For many, reentering the dating world is one of the perks of divorce. While it’s important to move on from divorce emotionally and grab onto the new opportunities that being single presents, learning from past mistakes is also critical. For many, a second marriage is a chance to make choices that are smarter, thoughtful, and better informed to avoid repeating the mistakes they made the first time.
5 Remarriage Tips for a Happier Future
Here are some tips for creating a happier, healthier marriage the second (or third, or fourth…) time around.
1. Pay Attention to Red Flags
Over the years, I’ve had many clients tell me that, looking back, they realized their marriage was a mistake from the beginning. I’ve even had clients tell me they knew the marriage was doomed on their honeymoon, ala The White Lotus. Some cite behaviors that they minimized or compartmentalized, including substance abuse, domestic violence, or abusive behavior. Do yourself a favor and don’t make the mistake of ignoring or waving away those red flags—take them seriously, address them if you can, and decide whether those behaviors are truly something you can live with rather than setting yourself up for another divorce.
3. Take Your Time Before You Remarry
There is no avoiding the fact that post-divorce, you are older and wiser than you were during your first marriage. Many people struggle with the idea of being single and dating again at an older age. Don’t let your insecurities about being single again, your age, or anything else push you into a relationship with someone you haven’t fully vetted and don’t feel ready to share a life with. Don’t let a compulsion to be married again, or fear of being single, push you into a relationship that isn’t right for you.
Many people start dating again while they are getting a divorce, which is usually fine but don’t jump right into a second marriage as soon as your divorce is finalized. Give you and your potential new spouse time and space to enjoy your relationship outside of your divorce.
3. Look for a Good Fit
Look for someone who is a good fit for you and your life. That could be someone with similar interests and values. It could be someone who accepts your family, especially your kids and your pets, and has a place for them in your life together. This doesn’t mean you have to have all of the same interests or hobbies by any means—a good fit is about someone who compliments you and will support and encourage you. You should never sacrifice who you are and what matters to you to accommodate your partner. Good partners will work together to create a life together and accept that a second marriage means you’re bringing some baggage with you. Avoid a relationship that will cause you to have to make big changes to your life and pulls you away from the life that you’ve built for yourself and the people and things that are important to you.
4. Consider Your Kids
If you and/or your partner are parents, it is very important to consider how a new relationship and remarriage will impact your and/or their kids. A new stepparent is a huge change for a child, even in the best circumstances. And while it can be an incredibly positive and important relationship, it is important to be sure that it is a relationship that you, your child, and your partner are ready for. Be sure you give your child time to get used to this new person, space to ask questions, and time alone with you to help support a healthy transition into accepting your new partner. And be sure you look at how your new partner treats your child—are they kind, patient, and understanding? Do they accommodate you and your child–or do they want you and your family to accommodate them?
Be sure that this person understands the importance of your relationship with your child and helps you prioritize raising your child in a happy, healthy home. When you are looking at a new spouse, be sure you are considering how this person, and this relationship, will impact your kids’ life. Above all else, ensure you bring a healthy and safe stepparent into your child’s life.
5. Get a Prenup Agreement
Financial matters are some of the most contentious and difficult issues to resolve in any divorce. People often get possessive quickly—“our” money becomes “my” money as soon as that divorce petition is filed. And many second marriages occur at a time when the spouses have higher-value assets, including homes, retirement accounts, and the like. When you’re considering remarriage, a good prenup agreement can help you and your spouse protect your individual assets, decide what you want to share and what you want to keep separate and ensure your financial security even in the event of a second divorce to ensure you can provide for yourself.