Second Marriage Problems Are Real But The Marriage Can Still Be Great!

second marriage problems

By Jackie Pilossoph, Founder, Divorced Girl Smiling, the place to find trusted, vetted divorce professionals, a podcast, website and mobile app.

Second marriage is something that each divorced person views differently. Some have no fear and can’t wait to walk down the aisle again, other’s are unsure of whether or not it’s right for them, and then there are people who say no way, and feel that second marriage problems are just too much to bear.

Here’s is one reader’s very dark view of second marriage problems:

No matter how you look at it, anyone who marries someone who is divorced is inheriting second marriage problems; a bad situation right from the start. Otherwise, the person they are marrying would never have divorced their previous spouse.

If there are kids involved, then you inherit that person’s ex, not to mention, other problems. Nobody thinks about this, but the problems that caused that person’s first marriage to fail are still there in a second marriage. Even if there are not kids involved, you are still walking into a less than ideal situation. The pressure is on the new spouse. They have no room to screw up, and most likely, they will not be getting the same number of years that their predecessor got.


The above reader’s comment would most likely depress and scare any divorced person who has hopes of finding love and/or possibly of second marriage.


What I want to write about is why I completely disagree with this reader’s dark view, and how who as someone who has been divorced for several years, I personally view second marriage in an extremely hopeful, wonderful way.


First let me address that this reader might be correct in stating, ‘anyone who marries someone who is divorced is inheriting a bad situation.’ There is truth to it. When you are with someone who is divorced, you are also sort of “with” their ex. So, if the ex is unstable or has a drug or alcohol addiction or becomes unable to care for your boyfriend/girlfriend’s children, you might end up having to step up.


Michael Cohen Divorce Mediation


But, what’s so bad about that? In other words, I don’t see that as a second marriage problem. When you love someone, you have to love all of that person, and that means the children and the problems that he or she has a result of the divorce.

The problems might be emotional or financial or physical or situational. It might seem scary to decide to be “all in” and to take on the problems with the one you love. But, it can also an unbelievably fulfilling experience to give so much of yourself for someone you love. Isn’t that what true love is?

If taking on your new boyfriend/girlfriend’s problems isn’t something you feel you can or want to handle, then you are with the wrong person. It doesn’t mean you are selfish, it just means he or she isn’t the right person for you, the timing isn’t right or the situation doesn’t feel right.


This reader writes, ‘nobody thinks about this.’ He might be correct that SOME people don’t think about it. After all, look at the high statistic of second marriage divorces. So, the takeaway is, if you want to be happy in second marriage, be realistic and true to your heart that you can take on this situation, that you WANT to take it on.


Juli Walton, Divorce Therapist, North Shore Reach



He also writes, ‘The pressure is on the new spouse. They have no room to screw up.’ First of all EVERYONE screws up and everyone has the right to screw up. The pressure is not on the new spouse but rather both people in the second marriage.

They need to work together as a team, they need to communicate with each other, and they need to prevent harboring resentment. They also need to make time for themselves. Why? Because the problems and issues in the family are always going to be there and needing to be managed but the opportunities for good times together are fleeting.

Mini-vacations and date nights need to be planned well ahead and be built into the program of the second marriage. An effort to make each other feel loved and sexy and appreciated and respected is completely necessary for a second marriage to work.


Here’s the thing. I think all divorced people come with baggage (and by the way, so do all single people.) That said, divorced people are beautiful, wonderful people who prefer monogamy (since they chose to get married in the first place) and who just want to be loved and cherished and happy.


I don’t think divorced people have fairytale-like expectations of second marriage. I think they understand that second marriage problems are real. But, they want the peace and warmth and happiness that was lacking in their first marriage. Is that too much to ask? Nope.


Katz and Stefani Family Law Attorneys


The thing is, I’m not disillusioned that countless men and women get into really bad second marriages that often end up being worse nightmares than the first. But the point I’m trying to make is, if second marriage is well thought out, and people go into it fully aware of expectations for both people, the second marriage has a lot better chance of working.


So, in contrast to this reader’s dark dark view of second marriage, I have to say that in my opinion, giving marriage another shot is a lot brighter than staying in a single safety zone because you fear second marriage problems.

The key is being realistic, honest and true to yourself, and to have the courage to take on some major additional responsibilities or to walk away before the wedding if your gut says the situation isn’t right for you. It comes down to finding the right person, who brings out the best in you and who makes you want to take on the second marriage problems because you know you can handle them as a team.

