Ellen M. Lerner
3 min readJan 13, 2022

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What is the Brutal Truth About a Third Marriage?

Well…I was only married once…for about a half a minute, so I can only tell you from the perspective of a few people I know who have been married three times.

First, of course there is a stigma attached. I think that's wrong. Some people don't hit the jackpot the first time…or the second…as human beings, I think we are lucky if we hit the ‘jackpot’ at all!

I will tell you two stories…

First, a dear friend of mine from college. I was actually a bridesmaid in his first wedding…(I was friends with both of them. ) I honestly think the reason that marriage did not last is because they were way too young. And although I feel he was ready, she however was not.

His second marriage was not a happy one. A ‘marriage of convenience’ you could say. Lots of expectations. No real love or affection. They did wind up having two, amazing and wonderful kids though.

Then he and I actually dated for a bit. He is a wonderful man, but I simply was not ready. It was right after my divorce and I had a lot to figure out. He was extremely understanding and kind. We are still friends to this day.

He met his third wife a little over ten years ago. He vowed he would never marry again. He was a bit ‘gun shy’ (you could say) and I don't blame him. But she was persistent. And most importantly she was head over heels in love with him! I guess you could say after close to ten years she wore him down. They have been happily married for a while now and I think this one is going to stick.

My second story I'll keep brief.

A couple I know got married quite young. It was very passionate and dramatic. They did not part on the best terms. They did share a young son, but he lived with his Mom the majority of the time. They each went on to marry other people. Neither were a success. Many, many years later they reconnected. I suppose lighting can indeed strike twice because they fell in love all over again in their early sixties and have been married ever since. They even tried to recreate certain things from their first wedding…but this time, they learned how to communicate better, there is hardly any drama, and they never forgot one another. (It's pretty amazing when you think about it…)

So yes, some would think it's a big, red flag. Some would say ‘why didn't you get it right the first time?’ I have heard the phrase ‘two time loser’ and I do not like that at all.

Timing is a huge factor. So is luck, I feel. You have to really work at a marriage…as my Mom always said ‘both people have to really want to be married, or it will never work.’ I think age and maturity also play a huge role, and so many other things as well…but the bottom line is this…there is no ‘brutal truth’ about a third marriage. Sometimes you have to kiss a bunch of frogs to find your prince. Sometimes you were unfortunately ‘duped’ by a not so good person. Perhaps you were too young and didn't really know yourself yet…maybe you simply had to grow the hell up. All that matters is if we are happy. And if the third marriage ends in a blaze of fire, at least you had the courage to try. Some people are ‘one and done’ people. They got hurt, put up a wall, and that's that. You may feel as if I am one of those people since I was so young when I married, and as I said, it was over before it began….and I decided to not get married again…(for now..) However..I am actually a hopeless romantic. I just happen to know myself extremely well. I could never settle. I know what I would need from a partner. And if it doesn't happen, I still feel as if I have been extremely lucky, and I have had a beautiful life…and if it takes three times, so be it.

Sometimes (as Paul Simon would say…) ‘You’ve got to learn how to fall…before you learn to fly.

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Ellen M. Lerner

My name is Ellen. I am a Composer. A Pianist and Vocalist. A Student. A Writer and most of all...I'm a Survivor.