By some miracle you found the person just perfect for you. But they had a bit of a detour before finding you. If your fiancé has been divorced and you have decided to get married, there are some things you should definitely consider before walking down the aisle.
We all make mistakes, and while your spouse-to-be has certainly grown from their previous marriage experience, there are some things that happened that may impact your impending marriage. The important thing is to acknowledge these possibilities, talk about them openly, and then work things out together.
Dealing with the ex
Your fiancé’s first marriage may have ended, but many ex spouses still have a “relationship” in some form after the divorce is final. If there are children, and especially if they share custody, there will be constant contact in person and via phone to work out the details. Which means that you will also be dealing with this ex as well. Even if you don’t come into the picture until years later, there may still be hard feelings, and some power struggles between your new spouse and their ex and maybe even you, as the ex may feel like they have been replaced or you are encroaching on their children’s lives.
Your spouse-to-be was married before—so does that mean they will always compare you to their former spouse? It’s worth talking about openly. Obviously you are a different person than their first spouse, but it will be hard for them to not compare someone they spent their life with. If you’re doing a household chore, on vacation together, or worse—being intimate—will your spouse ever slip and say, “Well, my first spouse did things this way…” If that happens, how will you feel? Talk about appropriate ways to handle the situation, or you may end up feeling resentful and second rate.
Level of jaded-ness
No one comes out of an ended marriage unscathed, not matter how mutual the break up was or how nice the two ex spouses have been to each other. The fact is that something that once held a lot of hope and promise is now over. Both spouses will be mourning in their own way. And even though you and your new flame are definitely in love, there could be things that pop up along the way that show they are still dealing with issues over the divorce. Be open as you discuss what issues still bother them about what happened and how it affects their daily life now.
When you grow up, your vision of your wedding day and honeymoon may be one way—but if you marry someone who has been married before, and especially if there are children, that all could be very different. There will likely be less pomp and circumstance surrounding the wedding, including less attention, less guests, less gifts, less excitement, and maybe even a very short honeymoon, if any at all. It will still be very special to both of you, but just be ready for it to be different than you have been expecting all these years. The more you can talk about it with your future spouse, the better.
If they have children
Remember that they always, always have to come first, even before you. They are flesh and blood, and those children need their parents. So whether your spouse will have full or part or no custody, there will be times that they will be called on to take care of something child related. You need to be okay with that cutting into their time with you. Also, those children may not be very accepting of you at first, and even at all. What will you do if they don’t trust you or treat you a bit harshly? Will it affect your marriage relationship? These potential issues are worth discussing with your future spouse.
Beliefs about marriage and divorce
When you marry someone who is divorced, it’s important to consider what their views of marriage and divorce are now. Do they put marriage first? Is it sacred to them? When should divorce be considered? Has their failed marriage changed their views? If they are taking the plunge to get married again, then they obviously value marriage in some way. Just make sure you know what it really means to them.
While you aren’t one of the divorced parties, you will be married to one. That means loving and living with all of that person, including their past. And chances are, that past will affect your significant other’s present and future. How do you fit in? How will their past affect your relationship? Don’t wait until issues arise. Get into couples therapy now so you can transition together from day one. In this environment, you may also be able to talk more openly and bring up many issues that are hard to discuss in the midst of your new busy lives.