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    Jackie Pilossoph

    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Jackie Pilossoph is the Founder of Divorced Girl Smiling, the media company that connects people facing with divorce to trusted, vetted divorce professionals. Pilossoph is a former NBC affiliate television journalist and Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press features reporter. Her syndicated column, Love Essentially was published in the Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press and Tribune owned publications for 7 1/2 years. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University. Learn more at:

    12 Responses to “Second Marriage Problems Are Real But The Marriage Can Still Be Great!”

    1. Shannon Hempel

      The main problem with the high rate of 2nd divorces is that many people don’t work on the problems they had that contributed to the divorce. No matter what happened in the marriage, it takes two to tango. So if one spouse is conflict avoidant and never gets therapy to get over it, of course they will bring that into the 2nd marriage. And as we know conflict avoidance is unhealthy and the same problems will repeat. So the main idea is to make sure you are marrying someone who takes responsibility for their part in the divorce and has utilized every resource possible to overcome it.

    2. Cami Helms

      I married young and didn’t know much about myself or life. My marriage was the best teacher. Now I know what I want, what I need and what I’m looking for. I know that if I get married again, it’ll be a great marriage because I learned what marriage should be.

    3. lauren

      Man o Man I am so glad not everyone thinks of a divorcee as something so bad like the original exerts. I do however believe there is a huge pressure on the divorcee to get it right the second time. I think its my job to fix myself, not carry the same issues over to the next person, and actually be with the right person. I unfortunately didnt see the signs that my ex was waving infront of me!! I want to break the stigma that the second marriage will fail too!

    4. Matt Ingham

      As a family law attorney of nearly 10 years, let me say that based on my experiences with my clients, in the 21st century most everyone in the is day and age has what might be characterized as a ‘starter marriage’. The ‘starter marriage’ is just for practice lol, it gives the individual an opportunity to gain some experience and mature a little bit…often times the second marriage is much more fulfilling simply because the ‘starter marriage’ did occur and allowed for an opportunity of personal growth.

      • bobby

        Not sure what state you are in, but to what degree do guys really get mistreated in the family court system? Is there merit to the indictment of the family courts, that there is real bias against men? Or is this just rhetoric?

    5. Al

      As someone whose first marriage failed 4 years ago, I can say I find the idea of second marriage absolutely absurd. Mafrige is an eternal commitment to one person. Making that commitment twice is pretty much laughable. And, yes, it sucks for the kids. They never really want anything to do with your new ‘friend’ (as my mom calls her boyfriend). I don’t know what my wife will do in the future (yes, I call her my wife) but I know I won’t be putting my son through the same thing my mom put me through.

      I’m done.

      • bobby

        Have you ever considered that perhaps marriage is an archaic outdated institution? There are many who have come to believe that for younger people marriage has long ago been destroyed by the IRS, the family courts, and the deindustrialization of the USA. An in law old me that if he had a son, he would implore upon him to NEVER get married. He believes that it is only a matter of time until he would be relegated to little more than an upright dog with a paycheck supporting an ex wife and kids who will only hate him. In fact, one of my undergraduate students told me he sees little to no benefit for a man in marriage but a LOT of risks. He told me that at age 21 he got a vasectomy and lives well now.

    6. Michael Watson

      I have to say, I do not think you are wrong in what you have argued. Personally, although married for a second time, I can say that were I single again I probably would not marry again, but that is not a definite decision. My reason for saying that is just that I think the really important thing in any relationship is the love, care respect, empathy, realism, hard work and humour that you build or develop in your relationship. Whether you marry or not is not the important thing for me, it is rather about the quality of the relationship and if the quality is great you can marry, cohabitate, or even live separately if you want. What matters is the nature and quality of your relationship for me, more than anything else.

    7. bobby

      I have never been divorced as I have been with my college sweetheart for 30 years. But I have seen my friends get remarried, and the struggle to realize that the ex husband/wife becomes their ex husband/wife. The fights over child support, alimony, expenses, visitation sound like a real grotesque kind of hell that borders on a dysfunctional form of financial polyamory. The real victims are men who typically get destroyed by alimony. Child support I understand. I do not understand the cruelty and evil behind taking an ex’s money for yourself in alimony. To me, that is a special kind of viciousness!

      • Sue

        I have been separated recently, I totally agree on unfairness for spousal support. I took some spousal support for first few months from my husband to support my self until I get a full time job since I was newly glad from school and the divorce announcement from him was totally out of blue.
        However since we have no children and I got a full time job so I began to feel that getting paid by spousal support is unfair for him. I know women tend to fall in financial struggles after the divorce but it’s the same for men. Nowadays women are more independent and financially stable. So I told me not to pay me the spousal support anymore.
        He deserves to save the money for his future like I do. I just don’t feel right for taking money from him it’s because he will divorce me. The marital break down is belong to us, we are the responsibility, therefore I disagree for the spousal support.


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