A second marriage after a painful first can feel like a blessing, but statistics show a staggering 67% of second marriages end in divorce. We’re all in search of our “happily ever after,” but the divorce rate shows second marriages can be a minefield. If you’re thinking about tying the knot again, you have to prepare.
Nobody goes into a marriage thinking it will have an end date. How do you and your new partner build a stable, lifelong commitment? It helps to avoid common mistakes.
What are those common second marriage mistakes, and how do you avoid them? If you’re thinking about getting married again, make sure to read on.
1. Not Working Out Your Past
Our life experience piles up as we grow older, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Living through romantic relationships, both good and bad, leads to a maturity you can’t manufacture.
That said, a divorce is a traumatic life event that requires time and effort to process. There are also toxic relationship patterns you must examine and unravel. You may feel bliss during the initial phase of your first post-divorce relationship.
Be careful, as this initial bliss masks any lingering pain from your first marriage. You and your partner’s toxic traits will reveal themselves in time. To avoid this, make sure you do the psychological work to explore and process your first marriage.
2. Lack of Honesty
Aside from abusive marriages, each partner shares blame for a divorce. Though it’s not always a 50/50 split, it’s far easier for either partner to blame the other. Human beings don’t like implicating themselves.
Before you jump into a second marriage, you and your partner must be honest with yourselves and each other. How did you both contribute to the dissolution of your first marriage or previous romantic relationships? Failure to get honest will only lead to repeated relationship patterns.
3. No Resolution of Ongoing Ex Conflict
A divorce doesn’t mean you’re free from your ex-partner for life, especially if you have children together. Divorce is a legal proceeding, but that doesn’t mean your relationship ends. Conflicts can linger with an ex long after the finalized divorce.
These conflicts with your ex-partner will sap the time and energy you should devote to your current partner. Ongoing ex-partner fights can lead to resentment and alienation that lead to second marriage failure.
4. No Planning
Any marriage, no matter the number, is about love. Two people come together with the belief that they’ll be with one another until death. The hard truth is that a marriage is also a legal contract. Too many people don’t consider financial planning part of a healthy marriage, but they should.
Financial and estate planning before a second marriage will help resolve future conflicts before they begin.
5. Forgetting About the Kids
If you and your new partner both have kids, stepchildren will become part of your life. You’ll inevitably have to blend families, but too many second marriages start without adequate planning for the children. Your kids are resilient, but they’ll have feelings about your divorce separate from yours.
You get to choose your next partner, but your kids don’t get to choose their step-parent. The same is true of your stepchildren. Communication is vital when attempting to build a new stable family. Make sure you empower your biological children by validating their feelings and spending enough one-on-one time to help them through the transition.
6. Becoming Engulfed by Your Children
Divorce carries a lot of guilt with it, and you may try to assuage your guilt by giving in to your kids. Parents who allow their children to call the shots in any new relationship or marriage will cause that marriage to fail.
The other partner will feel ignored by you and bullied by your children. If your new partner doesn’t feel as though they’re equal, resentment builds, and discord grows.
7. Getting Married Too Soon
Rebound relationships are a phenomenon, and they can be healthy. When you go through a painful divorce, it’s hard to remember bliss and joy. Rebound relationships also allow you to dip your toes back in the deep sea of romantic relationships.
A rebound can help you recover from your previous relationship, but the intoxicating sexual desire and fun may not be an intimate connection. There’s no reason you should be in a hurry to get remarried, and if you feel the pull, it’s best to slow down.
Marrying again before you’ve experienced any relationship tests with your partner will only lead to more heartbreak and pain down the road.
8. Inability to Show Vulnerability
After you’ve felt the heartbreak of a dissolving first marriage, it might be hard for you to show enough vulnerability in your second marriage to make it work. We guard ourselves against the things that hurt us the most, but our defense mechanisms end up hurting us the most in the end.
Vulnerability is the foundation for any successful intimate partnership. Taking the risk to present yourself as a whole person to your new partner is the only way a second marriage will last.
9. Unrealistic Expectations
What happens after the ceremony, the reception, and the honeymoon? Married life isn’t an endless party and tropical vacation. You should already know this from your first marriage, but it’s far too easy to believe a new relationship will never experience any hardships.
Don’t delude yourself. Any marriage will experience ups and downs and don’t feel disappointed when they happen.
10. Inability to Forgive Yourself and Your Partner
We all enter into relationships with flaws, and these are the characteristics that make us human. Expecting your partner to act how you want them to (perfect) at all times is a common second marriage mistake.
Your partner isn’t perfect, and neither are you. While you shouldn’t accept or condone the hurts caused by your partner, the ability to forgive and forge ahead is necessary.
Second Marriages Can Work
Second marriages can be a new beginning for your love life but make no mistake, the complications they present can make them even harder than your first.
Make sure you’re ready before you exchange vows for a second time, and work hard to avoid these common second marriage mistakes to ensure a healthy and vibrant partnership.
Are you getting married for a second time? Avoid the common pitfalls through estate financial planning with help from Rhodes Law Firm. Contact us today for a consultation.