Big Issues – Marrying again
When you’re planning on marrying the one you love, you feel on top of the world!
While you may be excited about marrying again, if you have kids from a previous relationship, it’s important to consider how they may be feeling.
You would hope that your kids would share in your joy, but how they react to the news may surprise you.
Many children whose parents have separated hold out a hope that their parents will get back together eventually. The news that you are marrying again will shut down this possibility. Your child may become withdrawn, unhappy or start behaving badly.
The way they react will differ depending on their age and the circumstances. A very young child may not be quite as emotionally affected by you re-marrying as a twelve year old or a sixteen year old. The amount of contact your child has with your ex could also affect how they react.
You can’t force your child to be happy about your remarriage, but you can acknowledge how they feel. Allow him or her to say what they feel and accept their feelings. They may have worries about what the future will hold, they may also worry about how their other biological parent will feel about the news. Re-assure them that your feelings for them won’t alter.
The important thing to remember when telling kids the news is to focus on the positives, advises counsellor Liz Raymond: ‘It is also important that all children have become familiar with the new wife/husband and that the ex knows about the plans so that this does not come as a shock which the children may witness.’
Telling your ex
As you have a child together, it’s important that you let your ex know that you are re-marrying and that this person will play a part in your child’s life.
Again, how they react depends on your current relationship with your ex. Be prepared for a negative reaction - hearing that you are marrying again can stir up emotions and memories.
Your ex may also worry that your new partner will want to replace them as the child’s parent, and will be afraid that they won’t get to see their child as often as they normally do.
If you already have a parenting plan in place, you may have to re-visit it to look at how a new parental figure will affect current arrangements. For a reminder on how to write a parenting plan, click here.
How it will affect grandparents
Grandparents may react badly to the news for similar reasons as your ex.
When a new partner comes along and new families are formed, grandparents, and other in-laws for that matter, can feel sidelined as new relatives from the step-mother or step-father’s side of the family are brought into the picture.
Speak with grandparents and discuss expectations on both sides – remember how important links with other family members are to your children, even if not for you.
- For tips on how to plan your second wedding, read our advice blog with wedding expert Kate Thompson from Confetti.co.uk .
- If you’re worried about how your kids are coping with separation, try Getting It Right for Children when Parents Parent. The free online programme helps you to tackle the potential problems kids face when their parents separate. Click here to access the programme.