After seeing so many of my close friends and acquaintances get divorced and start new relationships, I’ve noticed that there seems to be a common theme for what I affectionately like to call ‘second-time-arounders’. They all have to deal with the biggest challenge that their new relationship inevitably holds for them.
It is not having memories of their ex or memorabilia of their new partners’ ex screaming at them from every corner of their home like you might think.
With a second marriage or a new love, there needs to be an understanding that you are getting a “package deal”.
Your new partner might have children from their previous relationship still living at home. It is not uncommon for children from a broken home to feel like a new partner is ‘intruding’ or taking away precious time from their single parent. They might have seen other new partners come and go, so why engage with you this time. They might just think “let’s see how long she/he stays.”
They might test your reserve by misbehaving and disrespecting you on purpose to provoke you. How do you react to not look totally silly and at the same time not to interfere with the rules and boundaries your new partner has in place for them?
Your new relationship is a package deal, even if there are no kids around. It could be a pet you don’t particularly like, extended family members who disapprove, hobbies that don’t interest you or a career that interferes with much-needed bonding time.
You spent a lot of time creating a history with your first partner, and now your new spouse is desperately trying to fit in – not trying to disturb any precious memories. The same can be said for you trying to fit into your partners’ life – you aren’t trying to change their past, but you are trying to be a part of their future. You want to fit into their home, lifestyle and circumstances. And in spite of new butterflies in your stomach and great emotions that can leave you feeling certain that it will all ‘just work out’, there are some very practical issues that need to be considered.
Why can it be so much harder the second time around?
Two big factors to take into account when considering your second relationship are age and complacency. We humans like to arrange our life in a certain way and then try to keep it that way. So over years you’ve created a home, a lifestyle and a set of behaviours with and in your first marriage.
Now after the divorce you start out fresh. Well not quite, you have been comfortable for a couple of years in your first marriage. You would like to keep it that way. In other words you are less flexible to adjust to something new and to someone new.
Your new relationship is a package deal, because you not only need to fall in love with your new partner, you also need to like their home, their lifestyle, their kids, their pets and their memories and quirks.
How is this relevant for you…?
If you are in a new relationship where one of you (or both) have been married before, you need to be aware of these forces pulling at you from all sides. You need to evaluate way more factors in your and their lives than when you got married first time around.
What could you do to strengthen the relationship?
Relax and take it slowly. Realise that the whole setup is complex and that this is part of a package deal. Establish clear communication with your new love about the expectations and pit-falls. Especially when kids are around – it doesn’t matter whether full-time or just every second weekend – you need to have clear instructions what you can and can’t say or do.
You want to be respected by their kids and depending on their age you want to be able to enforce boundaries if necessary. You and your new spouse need to have a mutual agreement on what is acceptable and what is not. You also want to establish a trusting, happy and healthy relationship with these children, helping them to feel secure and safe within the new family unit. Clear discussion and the set-up of healthy boundaries and relationship roles will help with this immensely.
Talk to your new partner and let them know about any concerns or difficulties you have with the current situation and that you want to invest in your relationship to make it work. For your own benefit, give your new relationship time to evolve, and most importantly, give everyone else involved in this package deal enough time to adjust to the new situation.
Relationships … we all want them, but very few successful couples have actually figured out how to not only sustain them but wake up loving our best-friend, partner and confidant every day more than the day before.
Sounds like a dream …. right?
After over 26 years of marriage and working with couples from around the world to help them foster better relationships I’d love to help you do the same.
You see no matter how many “things”, accolades, money or awards you’ve accumulated – nothing compares to coming home to a loving and supportive partner whom you can share anything with, especially moments of time you’ll never replace.
Maybe you find yourself in a dead relationship, boring relationship or a relationship you want to spice up.
I’d love to help!
First you need to disconnect to deepen your connection.
I’d venture to guess you spend far too many hours in the office keeping “busy.”
Far too many days away “on a holiday.”
And … far too many hours “lacking the intimacy you know you truly want.”
If you’re sick of all of these wasted hours … the lonely nights … depressing weekends … and years alone. Let’s talk.
In just eight weeks I can completely change your mindset and help you create the love of your life.
Here we go again…another season of MAFS started this week and Australians are likely to be glued once again to the television and the stories unfolding.
Each year it is raising lots of questions over how to create a loving relationship that lasts.
Whilst celebrity and Royal relationships forever making front page news and everyday Aussies divorcing at a rate of over 40% a year.
MAFS is not the answer – and we all know that.
