You’ve been down the aisle once before, and the first marriage didn’t work out. But, before you consider a second (or even third) time around, there are some things to ponder before you get remarried, such as financial and/or emotional decisions. You may even want to consider children involved before getting remarried.
Planning a second wedding is stressful enough, but if you haven’t taken some things into consideration before tying the knot, then the tension is only just beginning. “When thinking about getting remarried, people tend to think they have to be perfect in the next marriage, or they know they survived a breakup before and could do it again,” explains Natalie Murray, LCMHC, and owner of Charlotte WellBeing Institute.
“The key is [that] through observation and discussion, you find the answers to whether this person is “the one” for you. What you get in the beginning will show itself later on, so you just have to be patient and watch to see if what is being said lines up with what is taking place,” adds Dr. Saudia L. Twine, marriage and family therapist and relationship coach.
Here are four things that experts say you should reflect on before getting married for the second time.
You are the common thread in all of your relationships. You can pick a new partner, but if issues you have had in your marriage and other relationships trickle down to the next relationship, then it’s likely to be a problem in your second (or even third) marriage, unless you resolve and heal from the issues. Murray says that there are several things you should ask yourself before choosing a new spouse, including: “Who are they really? What are you looking for in this relationship? When did you put in the work to heal yourself? Where do you see the two of you in 10 years? How did you get to this point emotionally and mentally?”
Make sure that you get to the bottom of why you made certain choices in your first marriage, and own up to what you could have done differently before getting a divorce. Hold yourself accountable, but allow yourself some grace. To discover if you really are ready to move on with a new partner, determine why you really want to get married.
If you are blending families, then nothing can get more messy than conflicts over children and exes. “If one or both have children, they need to consider their children’s feelings, and parents need to have their child’s opinion on the matter. How do the children feel about this person; How do they feel about you possibly having children with this person; While they don’t get a deciding vote, it is important to address and consider your child’s feelings,” says Dr. Twine.
She adds that if parents still have children living at home, consider adding additional time to the dating period with your future spouse to allow the children to get to know your partner. “Be respectful of the wariness they may have, and take your time. Communicate as a team with your significant other and allow them to have their own time as well with their children,” explains Murray.
Rushing into a marriage before you have worked everything out isn’t the best idea. Has there been enough time since your last marriage and getting engaged to the new partner? Take your time and get to know yourself and your new future spouse. Talk through all the details, including past relationships, children, parenting styles, and finances. “Parents should date their potential spouse for a full year prior to marriage. This allows them to see this person emotionally through a full calendar year to witness up close how they handle ups and downs in life,” says Dr. Twine.
She suggests that after a divorce or the death of a spouse you should wait a little longer. “You should wait to remarry the equivalent of one month for the duration of that previous marriage. For example, if you were married for 20 years, then to allow yourself 20 months to heal emotionally before you embark on a new marriage. Many times, people have not healed, nor do they allow themselves to become reacquainted with their new self.” However, once you are engaged, Murray says that the decision on how long to stay engaged is up to every couple. “A new engagement should last as long as it takes to plan the wedding you both dream of. There is no set time frame for a remarriage.”
With the economy on a roller coaster, it’s a good idea to take a good look at your own financial situation and how it will fit with someone else’s before you tie the knot with your future spouse. Murray suggests looking to see if either of you have financial instability, because that could be a red flag as a reason why not to get married until things are stable. Are you in debt? Who makes more money? How much money are you saving, and what is it for? Having the conversation about finances early on can save headaches down the road.