More than one-quarter of middle-aged Canadians in a marriage or common-law relationship have already had at least one failed partnership, according to new data from Statistics Canada.
Using data from 2017, StatCan found that 26 per cent of married or common-law Canadians between the ages of 35 and 64 were in their second such relationship, at least. That number is up from 23 per cent in 2006, the last time data was collected.
There was not a significant difference in the number of multiple-partnership lives for men and women, but there was some geographical variation.
Quebec led the way when it came to repartnering. StatCan found that 36 per cent of partnered-up middle-aged people in that province were in at least their second marriage or common-law relationship. Ontarians were much less likely to have committed to multiple partners, with only 19 per cent saying they had. All other parts of the country were right around the national average.
On average, StatCan found, Canadians spend nearly five years single before repartnering, and then tend to stick with their new partners. Half of all previously separated adults they surveyed reported having been in their new relationship for at least 12 years.
People who have already been through one failed partnership also appear to be far more likely than the general public to prefer common-law relationships to marriage. Married Canadians outnumber common-law Canadians by nearly four to one, but the gap is much closer when it comes to repartnered middle-aged Canadians – only 18 per cent of whom married their new partner without first living with them in a common-law union.