Women considering marriage to a divorced man with children should be cautious. Two researchers analyzed 274 questionnaires of second wives—women who married men who had been married before. Almost four in ten (39%) reported having thought about divorcing their husbands, and one in four reported that, with what she now knew, she would not have married him (Knox and Zusman, 2001). Implications of the study included the following:
- Acknowledge that a second marriage is vulnerable. Be realistic about the degree to which his children will accept you and/or your children. And how do you really feel about his children?
- Question whether living together is beneficial to future marital success. Eighty-three percent of second wives reported that they had lived with their husbands before they married. Abundant evidence suggests that living together is often NOT associated with positive relationship outcomes.
- Delay marriage to a person who has been married before. Over a quarter (27.4%) of the wives reported marrying their current husband less than a year after his divorce became final. We have previously noted the importance of knowing a person at least two years before getting married.
- Consider a fresh start in a new home. Eighty-two percent of the second wives reported that their new husbands had moved into their homes—homes the former husband of the new wife had vacated in the prior divorce. Not one of the second wives reported that she currently lived in a newly bought or rented place with her new husband. Only 16 percent reported that they (the second wives) had moved into their husband’s home or condo.
Knox, D., and M E. Zusman. 2001. Marrying a man with “baggage”: Implications for second wives. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage 35:67–80.