My husband was married before. This is my first marriage and his second. I even knew his first wife. Though to be honest, I hardly think of her as having ever been his wife. I have a unique perspective because at the time, their marriage was already rocking under the tremors of disparate expectations, disappointments and emotional withdrawal.
Even though I knew this, it is still hard to comprehend some of what he went through. No matter how estranged couples are when they divorce, they still go through a lot of pain. They experience a wealth of self-doubt, misery and failure. This is a dangerous time for individuals – especially if they fall into another marriage very quickly.
More often than not, they end up in what is called a ‘re-bound relationship’ and while they can work, they often don’t. It’s important to give yourself time after a divorce or death of a spouse before engaging in another relationship or jumping into another marriage. It’s important to come to terms with why the first relationship didn’t work out. In both cases, the death of a spouse or the divorce, it’s important to give yourself time to grieve.
If and when you are ready to find love again, talk to your potential spouse about the idea of a long engagement. If you take the time to understand the mistakes of the previous marriage and to mourn the loss of the spouse, it can help you to avoid repeating past mistakes or comparing your new relationship to the old one.
When you marry someone and it’s their second marriage, develop a greater sense of compassion for what they have gone through. Understand they may have emotional baggage and help both of you by working it out beforehand. It will be hard for both of you to commit to the marriage if you’ve not allowed your partner to commit to their emotional divorce.
If the shadows of the previous marriage are affecting your current relationship, it may be time to talk to a marriage counselor. They can help you both to sort out past feelings and to build a stronger marriage together.