Once, twice, three times, maybe
April 18, 2012 2:03 PM   Subscribe

I have been married, my marriage didn't work out. Please share the unique and unexpected concerns you encountered in your second or subsequent marriage(s).

The ending of my marriage wasn't a bitter or hostile experience for either of us, but the process generated a lot of stress, paperwork and expenses. I am not soured on the idea of marriage in general, but I find myself wondering if I should consider marrying again in the future, or if I should call it one and done.

I could use some of your hindsight, but I don't want this to be an open-ended chatfilter-type question. Instead, I'd like to ask those of you who have been married twice or more: what are important things -- positive or negative -- that you wish you'd known before getting married again? What do you wish you'd known about marrying someone who hasn't been married before, when you have been? What do you wish you'd known or done differently that would have helped you avoid so many remarriages? How did your remarriage complicate matters involving your children as they grew up, and vice-versa?

Obviously each person's situation is unique, and so I am trying to gather information that can help me focus my thoughts, so I can have a more healthy perspective about my own situation and my own future choices. Keep in mind I have children from my first marriage, and a friendly relationship with their mother and extended family.
posted by Passillododorconquail Buttonquivorybidododorbacon to Human Relations (6 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I find myself wondering if I should consider marrying again in the future, or if I should call it one and done.

Questioning your premise, why do you have to decide now, once and for all? You don't. Your own situation will evolve as you get used to being someone who was formerly married.
posted by rhizome at 3:25 PM on April 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

I consider this the most important thing:

do not get married till at least 3 years have passed from your divorce.
posted by Postroad at 3:46 PM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Don't repeat the same mistakes over and over. Find out as clearly as you can why things didn't work out in the first marriage from both your and your ex's perspectives, and don't pick someone with the same issues.

These seems incredibly obvious, but I think people do it all the time. People often have a type that they're attracted to, and they continually return to that type.
posted by cnc at 4:18 PM on April 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was bitter after my first marriage, waited out the necessary few years of recovering a healthy attitude, and am incredibly happy in my second marriage. Like rhizome says, your situation will evolve; don't rush it and don't try to anticipate the future.
posted by languagehat at 4:39 PM on April 18, 2012

I had a "starter marriage" - got married quite young, realized pretty quickly it was not going to work out; no kids, decided to divorce. Met someone else right away who was pretty much The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me and got married again; we have children. This is it, this is my one-and-done, I do not see myself ever getting married again if this one ends (through death or divorce) - another relationship, maybe, but married? No.

I sum up what I've learned like this: marriage is hard work, having kids is hard work, and I just don't think it's worth being married unless the other person is totally the be-all and end-all for you. If you feel that deep, irrevocable bond to your spouse - that you're each other's best choice in a partner - then that gets you through the crappy spots, because you're not wondering if the grass is greener elsewhere; you can trust them implicitly to be as invested in making it work as you are.

The idea of marriage is romantic, and it's easy to get swept up in that while you're still in the sparkly limerance phase of your relationship. Actually being married is not very romantic at all and it's actively crappy sometimes. Once you're married, there are expectations that society in general, and those around you in particular, have of you - and that you and your spouse have of each other. You lose a lot of your individuality in a marriage since you become a societal unit, and IMO most people don't think about or understand the impact of that. I feel it's not worth putting yourself through this if you aren't sure down to your bones that your relationship is bedrock-solid. And if you're involving children (having them, or already having had them) that's an extra level of caution.

It is hard to step back from all the ideas and illusions about relationships and marriage that we have absorbed. I think many people may know subconsciously (or even consciously) that they are "settling" in a relationship, that they have reservations, but they choose to overlook it because - so many reasons. They stay blinded probably because it's scary to be that aware, but then they wonder why it doesn't work out, when an unbiased outside perspective can see the problems in an instant. Learn from your past relationships and feel truly certain about your current one before you get married. Don't get swept away and don't settle.
posted by flex at 5:13 PM on April 18, 2012 [22 favorites]

Have to join cnc's advice--make sure you've done enough self-examination to know what did and didn't work the first time! Mine was similar to flex's "starter marriage." We were young and just grew apart; what I learned was "be sure you're both more settled" and "I didn't adapt well when things changed." The latter has served me well, as the marriage dynamic naturally changed when we had a kid--I had more realistic expectations and was able to roll with it a lot better than I would have had the first time around.
posted by stevis23 at 6:05 PM on April 18, 2012

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