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    Second Spouse, Second Best?

    By Kristen Houghton     

    My neighbor is a “second” wife and she has told me that the word “second” seems appropriate to her situation. At times she has felt that she was “second” to everyone in her new husband’s family. His children’s needs and wants, even those of his ex-wife, seemed to come before her own needs and wants in just about every area of their married life.

    “I knew his children resented me when their father remarried, but I never realized just how much. I come in second, third, or even fourth on his list. Even the little one, his seven year old daughter, introduced me to her teacher as “Daddy’s second wife.” Thank goodness the teacher corrected her and said, ‘you mean Daddy’s wife.’ She is in a remarriage herself.”

    A second spouse shouldn’t mean being second place. While children will always see you and your ex as “Mom and Dad,” they need to know, in no uncertain terms, that you have begun a married life with a new person and you have made a commitment which should include personal time together that is not compromised by anyone else.

    The new wife or new husband has to be willing to make some concessions and to act in an adult manner as far as some situations are concerned. Do not force social interaction if is inappropriate.

    I remember attending a wedding where a woman had to endure having her ex-husband’s new wife, someone who was responsible for the break-up of her marriage, seated in a place of honor at the daughter’s reception. That was not a happy situation and the new wife should have had the grace not to attend.

    Sometimes ex in-laws create problems for the new spouse, making you feel as if you are taking away the “daddy or mommy” from their grandchildren. Your new spouse’s family may have really liked the ex-wife or ex-husband and are constantly comparing you unfavorably to her or him. Their comments can make you feel uncomfortable and an unwanted member of the family.

    If you feel that your spouse puts the needs of his children or ex above your needs, or that in-laws are making unwanted comparisons and comments about you, it is time to have a serious discussion with your spouse. If you’ve been divorced before, you know that non-communication is a danger signal in a relationship. Any hurt left to fester, any marital problem that goes unresolved, can cause irreparable damage to your marriage.

    It is always best to have a discussion about children, in-laws, and ex spouses before you say “I Do.” However, if a problem arises after marriage, don’t hesitate to have a talk as soon as possible.

    The rules for a remarriage should be respect for everyone involved in your lives. You shouldn’t be considered second to anyone.

    Written by Kristen HoughtonRate this article:

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