Today almost a third of marriages involve at least one person who has been married before1. People re-partnering are sometimes more aware of the difficulties in establishing a successful relationship and can be more committed to making the partnership work.
Re-partnering or re-marrying can often involve children from previous relationships. The image of step-parents has often been unfairly fraught, but such blended families can provide a rewarding environment for adults and children. While considering a new relationship or establishing a stepfamily, we suggest you consider three questions
Before you start a new relationship, be sure that you have come to terms with the end of your previous relationship. This is particularly important if you did not want the first marriage or partnership to end, and had to deal with the pain of being left by your partner. Ask yourself: do my thoughts about my ex-partner still arouse strong feelings, including anger and resentment? have I adjusted to being alone again? have I regained a sense of self-confidence? can I look back on the previous relationship and recognise some of the things that contributed to its breakdown?
Do you want to be with a new partner whom you love, or do you want him or her more for the sake of being with someone, or to provide a two-parent home for your children?
Be realistic about what worked and what didn't in your previous partnership, when making a decision about a new one. Learn from that experience to clarify in your mind what sort of partner you want. When you ask yourself these three questions, listen to any doubts you have and consider talking them over with a counsellor.
1- Australian Bureau of Statistics (2006), Marriages, Australia. ABS Catalogue No: 3306.0.55.001 Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.