Why do 60% of remarriages fail? This, I am sure you will agree, is a staggering statistic and concerning to everyone who has been married or living with someone for several years, and is now ready to commit to a new and, hopefully, lasting relationship.
With the high degree of divorces, the percentage of people remarrying has also increased considerably. Unfortunately, so have the statistics of re-marriage failure. The survival statistics for blended families are pretty depressing. They say that 60% of remarriages end in divorce within the first five years.
Why is there such a high rate of failure?
Here are some of the reasons:
1. Most people don’t take much time to understand why their first marriage failed. Just as it usually takes two to make the marriage work, it also usually takes two to end it. It is just easier to blame everything on the spouse. If you’re not open to taking an honest look at yourself, your issues and how you deal with them; what do you think will change? You have to ask yourself what are you doing differently this time to ensure your relationship will
succeed? You take yourself with you wherever you go. Whatever issues you had in your past
relationship will eventually follow you into your present one. The goal is not to hope that with the right person, these issues will disappear or that there will never be conflicts or resentments. The goal is to be aware of your own vulnerabilities, learning the tools to deal with them and then choose a partner who will be supportive, understanding and a good communicator.
2. You will be taking your children with you. Most children do not want their parents to divorce. They don’t like having their life and routine changed.They will usually blame the parent who initiated the divorce and may feel a lot of resentment for the new person coming into the picture. If you haven’t discussed with your children their concerns and attitudes towards their new reconstituted family; you will be bringing all these unresolved
issues with you into your new relationship.
3. Dealing with different parenting styles. This can also create conflict and resentment. Who disciplines the kids? How much say should the step-parent have? What if one parent is stricter than the other? Who decides the rules? How consistent do you have to be? What happens when the biological parents have different values than the step-parents? What are the parental expectations? All these questions need to be answered before moving in together.
4. Getting attention is the number one reason for misbehavior in children and teens. Now your teen has to wait in line, not only for you, his or her siblings, but now he has to wait for you to stop talking to your new partner and perhaps even his children. How will you be dealing with this?
5. Balancing time. All relationships need to be nurtured in order to grow and thrive. How are you going to carve out time for your “couple relationship” on top of balancing work, home, chores, school, errands, sports for the kids, helping the kids to adjust, disagreements, etc? You need to plan and prioritize “couple time” in order for it to take place.
6. Your own needs. What about when you want time alone with your partner, and he is busy with his own children? How will you deal with your own feelings of jealously and resentment?
7. Power struggles. How will you deal with it when your child comes to you and asks, “Who do you love more, Mommy?” How will you handle it if your child decides, in order to punish you for imposing these changes on him, that he has to complain and hate your new partner, create a war and then asks you to choose.
8. Most single parents suffer from guilt. They feel guilty because their children are not with both parents, they feel guilty because their children have to go through changes and miss their other parent. The children know how their parent feels and may manipulate them to get what they want. While some guilt is a normal emotion, during this process, it can lead to mixed messages and blurring the boundaries of acceptable behaviour. This can end up creating children having a sense of entitlement rather than children filled with empathy and compassion. How will you handle your guilt?
Don’t lose hope or give up. Blended families can become loving and successful relationships, but it doesn’t happen by itself. You need to plan and strategize this new life situation and find ways to make this blended family a happy and successful experience for all.
Please pass this forward to anyone who may be interested or may be going through this kind of situation.
Rhonda Rabow, M.A.
Author’s Bio Rhonda Rabow is an author and a psychotherapist living in Montreal, Quebec Canada. She has over 25 years experience counseling individuals, couples and families facing a variety of life challenges; from parenting, grief, depression, and self-esteem issues, to conflict resolution and marriage counseling. Her approach is empowerment and she accomplishes this by helping her clients find solutions to their problems and teaching them the skills and tools they need to feel back in control of their lives. She has also recently published an e-book called, “Discover the 3 secrets to living happily ever after”.