Do you think it's over after your first marriage? Are you never supposed to have a second chance at finding a compatible partner? No. Of course not. I have been there, and I can tell you for sure that you can find a partner you would want to share a life with, and they will not necessarily be your first.
Second marriage after divorce has become quite the norm, especially now that society has become more liberal: after all, if your first marriage ends for whatever reason, why can't you have another? It is perfectly fine, but you want to avoid getting divorced again, and you want to ensure your second marriage is a success.
In the United States, however, around 41% of first marriages and 60% of second marriages end in divorce. The number increases as the number of marriages does. Yes, the statistics don't sound promising. But it doesn't have to be you. Second marriage success is possible if you know the common reasons for their failure.
Common Second Marriage Problems
Some of the common second marriage issues are:
- Marrying with wrong intentions.
- Having "baggage" from your previous divorce.
- Dealing with your ex after divorce.
- Financial problems.
- Self-blame and accountability.
A second marriage after divorce is difficult and might be scary, but you can make it work. Remember that you can overcome the issues you face with love, patience, understanding, and, most importantly, communication.
1. Getting Married for The Wrong Reasons
Feeling lonely or like you can't handle life on your own can lead to hasty decisions. Reentering a partnership without clearly thinking things through sets a marriage up for failure. Divorce and second marriage often go hand in hand, which might be the reason why such marriages end rather rapidly.
A rebound relationship is quite common after a previous marriage.
Attention from a new suitor can be very intoxicating. It is like an addictive drug. They might be giving you all the emotions your ex didn't or the love and acceptance that you were craving. But running from one relationship to another without giving yourself time or assessing the pros and cons can be the wrong decision.
It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t date – it means that rushing to get married just to “be married” or to avoid loneliness and your actual emotions is not the healthiest coping mechanism. Once the honeymoon stage with your new spouse wanes, the reality of the relationship may not be as rosy as you thought it would be. So carefully consider your options to make sure you aren't marrying for the wrong reasons.
2. Having a “Baggage” from a Previous Divorce
When you go through a wrenching emotional experience, it is natural to be wary of fully opening your heart to a new love. You may think you are over your previous divorce, but deep down, at the subconscious level, your wounds are still raw.
You don't want to enter into a second marriage with a fear of getting too close or if you have a fear of intimacy. It will affect your new relationship. You want a glass-half-full attitude, so it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. It is toxic to bring the same emotional burden and suffering into new relationships when it comes to second marriages. So, you want to ensure that you and your partner are emotionally healed before embarking on a new marital adventure.
Remarrying After Divorce with Kids
In first marriages (even rough ones), children are a unifying force. Nevertheless, in a second marriage with kids, stepchildren frequently serve as a severing force. Couples remarried with children find sustaining the relationship much more challenging.
The more children, the more complex the second marriage will be:
- It takes time to get used to living with other people's kids; some days, you may not even be able to handle your own, let alone living with someone else's grumpy teenager.
- Getting remarried with kids can cause emotional issues in children. Kids frequently develop animosity toward their parents' new partner and will go out of their way to cause trouble.
- It is important to understand that children heal from divorce differently, and they may have been fantasizing about their parents getting back together again. So, these harbored resentments against the new partner may cause a 2nd divorce with kids.
Additionally, stepparents are in the challenging situation of having to hold their tongues since they lack the authority to enforce discipline. They may feel insulted in their home by their partner's kids and are helpless to stop it.
Making the new, blended family function somewhat well takes time, patience, and close communication. Certainly, these problems make it challenging to have a smooth second marriage with kids, but not impossible.
Dealing with Family Issues & In-Law Situations
The extended family, in general, and the in-laws, in particular, can be challenging to deal with. You may be head over heels with your partner, as they are with you, but the other close people in your life may take your relationship to the grave.
Here are some signs you have difficult in-laws:
- They are always right. There is no way of proving them wrong – they will only make you feel bad if you try doing it.
- They are in your business (a lot). You cannot make final decisions without consulting them.
- They are “old-fashioned.” Which is a polite way of saying “ignorant” or unable to tolerate anything that wasn’t the norm when they were growing up.
- They ignore you. They might be unhappy having you in their child’s life for whatever reason, no matter how hard you try to blend in.
- They compare you to your partner’s ex. Such parents usually miss the way things were, and it's not often about you, but they sure make it seem so.
- They come when they please. In their heads, their child’s house is their house, and they see no need for a heads up.
If you or your partner do not have clear boundaries with parents or try to keep in contact no matter how toxic they are, it is a red flag. Dealing with meddling in-laws or other extended families could be the reason for a second divorce.
You must approach remarriage with an open mind but with your eyes wide open. If you and your partner can set and enforce boundaries together and see eye-to-eye on the issues with in-laws, your marriage can survive.
