At least half of all first marriages for women and a third of first marriages for men will end in divorce, according to the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention in their publication National Health Statistics Reports. Of those divorced individuals, more men than women will remarry, making it more likely that the ex-wife will have to deal with an ex-husband's remarriage. Despite the statistical implications, the reality of interaction with your ex-husband's new wife isn't likely to be easy, but it also isn't necessary that it be a bone of contention.
Communicate your feelings about the new marriage with your ex-husband. If you and your ex-husband are on good terms, communicating your feelings and concerns can help clarify how the new marriage may affect all of you. If you and your ex-husband share children and custody, it's important to keep the lines of communication open between you. Communication, according to by Emily M. Douglas, Extension Family Education & Policy Specialist of University of New Hampshire in its publication "Co-Parenting After The Divorce," helps all the parties involved negotiate the dynamics and merging of old and new spouses, along with the children.
Avoid allowing feelings of jealousy to interfere with your relationship with your ex-husband. Author and Theologan James Park of The University of Minnesota explains that jealousy is a normal emotion that typically arises when someone feels that they are faced with a comparison, competitor or replacement. Despite feeling jealous, it's important for you to remind yourself that you remain a unique and irreplaceable person in your ex-husband's history. This can be accomplished through activities that build your sense of self worth such as seeing a counselor or taking advantage of social supports The more able you are to recognize your own value and improve your self-confidence., the less likely it is that jealousy will be an issue for you.
Surround yourself with support. Seeking support from friends or family can help buffer whatever pain your ex-husband's remarriage may cause you. According to researchers at Utah State University, relying on social supports can also reduce feelings of insecurity, particularly if the divorce wasn't initiated by you. If your support system is shared with your ex-husband, consider seeking new supports who are yours alone. This can also open up opportunities for new, and potentially enriching and distracting activities that will redirect your thoughts away from your ex-husband's remarriage.
Expect that you will go through a process of grieving, even though your marriage has already ended. The remarriage of your ex-husband is a concrete representation of the end of your marriage to him. While you may not have any expectations of reigniting the spark between you, it's normal to perceive the period between divorce and remarriage as more temporary. Once reality that your ex-husband is entering into another marriage with someone else, you may find yourself experiencing the process of grief. This includes anger, denial, negotiation and eventually and ideally, acceptance.
- National Center for Family and Marriage Research: Remarriage Rate in the U.S., 2010
- University of Virginia: How to Put the “BLEND” Into Blended Families
- University of New Hampshire: Co-Parenting after Divorce
- University of Minnesota: Romantic Jealousy: Cause & Prevention
- Utah State University: What Are The Possible Consequences of Divorce for Adults?
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