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Parenting Stepchildren/Future of Marriage in United States..


Every single day when I check the news and tabloids, more and more and more couples are getting divorced. Regardless of whether they had kids or not. If they were even married in the first place.

As you say, marriage is one of the formats of relationships. But even long term serious relationships where people live together without marriage for 20-30 years, those are breaking up daily too regardless of whether they have kids or not.

We live in a world of social networks, smartphones, text messaging, instant messaging, video chat software, dating sites, sex/affair sites like Ashley Madison, internet pornography/pictures/movies available all over your phone/computer, strip clubs, porn stars and strippers coming to your house for dances, open relationships, open marriages, workplace/school romances/flirting, casual sex, frequent business trips to other destinations, prostitutes, escorts, bisexuality, threesomes, orgies, BDSM, wild sex, and even if your neighbors/friends/family/colleagues see cheating happening, no one ever blabs to no one else like in the old days, because it's really no one's business.

This makes it super duper easy to cheat nowadays and leads to a lot of marriage breakdowns.

On the other hand, many divorces are also caused by financial problems. The housing market crashes every few years, and many people are graduating with hundreds of thousands of dollars of student loan debt that they have to pay back. Having a child is also hundreds of thousands of dollars. This leads to people divorcing, or hesitant to marry at all or have children/adopt at all in the first place.

Less and less people attend church, also many older adults marriages are breaking down at 60, 70, 80 years old, so there are less and less elders and priests demanding the youth marry as was the case in the past. Societal stigma of being divorced or never married or being a single mom/dad is obliterated in the United States now.

With the boom of dating sites, people are going on dates and having sex with different people every night and never calling them again, that they would never have rejected had it been real life or if they didn't have as many options.

Drinks, drugs, smoking, this is all open everywhere, and young teens are experimenting with this stuff, having casual sex, and pregnancies and abortions at young ages.

All of these factors lead to this kind of stuff.

This isn't just men rejecting marriage or sleeping around. I would say it's an equal amount of women being like this too, or at least very close in percentage.

This trend was mainly in United States, England, Australia, and Europe...but has now slowly started spilling over to Asian/Middle Eastern/African strict religious cultures as well (most people there are still married because being single is generally unheard of in those cultures, but the divorce rate there has spiked dramatically and many are on their 2nd marriage).

Are most people cynical about true love these days?

The celebrity divorce rate is high...but even for regular normal daily people it seems sky high too.

What do you see as the future for marriage, living together, divorces, and relationships? Even from 5 years ago in 2010, the year 2015 is dramatically different and the dating "rules" don't even work any more.

Yes most people still get married daily...even eternal bachelor George Clooney did...but it is much different now. At the very least, no one is a virgin on their wedding night.

What do you predict as a future outcome? Do you feel marriage will become obsolete one day? Do you feel society structure will collapse 50 years from now, if no one gets married?

What do you see life and the dating scene (in terms of marriage, commitments etc) being different in 5 years, 10 years, 15, 20, 25, 30, and 50 years from now? How are our grandchildren's lives going to be different than ours? What about the rest of the world outside Western cultures?

I'm interested in hearing your honest thoughts.


Hi Heather - In a changing world and society, a constant is human nature. That will always promote committed couples and procreation, whether married or not. As our Earthly resources become more scarce and the population grows, I think we'll see civil conflict in and between most countries (e.g. fights over energy, food, and water access and usage.) Another factor is a declining popular reliance on religious Holy Books and churches to dictate moral behavior (like marriage and divorce). Overall, I do not fear a collapse of global societies in the foreseeable future. I DO see an inexorable restructuring of human societies in coming centuries because of population growth, dwindling non-renewable resources, and the ecological damage we continue to do to our planet. I recommend the book "Collapse" by Jared Diamond.

- Pete

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Peter Gerlach, MSW


I can answer questions about remarriage preparation, stepparenting, stepchild discipline, child visitation, grieving, stepfamily norms and myths, mission statements, stepparent job (role)descriptions, communication skills, loyalty and values conflicts, stepfamily identity problems, common pitfalls, ex mate and relative problems, stepfamily merger and adjustment tasks, name confusions, choosing an effective counselor, resolving money disputes, co-parenting support groups, and the family effects of court (legal) battles. I can`t answer questions about medicine, family law, legal stepchild adoption, or financial planning.


I have studied and worked with stepfamilies clinically since 1979, and I have been a "step everything" personally. I was invited to be on the board of the Stepfamily Association of America (SAA) by it's founders, Drs. John and Emily Visher; and later was re-invited by president Margory Engle, PhD. For more detail, see this.

Former Board member, Stepfamily Association of America (SAA)
National Stepfamily Resource Center (NSRC)Experts Council

Hundreds of Web articles on ; I've uploaded over 150 self-improvement videos on YouTube; and have self-published 6 books. My ad-free Web site offers a unique, practical 7-lesson self-improvement course.

Stanford University BSME (1958) George Williams College MSW (1981) Hundreds of post-graduate seminars on a wide variety of "mental health" subjects

Awards and Honors
Hundreds of appreciative emails and comments on my Web site and videos from people all over the world.

Past/Present Clients
I have worked clinically with over 1,000 midwestern divorced and remarried family members, and have had over 800 stepfamily students in various seminars and courses since 1981

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