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Second marriages are more complicated than they appear on the surface. 2nd marriages typically have a lot of outside difficulties that stress the romance, sometimes to the point of another divorce. It doesn’t have to happen. It is possible to have success in a second marriage.
Having the right expectations can help to make things better. You might not get the perfect, ready-made family, but you can still make a family that works.
There are several problems in a second marriage that a first marriage doesn’t usually have. Here are just a few.
1. Ex husbands or wives. Just because you are divorced doesn’t mean they forget how to push the same old hot buttons. They are probably angry enough to try harder, too. The old conflicts can put a substantial amount of stress on a second marriage.
2. Meet your new Mom or Dad. We’re so happy together. Oops! Kids may not be thrilled to have a new Mom or Dad. They will let you know any way they can. If they are under 8 or 9 years it may be easier for them to accept the changes, but don’t count on it. If the kids are older it’s much more difficult. The kids are likely to feel disloyal to their divorced parent and angry over the crash you caused to happen in their lives. Even though lawyers and states recognize no-fault divorces, kids rarely see them the same way.
3. Combined families problems. Combining 2 families…groups of children…can get really conflicted. Surprise, they don’t really want to share their rooms, toys or parents. Teens may really try to make the new wife or husband’s life miserable, too. It’s the time in their lives when they are trying to establish adult independence and autonomy (perhaps unwisely) and they would be in substantial conflict with any custodial parent. It might be less personal to you than you think. Counseling might help, but don’t expect miracles. Most kids feel anxiety and anger that may be justified or not, but it doesn’t change what they feel. It’s very frustrating and stressful for everyone involved.
To make things better, try NOT to lose your temper. If you have moved on from an old marriage to a second one, make sure you have your emotions under control and don’t allow yourself or anyone else to be abused. You don’t want to end up in those failed second marriage statistics.
Kids are kids, and they act like it. It can get pretty annoying, particularly with kids in a second marriage. If things get too intense you can take a timeout if you need one and so can they. They have to learn good manners and sensible boundaries. They need to be nurtured and you both need your own spaces where you can decompress. They do NOT need an adult new best friend who spoils them to try to win them over with a pass on bad behavior. Instead try activities that are normal and fairly scheduled with occasional treats for the group. Kids need lots of attention and you need to be prepared for it. They also need structure to feel loved even though they fight it.
Going into a second marriage prepared for problems that might happen can help you to adjust and work things out better. You marry someone for emotional support. Both of you need to be ready for the less perfect moments. The wedding is only a moment in time. The real stuff happens every day. If you need help (and you will), get good relationship advice and take it all in stride better.
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