Still it is so interesting to bask in the stories and vulnerabilities of others and forget our own relationships for a moment.
And as always MAFS is set up to be controversial – otherwise it would be boring to watch. You have the dominant female and the dominant male character and you have the enfant terrible that will stir things up as we go along.
How does this help you with your partner?
And maybe you don’t want help with your relationship. Maybe you just want to chill out and forget about normal life and enjoy watching others having their ups and downs.
Here’s my recommendation for you.
Instead of watching television why don’t you and your partner read my book with over 50 proven tips of how to maintain a loving, intimate and respectful relationship that gives you joy every day.
Also available as an e-Book.
It’s not about marriage at first sight but all about how to make it last.
Have you ever had dinner with a couple or met a couple at a party who were constantly stepping over the invisible line of normal?
She stops him mid-sentence, he contradicts her, she criticises him again. And on it goes. You start to roll your eyes and on the way home, you talk to your partner and you both agree that their behaviour towards each other is unacceptable – you wouldn’t accept it. Although at the same time, this couple seemed to be happy and despite all the harsh words to each other, they seemed to have a way of dealing with it.
What are these couples doing to each other? Where has the respect gone?
My mentor Dr John Demartini talks about similarities and differences in relationships and the ideal combinations.
He says if the differences in your relationship are greater than the similarities you put your partner on a pedestal.
If the similarities are greater than the differences, then you start to get bored.
You need to have the similarities and differences balanced at an equilibrium.
This gives you enough friction to grow and enough smoothness to feel secure.
If you give your power away in all aspects of your life it is easy for your partner to criticise everything you do. You need to stand up for yourself. You need to communicate with your partner and you need to set boundaries in your relationship and make clear what form of criticism you accept. You need to draw a line in the sand and remind your partner that you do not want to be reprimanded all the time. Otherwise the bickering and nagging might easily become the normal way of communication in your relationship.
If you respect yourself and your partner, your relationship will last the test of time.
Some people say words are more powerful than any other weapon.
And the most powerful words we speak are the words we talk to ourselves.
The constant chatter we have in our brain determines our destiny.
So my question to you is: how do you talk about your relationship?
How do you talk about it in your own mind?
How do you speak about it to your friends & family, colleagues and acquaintances?
“Oh my relationship is not good, how could I possibly talk about it in a positive way” I hear you say.
Well, here’s my challenge for you:
For one week (7 days) I want you to only focus on the positive things in your relationship.
You fell in love with this person, there must be something in your relationship that is good. Focus on those aspects.
For the next seven days just focus on those positive aspects of your relationship and your partner and (most important) write them down.
You will find, that by doing this exercise your relationship will improve.
To the point that your partner will take notice and might even ask you what has changed.
In life we tend to get what we focus on.
And your self-talk is a great way of measuring your current focus.
This Christmas you make a conscious effort to stay calm and compassionate – whatever curve-ball life might throw at you. You keep your cool. You bite you tongue if necessary and swallow the bitter remark without saying it.
This Christmas you are not rehashing old arguments and you are not falling for the trigger points your partner, your kids or your family present. You stay calm, compassionate and centred in yourself and let these things bounce of you. You are titanium.
Look, Christmas is the major time for couples to get into fights over petty things. The reason is this: you are suddenly spending three or four uninterrupted days together and at the same time everyone’s expectation are sky high.
Everyone wants the most sparking, the most enjoyable and simply the perfect Christmas experience for their family, their partner and kids, and for themselves. With these high expectations it is no wonder that the stress builds up…and we all know from past experiences that there is always something going wrong. It might be that your famous dessert does not come together, your kids are in a bad mood, or your partner is teasing you about not having enough sex or your family.
In the past those trigger points would have caused an eruption on your side, blowing the whole Christmas mood out the window in no time. But not this year.
This year, you stay calm, cool and collected, and you respond compassionately. Maybe the dessert can still be eaten, tasting as good as always. Maybe the kids are just going through some growing pains and need comfort, not boundaries. And maybe your partner just trying to make an old joke about your family and you can laugh it off together.
You will see everyone’s surprise, in the moment that you react differently from what they expect. They will all change their behaviour as well.
I’m not saying that you need to devalue yourself or disown yourself. Not at all. Be yourself and use love and understanding as your guidance.
I’m wishing you a wonderful, relaxing and peaceful Christmas and a great start into an amazing 2020.
Please reach out if there’s anything I can help you with. Relationships are what I do!
You want to create and maintain a loving, intimate and respectful relationship. Read the book and use the over 50 tips to improve your relationship today.
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