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What chance of success does a second marriage have?

The psychotherapist Marina Moscow writes about the second marriage. What are the positives and what are the negatives? Can it work successfully, already having the experience of the first one? The reason for the special…

“Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. The second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience”, according to Oscar Wilde, where although he was not a fan of marriage, it seems to be confirmed through statistics, as the divorce rate in second marriages reaches 67% in the first 5 years, while in third marriages it reaches 73%.

However, people continue to bind themselves to the bonds of marriage, despite all the estimates that want the institution to decline nowadays. Why do people remarry when they know that the chances of a marriage lasting are not that great, even having their own experience to confirm it? Why are they still looking for happiness next to a new partner, daring to enter a second marriage?

The answer comes through a primordial process of fulfilling a deep human need for acceptance, to be loved, to “belong”. The need to feel able to “make” again, to commit, so that he does not feel alone, enjoying emotional, sexual and – in some cases – financial security. Also, the existence of children often comes to mind as a need to fill the void in the family, with the presence and active participation of another person, so that it is symbolically completed again.

But let’s see, what are the chances of success? What do we need to pay attention to so that it is preserved and does not have the ending of the first one? If there are children, what will the relationship be with the ex? What is a mixed marriage or a patchwork marriage?

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And yet there are positives in the second marriage!

The couple has already experienced one relationship that failed to survive. Both partners may have tried to see if there is a chance to save this relationship, perhaps they have also visited a marriage counselor to see if it is finally possible to overcome their issues and problems or not. More simply, they already have the experience of a situation that “did not have a happy ending” and if they have worked even a little, they will probably be more familiar with some of the reasons, if not all! So if they use the previous knowledge, it is more likely that they will avoid the same mistakes that destroyed their first marriage.

And there are also … negatives!

As we have seen, the studies support that not only can the couple divorce again, but also have a low quality of married life. On the one hand, it is justified as each member “carries” traumatic experiences, but also people (children, ex-in-laws, ex-spouse) from the previous married life, but also the experience of breaking up a marriage is not unheard of. As a result, it is easier to break the bonds of a second marriage, even easier to make the decision to divorce again compared to the first marriage. Problems that the new couple will face are possible financial difficulties as there are financial obligations from the previous marriage, frustrated expectations from the previous marriage that are waiting to be fulfilled now, bad relations with the ex-partner, etc.

Mixed families or mosaic families

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She and he enter into a second marriage, officially bringing their children from the first marriage into cohabitation. Unofficially, however, everyone who has a relationship with them also comes: the ex-spouse, the ex-in-laws, the ex-relatives, even … mutual friends from the ex-marriage! This dowry is heavy, where the couple has to face more challenges than in the first marriage. In fact, when the ex-partner still bothers with his way of talking to the children, threatening or blackmailing, things make things quite difficult for the new couple. The same thing happens when children feel that they don’t want their stepfather or stepmother and accuse the parent who is moving on in life of being self-centered. And when a new sibling is born in the new marriage, in the new family, the relations can be disturbed even more.

We usually say that adjustment time is needed for all those who participate directly or indirectly in the second marriage, as for example the child cannot be forced to “love” his parent’s new partner. On the contrary, in this wider family environment, the acceptance of everyone as they are, will bear fruit over time and bring its members together through everyday life… If, nevertheless, there is tension, the help of an expert will be useful.

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