All of which raises a question: should we be telling folks contemplating divorce to go ahead and do it because a wonderful second spouse is out there somewhere? Is the data just crappy? Or do we need to rethink our advice?
I tend to believe the percentages, though I've read they are 10 - 20% higher for first and second marriages. So, it varies, as all of those statistics do depending on how the questions were worded and who is reading and interpreting them? Maybe.
For certain couples, yes, I believe there is a chance and they should be told there is. For others, I do believe divorce is the best option.
Most of those left out there are damaged, including me, after the first marriage. Some have healed fairly well. Others, not so much, but it depends on their denial and ability to get help, as well as their personal issues. Let's face it. There are many factors that can make a person ineligible for marriage. There are few who meet our own personal requirements for a spouse.
When a marriage is harming one of the spouses, or both, I think it is best to get away from the pain and harm. Get into counseling and look for someone else. At the same time, it is a time of self-discovery and growth. It can be a wonderful opportunity. It's up to the individual.
I have seen very few troubled marriages that come here which are a good prospect for a group of folks like us to help reconcile. We can help them with encouragement and examples of recovery from the pain and harm of infidelity.
Those who come here are usually long past the stage where it is possible to reconcile without one partner becoming beaten down and destroyed by humility toward the persecutor, controller, or torturer. It's looked upon negatively when the WS is made to feel the depth of pain they have inflicted. I see no other way of them understanding what they are asking their BS to do for them.
Since the WS, in my mind, usually is the one who bears no empathy and little responsibility or suffering during and after an affair, I see their actions as intentionally causing harm. I don't think it is possible for them to feel anything except superior in reconciliation.
I think a good marriage does not include one spouse feeling superior or self-righteous. The trouble with that is, it negates my idea that the WS needs to feel the depth of pain they inflicted. It can actually never happen.
It is likely better to offer a divorce, break up the marriage and property accumulated, and part ways forever, while having contact only for the children's sake.
This allows the WS to follow their passion, while the BS can find a healing process that works for them and a new life which would likely be considerably happier, single or married.