Women Who Choose to Remarry, What Happens?

July 9, 2013

After going through the pain of divorce, and the trials of establishing themselves again, no one would ever choose to remarry, right? Well, no. It seems that people feel that even though their first relationship failed, there is still hope for love, yet. In fact, more than three-fourths of divorced people choose to remarry or form a quasi-married relationship (Furstenberg). We are, it seems, a romantic people at heart.

The number of men who remarry is slightly higher than women, and this may be do to gendered assumptions about household labor. In a previous blog, we saw an example of a man who won custody, in part because he had a new wife who could provide adequate childcare. The assumptions about gender differences and roles often puts them in a privileged position when it comes to ideas about housework. Thus it works in their favor to remarry.

Women, on the other hand, seem to be more cautious. This has led to higher rates of cohabitation for those who still want a relationship, but perhaps do not want to remarry. Indeed, studies show that while cohabiting women still do a larger share of housework than men do, overall housework is more evenly split than amongst married couples. And further, cohabiting couples seek more gender parity when it comes to wage earning (Kelly). These women refuse to be placed in the same position in their new relationships as in their old relationships.

That position is one that undervalues their work as wives and mothers. A position where alimony is contested because a woman’s labor inside the home remains invisible even as it is recognized. Where women have to pick up extra shifts because child support does not go far enough. Then, because they work to provide for their families, they are villainized as bad mothers incapable of parenting. It is no wonder many women find themselves wary of remarriage.

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