Divorced Parents, Should You Say "I Do" to Spouse #2?
Want to get remarried? Thinking about taking the plunge a second time? Ask yourself, are you ready to commit to marriage and being there for your spouse's kids? According to Mark Banschick, author of The Intelligent Divorce Book series, 67% of second marriages end in divorce. That's right - divorce rates for second marriages are higher than first marriages. With higher incomes, more life experience and finding a work/life balance, you probably thought the second time around would be easier, right? Think again! Step-family relationships are complicated and bring with them their own set of challenges.
BLENDED FAMILY TRANSITIONS TAKE TIME
Blended families rarely blend evenly. Rather, they form secret alliances and form attachments at weird angles. Sometimes, blood is thicker than water. Step-families also upset birth order constellations. Only children become older or younger step-siblings or they may now have a step-sibling the same age. Blended families often move to new parts of town, leaving behind best friends, neighborhoods, baseball teams and school districts. Successful transitioning to a blended family takes, on average, 3-5 years. Some families never fully make the transition.
Pre-remarriage family subsets have a shared history of inside jokes, special stories and traditions. It can be hard to give up old transitions or add new ones to the mix. This is especially true during holiday traditions, cooking family recipes and creating a "new normal." Step-family relationships can be an added bonus, though they still come with hot topics and pressure points. Are you really ready for all of that and is this the person that will stand by your side as you navigate these challenges?
Ask yourself theses 20 questions before saying "I Do":
1. How long ago was your divorce finalized?
2. How would you describe your relationship with your ex?
3. Has your ex met the special person in your life?
4. Have you talked with your ex about the seriousness of your relationship?
5. Have your kids adjusted to the new person in your life?
6. Do you have a relationship with your future fiance's kids?
7. Have they adjusted to having you in their lives?
8. Did you and your ex ever fight about parenting, discipline or bedtimes?
9. Is your parenting style similar or different to your future fiance?
10. Once married, who will discipline the kids? 11. Will you pay for expenses for all of your combined children or will you each take care of your own children's financial needs.
12. Will you and your future spouse share the housework? Will all of the children, ages 3 and above, have chores? How will you decide who does what?
13. Will all of your children receive an allowance?
14. How will you respond to inappropriate behavior? Will this differ depending on which child?
15. Will you eat dinner together each night?
16. How will you show your partner they are loved and cared for?
17. How will you show affection?
18. What are the love languages of you and your partner?
19. How will you respond to conflict?
20. Do you have a list of deal breakers or behaviors you will not tolerate?
Until next time,
Sara Minges, M.S. is a Blended Family/Co-Parenting Life Coach with 25+ years experience being part of a blended family. A former play therapist specializing in high conflict family attachment relationships, she coaches parents through the divorce process, ways to help their kids adjust and helping blending families successfully transition. Sara holds a B.A. in Psychology with a Minor in Child and Famiy Studies from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, a M.S. in Counseling Psychology from Avila University and she's the Owner of Playful Awareness, a co-parenting coaching practice in the Kansas City area. She has been featured in KC Parent Magazine, Yahoo Personals, KC Live, Better Kansas City, 41 Action News, Fox 4, Women's Radio Network, KMBZ and the Lawrence Journal World. Sara can be reached on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn or by sending an email to email@example.com.