To my dismay, this reader has a really dark view of second marriage:
No matter how you look at it, anyone who marries someone who is divorced is inheriting a bad situation, right from the start. Otherwise, the person they are marrying would never have divorced their previous spouse. If there are kids involved, then you inherit that person’s ex, not to mention, other problems. Nobody thinks about this, but the problems that caused that person’s first marriage to fail are still there in a second marriage. Even if there are not kids involved, you are still walking into a less than ideal situation. The pressure is on the new spouse. They have no room to screw up, and most likely, they will not be getting the same number of years that their predecessor got.
Reading this would most likely depress, anger and scare anyone dating after divorce who has hopes of finding love and/or possibly of second marriage.
This post is about is why I completely disagree with this reader’s dark view, and how who as someone who has been divorced for 10 years, I personally view second marriage in an extremely hopeful, wonderful way.
First let me address that this reader might be correct in stating, ‘anyone who marries someone who is divorced is inheriting a bad situation.’ After all, there is truth to it. When you are with someone who is divorced, you are also sort of “with” their ex. So, if the ex is unstable or has a drug or alcohol addiction or becomes unable to care for your boyfriend/girlfriend’s children, you might end up having to step up.
But, what’s so bad about that? When you love someone, you have to love all of that person, and that means the children and the problems that he or she has a result of the divorce. The problems might be emotional or financial or physical or situational. It might seem scary to decide to be “all in” and to take on the problems with the one you love. But, it can also an unbelievably fulfilling experience to give so much of yourself for someone you love. Isn’t that what true love is? If taking on your new boyfriend/girlfriend’s problems isn’t something you feel you can or want to handle, then you are with the wrong person. It doesn’t mean you are selfish, it just means he or she isn’t the right person for you, the timing isn’t right or the situation doesn’t feel right.
This reader writes, ‘nobody thinks about this.’ He might be correct in writing this. After all, look at the high statistic of second marriage divorces. So, the takeaway is, if you want to be happy in second marriage, be realistic and true to your heart that you can take on this situation, that you WANT to take it on.
He also writes, ‘The pressure is on the new spouse. They have no room to screw up.’ First of all EVERYONE screws up and everyone has the right to screw up. The pressure is not on the new spouse but rather both people in the second marriage. They need to work together as a team, they need to communicate with each other, and they need to prevent harboring resentment. They also need to make time for themselves. Why? Because the problems and issues in the family are always going to be there and needing to be managed, but the opportunities for good times together are fleeting. Mini-vacations and date nights need to be planned well ahead and be built into the program of the second marriage. An effort to make each other feel loved and sexy and appreciated and respected is completely necessary for a second marriage to work.
Here’s the thing. I think all divorced people come with baggage (and by the way, so do all single people.) That said, divorced people are beautiful, wonderful people who prefer monogamy (since they chose to get married in the first place) and who just want to be loved and cherished and happy.
I don’t think divorced people have fairytale-like expectations of second marriage (although I have to confess that I do). But rather they want the peace and warmth and happiness that was lacking in their first marriage. Is that too much to ask? Nope.
Look, I’m not disillusioned that countless men and women get into really bad second marriages that often end up being worse nightmares than the first. But the point I’m trying to make is, if second marriage is well thought out, and people go into it fully aware of expectations for both people, the second marriage has a lot better chance of working.
So, in contrast to this reader’s dark dark view of second marriage, I have to say that in my opinion, giving marriage another shot is a lot brighter than staying in a single safety zone because you fear the baggage of the divorced. The key is being realistic, honest and true to yourself, and to have the courage to take on some major additional responsibilities or to walk away if your gut says the situation isn’t right for you.
Jackie Pilossoph is the creator of her website, Divorced Girl Smiling. The author of her novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase, Pilossoph also writes the weekly dating and relationship column, Love Essentially, published in the Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press. Pilossoph lives with her family in Chicago. Oh, and she’s divorced.