Conflicts When Integrating Your New Family

By Julie Garrison

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One in every two first marriages ends in divorce, and (as if that’s not bad enough) the divorce rate goes up exponentially with each subsequent remarriage.

It’s not that couples are incapable of making a succeeding marriage work; it’s that they are not adequately prepared for the problems that will inevitably arise.

There will be conflicts between you and your beloved on how you are going to deal with finances, holidays, child visitations, co-parenting your stepchildren, etc.

You need to know how to handle it.

You will most likely have a “husband-in-law” and, she, a “wife-in-law.” It comes with the territory in remarriage. Count yourself lucky if there is only one ex-husband that you have to deal with.

When conflicts arise between you, your new wife, and your respective exes, it is usually beneficial to take the higher ground and try to resolve your differences calmly and sensibly. It doesn’t have to be a win/lose situation.

Believe it or not, the exes have to go through a certain adjustment period to your new marriage also. If you find yourself feeling angry at your ex for being unsupportive of your upcoming remarriage, remind yourself that she is the mother of your children and that their security is your primary concern.

In front of the children, pretend that you and your ex are friends. No matter what she does, be the better example. Your kids will thank you for it later.

If your ex becomes loud, abusive, or difficult in other ways that are negatively affecting the children, begin logging this behavior. You may need it if you have to go into back into court.

When a parent remarries, the children from the previous marriage often feel like a “White Elephant” left over from the first marriage. This feeling can become quite pronounced.

But there is much that you can do to help children through this adjustment difficulty. If you make sure they have their own “space” in your new household, they will feel better.

Also, allow them to provide their own input into family holidays, traditions and in other decisions that the entire family participates in. These may not seem like that much of a big deal, but they really are. The same thing goes for your wife’s children from a previous marriage.

Remember that, although you are a blended family you’re a valid family, just the same. With adequate foresight and preparation, everything will fall into place and this time around will exceed your expectations.


Julie Garrison has been writing articles and short stories for the past 10 years and has appeared in several magazines and e-zines.

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