During a gossip session with a friend over the weekend, we discussed a man we know who recently married for the second time. And he married a divorcee with children.
“I wonder if he realizes what he’s gotten himself into,” my friend was saying.
“Actually,” I said realizing for the first time, “his first marriage was to a divorcee with children.”
And since then, I’ve been thinking about it: What’s it like to be the second spouse without ever having been a first spouse? Does it feel like you’re missing out on something? Does it add additional friction between the spouse and stepchildren? Do you feel more entitled to make decisions about the wedding because you’ve never had one before? …Or, is it easier because you’re marrying someone who already knows the ropes? Is there less friction with the stepkids because you aren’t bringing family expectations leftover from your first marriage?
Of course, anyone in this situation couldn’t really answer the questions on a comparative level because they’ve nothing to compare it to. Still… I wonder about the unique outlook of the Second-Spouse-Who-Wasn’t-A-First-Spouse. Can any such readers comment on your thoughts, feelings, struggles, expectations, etc?
If marrying a divorcee was a point of contention they probably wouldn’t do it in the first place. I would hope that would be something that would be considered early on in the relationship they should think “this person has been married before and they already have a family, is this something I can live with?” You don’t plan a wedding and then say “Oh, by the way, I was married before and I have kids” unless they’re very reckless they are aware of what they’re getting themselves into.
And with regards to their children, if you act like the wicked stepmother you’ll be treated like one.
It’s no surprise that stepfamilies have completely different dynamics than “first” families. Many people find unexpected difficulties after the honeymoon is over, particularly where children are concerned.
I know this comment isn’t at all going to address what you’re asking us to address, but I have to say something anyway. The “divorcee [HATE that word, btw] with children” and “I wonder if he realizes what he’s gotten himself into” really, really bother me. Through no choice of my own, I am now a “divorcee with children.” And I wonder why any man, much less a good one, would want to undertake that much baggage. It’s hard for me to believe that they would. And comments like your friends just make me feel certain I’m right.
That’s interesting… my opinions here are quite different. I agree that “I wonder if he realizes what he’s gotten himself into” is a rather harsh statement. But, I love the word “divorcee”. It’s a title I’m proud of. However, my circumstances vary considerably. As far as the man/baggage issue…. I would guess (of course, it’s only a guess) that you’ve got a better chance at snagging a “good” man than a woman who wasn’t married and has no children. The “only-out-for-a-good-time” men are much less likely to venture into such territory.