In 2011 alone, some 877,000 divorces and annulments took place in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If your beau is a divorced man, marrying him means that he will have to start over and you will embark on having a family or on having a new family with your guy. Before you decide to start a new family with your divorced guy, consider how his previous marriage -- including his ex and kids -- factors into your new life.
1. Thinking About Love and Marriage
If the word "family" makes you think of two people and a child, think again. While there are a variety of different types of families -- such as blended and same-sex -- the first step to building any family is a union or commitment between two people. After the divorce is final and your man is ready to remarry, it's time to go from a "me" to a "we." Unlike marrying the first time, a second marriage typically involves a host of pre-existing issues. These may include the economic strain of spousal support, an emotional attachment to an ex or his children from the previous relationship. Even though these are technically your guy's issues -- as his wife, you'll need to deal with them, too.
2. Blending the Kids
If your new husband is a divorced dad, creating a new family means blending in his old one. Chances are that by the time you're serious enough to get married and start a family, you've already gotten to know his children. Before the wedding, sit the kids down and speak to them about what role they want to play in the ceremony. After the wedding, you and the rest of the family, will need to establish a routine, create house rules and build deeper relationships with each other. Although working things out with his kids is key, a successful stepfamily hinges on the quality of the marital relationship, according to the article, "Becoming a Stepfamily" on the American Academy of Pediatrics' HealthyChildren.org website.
3. His Kids and Your Kids
Whether you already have kids or are planning on getting pregnant, bringing your own biological children into your step-family may seem like a struggle. That said, with time and patience, it's entirely possible for everyone to make the adjustment. If your kids are moving in with his kids, expect some degree of some competitiveness or rivalry. Smooth over some of the rivalry by making sure that each parent spends individual time with each child to ensure that everyone is getting enough attention. If you're having a baby with your new guy, reassure his kids that they won't get pushed to the side, and involve them in the pregnancy or ask them to help you with basic baby care.
4. His Ex
Your new husband wasn't the only who was in his previous marriage. As you begin your new family with him, you'll need to understand that his ex is likely to still play a role in his life. If he has kids with her, he and his ex will need to co-parent. If they didn't have children, he may still have financial ties to his ex or she may put her emotional baggage on to him. When an ex imposes or is still emotionally dependent on your new husband, discuss with him how her actions affect your marriage. Suggest that your husband set boundaries with his ex such as telling her that she can't just pop over whenever she wants.
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: National Marriage and Divorce Rate Trends
- Psychology Today: Remarriage: Factors for Success; Stephanie Sarkis
- HealthyChildren.org: Becoming a Stapfamily
- HealthyChildren.org: Stepsiblings
- Psychology Today: Extending Family Boundaries in a Remarriage; Margaret K. Scarf
- George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images