second marriage? Your fault.

Third marriage? Bingo.

But all by 40? Wowsers. That’s a lot of up’s and down’s and a hell of a lot of paperwork every few years. Of course, we’d all like to think we’ll be married forever. Otherwise, what’s the point in getting married?

Getting married is a big deal. In many cases, it’s the biggest deal. And that’s why there’s nothing wrong with giving it another go.  And another go after that. Because everyone craves a piece of the simple life. A loved life. And the idea of marriage is part of that. Our lives are filled with complicated, claustrophobic commitments and the idea of marriage offers a perfect slice of simplicity.

Do you agree that we’re seeing more third marriages than ever before? Do you think couples have a better chance at a successful marriage third time around?