Will my second marriage fail like the first one did?

Sad man

A spouse who has experienced divorce will go through various emotional phases.

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What you need to know:

  • It is important to identify what your exact fears are and how they can be resolved. 
  • Identifying and processing issues that bothered you in the relationship helps you remain focused.

Dear Kitoto

I got separated from my wife three years ago. She had several affairs during our 10-year marriage and we finally called it quits. She met someone else and moved in with him. She filed for divorce and we are waiting for the paperwork to be finalised.

A few months ago, I also met another woman and we have fallen in love with each other. We feel it is time to take things to the next level but I am haunted by the problems I faced in my first marriage. What if this new marriage fails as well? Should I go ahead and get into a “come we stay” marriage as I wait for the divorce papers to go through?

Hi,

There are a few issues we may need to look at. First is whether you have processed well all that you have been through in this marriage. There could be things you wished you did differently and therefore cause you emotional pain and regret. Or there could be stuff that hurt you deeply that you did not take time to settle with your former wife. Such issues left unresolved could stay in the subconscious and cause you to be irritated when it comes to relationships. The affair she had could be part of what causes your apprehension or a feeling of betrayal.

It is possible that this feeling of betrayal could have negatively affected you followed by the divorce. In a relationship of 10 years, unresolved issues and crashed expectations can be many. When these are not tamed and they lead to divorce, it can leave one with emotional baggage of many unanswered questions.

Second, it is therefore, important to identify what your exact fears are and how they can be resolved. Some unresolved baggage may never get answers because the person who hurt you is gone. For example, her unfaithfulness is something that bothered you. If this was not processed well, it can cause emotional baggage. Or maybe it is about your capacity to manage the issues that crop up in marriage. Whatever the case, identifying and processing issues that bothered you in the relationship helps you remain focused. Baggage has a way of clouding our perception of the future.

Third, there is need for you to look at the impact of separation or divorce on you. Divorce takes a lot away from the couple and the relationship as a whole. So, as the differences mount, a lot happened and the two of you took sides to manipulate each other. A spouse who has experienced divorce will go through various emotional phases as they come to deal with the finality of the divorce.

I pray that you seek healing and systematically work through issues fully to avoid carrying over any undealt with baggage to your new relationship.

Also, to process the new path you are taking and avoid fear, what are some of the hidden effects in the former relationship that could threaten the current one?

Divorce and remarriage is something that is left on an individual as they submit to their values, faith, responsibilities and conviction. There are times some spouses make a choice of staying single and raising the child(ren) while others make a choice to re-marry for mutual support and encouragement after a divorce. After a divorce, the bitter and difficult past must be handled well and brought to a conclusion. I really don't know whether you have taken the time to consider all these issues and handle them well before proceeding with finalising divorce. 

In retrospection moving past moments of relational crisis can be turned around positively to help rebuild, reinforce and strengthen pillars that would lead to a long-term relationship. This is so when the man and woman commit to a journey to readily confront and fix the problems that brought about the crisis in the first place. Therefore, bringing intelligence to the way we relate early in the relationship is the only way we can overcome hurdles and move towards building trust and lasting companionship.

This will mean that, every couple bridges any appearance of disconnect between needs and how they reflect on the overall performance of the relationship. When we do this, we treat each other as equal partners. 

This is what makes either partner feel needed, valued, and accepted in the relationship. We need to create an environment where both partners feel safe around each other. Such support helps us never to give up. When it is easier to dispose off the other person, true support brings their need as individuals to the spotlight for our attention.

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