Second Marriage Can Be As Difficult As The First One

by Honorable Anne Kass. Ann Kass is a District Judge in the Second Judicial District State of New Mexico

Statistics show that within three years of divorce, many people marry a second time.

When I share this information with people in my court, many shake their heads and say, "Not me. I know better."

But statistics tell us that second marriages occur more often than not. They also tell us that 70 percent of second marriages that involve stepchildren fail.

They fail for a number of reasons. One is that there often are ongoing money problems from the first divorce. Another, more common cause of second marriages failing is that these new families' lives get so complicated.

They often end up with "your" children, "my" children and "our" children. There are uncountable grandparents, step-grandparents, step-siblings and half-siblings.

Trying to come up with a plan for how to share holidays and vacations is a major undertaking. Developing parenting styles and skills to avoid treating children and stepchildren differently is difficult.

Often the incomes and standards of living in the various households differ significantly, which adds to the natural human tendency to compare. "Mom always liked you best" is more that a Smothers Brothers comedy routine.

Maintaining human relationships is a hard task. As the number of relationships increases, the opportunities for conflict grow and the task of keeping the peace gets harder.

I have observed a large number of second marriages fail. I have heard people going through second divorces say, "If I had only tried half as hard to make my first marriage work as I have to make this second marriage work, it could have survived."

One man who was divorcing for the second time recently said of his first divorce: "I love my kids. I lost my home, and the problems my first wife and I had weren't much different from the problems my second wife and I have, except there weren't so many of them.

If only there were some way to get people to realize all this without their having to experience it firsthand. I hope recent data showing a decline in divorce rates is an indication that some people can learn from others' mistakes.

A marriage relationship is tough to sustain, and it doesn't get easier the second time around.

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