Second Marriages

Therapy can help you cope with the complications – so that you magnify the possibilities for good.

You got married. For a variety of complicated reasons, that marriage ended in divorce. It certainly takes a lot of emotional strength to try again. And yet, people do it all of the time.

Second, third, and even subsequent marriages are increasingly common. Unfortunately, they’re also more likely to end in divorce than even first marriages are.

So, are they worth the chance? Of course they are. But you might want to arm yourself with the tools necessary to help you succeed. Therapy is one of those tools.

Second Marriages: The Good and The Bad

Second marriages are distinct from first marriages. You have a different set of experiences, expectations, and beliefs than you did going into your first marriage. There are positive and negative things about that. However, you can use all of that information to help your second marriage thrive.

The Challenges of a Second Marriage

Second marriages are challenging for many different reasons. When you got married the first time, you might have had both hopes and fears. Likely, though, you expected that the marriage would last “forever.” It’s really hard to go into a second marriage with that same expectation. On the one hand, you’re getting married because you believe that it’s possible. On the other hand, history makes you doubt it.

In addition to the insecurities that naturally arise around getting married again, second marriages often come with more complicated family dynamics. One or both of you may still have an ex in your life for financial reasons or because of shared children. You may simultaneously have to learn to co-parent successfully with your ex while also dealing with blended family dynamics in your new household plus beginning to coparent with your new partner’s ex. Plus you have extended family, long-term friendships, and other complicated relationships to introduce into each other’s lives. Even pets can present challenges in second marriages!

Second marriages also often come with complicated financial situations. One or both of you may have alimony and/or child support. There may be debt related to the divorce, including housing situations. Money is a big stressor in most marriages, so starting off with those challenges can be hard.

The Benefits of Second Marriages

All of the stressors can make it feel like second marriages “aren’t worth it” but that’s not the case at all. Your first marriage, as well as all of the years you’ve spent in and out of relationships, also mean that you bring a lot of strengths to this new relationship.

Each of you has figured out at least some of what you don’t want, because it didn’t work before. Therefore, you have a better sense of what you do want. The more that you know yourself, your desires, and your expectations for marriage, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to make marriage work.

You have also likely built up a lifetime of your own support system. These are people that you can trust, turn to, and get advice from. If they support your second marriage, then they are in your corner through the good and bad times to come. That kind of support can really help a marriage, even though those family dynamics might be complicated.

And although there are often financial concerns in second marriages, some of the money stuff isn’t always bad. After all, you’re both older and likely further along in your careers. Maybe you have some savings. You’ve probably figured out how to talk about money better than you knew how to do when you were in your twenties. All of these things can be helpful in second marriages.

“Ultimately, it’s the quality of our relationships that will determine the quality of our lives.”
– Esther Perel

Therapy for Second Marriages

Second marriages are complicated but they can be wonderful. Therapy can help you cope with the complications so that you magnify the possibilities for good. You might attend counseling individually or together or even as a family with your children. You might get premarital counseling or seek counseling when problems start to crop up. At any stage, in any configuration, therapy can offer support, insight, and skills for making your second marriage work.

Second marriage therapy can help you:

  • Address, articulate, and resolve “baggage” from past marriages
  • Get on the same page about what you want this marriage to be
  • Work through conflicts around money, trust, family dynamics, etc.
  • Resolve differences in parenting styles as you blend families
  • Build up your communication skills
  • Create shared goals and dreams for the short-term and long-term future

If you’re in, or about to enter, a second (or subsequent marriage) then I want to help you make the most of it. Contact me today to learn more about therapy.