By Lisa Arends
Your Baggage is Your Problem
It’s always nice when someone offers to carry our bags for us. There’s a relief that comes from shifting that burden; a sense of freedom when the weight is lifted. But when it comes to relationships, your baggage is your problem. Whether you have residual anger that flares when provoked, fear of betrayal or abandonment or irrational overreactions from triggers buried in your past, it is up to you to address them.
No Pining Allowed
It’s natural to miss your ex at times. Perhaps they had traits your new partner lacks or maybe you shared a different connection. Watch those thoughts. If you are yearning for your past, you will miss your present. Whatever was is over. Be where you are.
You Are Responsible For Your Happiness (And Only Your Happiness)
Hopefully, you took some time after your divorce to figure out how to take care of yourself and take on the task of finding and nurturing your own happiness. If not, pause the second marriage until you can okay on your own. When you strive to create another’s happiness for them, you put yourself in a codependent role. And when you expect someone else to make you happy, you will always be wanting. Both of these stances create a relationship based on fear and grasping.
You Must Perfect the Art of Compromise
Marriages that occur later in life can be more complicated, as two full and separate worlds come together. Each partner may be less flexible and more set on his or her ways than in a first marriage. If you want to share your life with someone, you will have to adapt. You will have to let go in order to let in.
Vulnerability and Intimacy May Be a Struggle
Both of you have probably been wounded. Perhaps deeply. Once you have been hurt, it’s tempting to build ramparts to ensure that you are never attacked again. But a marriage requires vulnerability to survive. In a second marriage, it can be an ongoing struggle to trust enough to open up. The effort is worth it.
Your Spouse is Your Partner, Not Your Savior
It’s easy to project the “white knight” persona onto the person that helps us see love and light again. It’s important to remember, however, that your spouse can’t save you. They can only hold your hand while you save yourself. And that can make your second marriage even better.
Your Ex’s Sins Are Not Your New Partner’s Liability
Not many people enter into a new marriage with the intention of punishing their new partner for the mistakes of the old. But it happens. If you were cheated on, it’s easy to become too controlling or jealous. If your ex was distant and refused to engage, you may snap at your new partner whenever they request a perfectly reasonable time out.
You Will Never “Get Over” Your Divorce (But You Will Move On)
This is perhaps the hardest truth pill to swallow. It would be lovely if a new marriage could magically erase all of the pain and turmoil of your divorce. It happened. It changed you and your family. For the most part, it can remain comfortably tucked in the past where it belongs. But there will always be some scars and some reminders. And that’s okay. That first marriage is a part of your story. Rather than trying to burn that book, let it make the second chapter even better.