3. Dealing with Your Ex After Divorce
When you enter a second marriage, and, even better, when you end your previous one, you must start setting boundaries with ex-spouses. If you don’t have children, it might be easier to cut them out if you’re willing to. If you’re parents, it will be necessary to figure out the new family dynamics.
Your spouse may:
- Try to ruin your relationship with friends and family.
- Make it difficult to be with your children.
- Meddle in your new marriage.
- Intentionally cause drama.
- Make attempts to win you back.
The list goes on. Some ex-spouses also remain unhappy and angry for a while. They may thus feel betrayed when they learn you are getting married. Long after the divorce is final, some ex-spouses may continue to take their ex-partner back to court for different (often trivial) reasons simply because they can.
They may take great pleasure in trying to ruin your new relationship, straining you emotionally and financially. And that is why relationships with an ex after divorce can cause fallout in your current relationship.
4. Money Issues
Knowing how to survive a divorce financially can be a challenge. Money is often a significant issue in marriage, especially if one partner is making spousal maintenance or child support payments. It is also a huge deal when one partner has debts or cannot manage money properly.
The reality is that it takes more than love and dedication to build a prosperous future together. Financial problems and resentment are inextricably linked, and when it builds up, marriage is often bound to end.
A key to overcoming this obstacle lies in effective financial planning after divorce. Don’t be afraid to talk about money, understand each other’s spending habits, and figure out what’s next for the two of you.
5. Blaming and Self-Accountability
Blaming yourself for a failed relationship is all too easy to embrace right after a divorce. It settles in on you like an old familiar friend and creates doubt in yourself and in your ability to handle relationships. You will end up feeling responsible for the failed marriage, and that won't help you in a new relationship.
Self-doubt and blame can make you believe you are unlovable, and that will affect your second marriage. You must learn to accept and not exclusively blame yourself for a failed previous marriage before you start another one. People are complex beings, and challenges are multifaceted. Before starting a second marriage, you need to know what you are feeling and work out these feelings of blame.
How to Stop Blaming Yourself
After a divorce, you need to analyze what happened and learn to understand that some relationships have problems, and that doesn’t mean it is all your fault. After your first divorce, don’t jump right into another marriage. Seek professional help. Do self-care and take care of yourself first.
How Soon Should You Marry After a Divorce?
How soon you marry after a divorce depends on several factors, the most important being why you want to remarry. You might have met someone you believe you are truly in love with, and you don’t want to wait another moment to start a new life together. You might have a pregnancy to deal with, or you may have to deal with financial or work issues.
If pregnancy is the issue, keep in mind that unmarried parents can successfully parent a child without getting married. And for financial or logistical problems, getting married quickly will not eliminate these problems.
There are many reasons to wait for a second marriage. One of the biggest is having time to learn from the failure of your previous marriage. If you haven't dealt with the past, you may set up your second marriage for divorce.
How Soon Should You Remarry If You Have Kids?
If these reasons aren’t enough reasons to put a brake on your remarriage, think about the kids. If your children are young, it can be confusing if you remarry too soon, especially if there will be step-siblings. Older children will also be resentful over a too quick marriage. You will not have that blending of one big happy family as you want if this happens.
Children cannot control your divorce, and they cannot control a second marriage either. So, they may act out even more. Children’s bad behavior is a way kids communicate they are not over the trauma. While it doesn’t mean you should postpone getting into new relationships for long, do it cautiously:
- Don’t blindside them. Talk together, answer their questions, and be open to communication.
- Make sure your partner is a fit parent. After all, you’re choosing not only a spouse but a parental figure as well.
- Help your kids into the new family situation. Be gentle and understanding, and don't put any expectations on how it is going to go.
- Get professional assistance need be. Counseling, individual or as a family, can help all of you understand each other better and heal your relationship.
How Long Do Second Marriages Last?
When it comes to the average length of a second marriage, about two out of three marriages make it to their 10th anniversary, but only one in three makes it to their 25th year.
Still, many second marriages last forever. If you ask people who get married, even for the first time, they never expect a divorce, and the same goes for second marriages. Everyone wants to believe that marriage is a lifetime commitment, but it is a relationship, and like all relationships, it can be influenced by many factors. Many couples learn to work things out. It takes patience, love, and communication.
What Percentage of Second Marriages End In Divorce?
Even with the best intentions, the statistics show that the divorce rate of second marriages is around 60%, and it increases with subsequent marriages. Some say the percentage of second marriages that end in divorce is closer to 70%.
Still, four out of five people give marriage a second try, and as a general rule, the younger a person is, the more quickly they are to remarry after a divorce. Other than that, the average time to remarry after divorce is just under 4 years. But remember that all these numbers don’t matter. What matters is that your marriage is right for you.