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QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Relationships Department

Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other SelfhelpMagazine.com staff.

Question

My husband and I have been divorced for fifteen months. For the past six months we have been discussing reconciliation. We have two children and both of us want to re-unite our family. We believe that we have learned a lot during our separation and have given up our previous relationships. However, my husband's girlfriend became pregnant with his child while they were together. My husband says that he will support the child and be active in the child's life, but that he wants to marry me. While I am willing to accept the child as part of our life, I recognize that the situation will complicate things.

My real question here is whether a second marriage to the same man has a good chance of survival? Do you feel that when people say they've learned from their mistakes, do they really or do things tend to simply fall back into old patterns?

Answer

There is no easy answer to such a complicated situation. Without knowing the cause of the divorce and whether those issues have been resolved, it is difficult to predict whether you relationship will be better the second time around. As you say, the arrival of a new baby by another woman further complicates matters. In order for your marriage to have the best chance possible under the circumstances, it is necessary that you have a strong foundation. You will be dealing with a variety of new issues in addition to whatever old issues still remain. Will you or your children be jealous of the time he spends with the new child? Will having the baby's mother in your life be a constant irritant and reminder of that relationship?

In order to increase the odds of a re-marriage working, and to develop the strong foundation necessary especially under these circumstances, I strongly urge you and your ex-husband to consult a professional marriage counselor to help sort through the issues, both the old ones and the new ones. There are too many lives involved and too many issues for you to try to come to a conclusion on your own. The time invested in counseling will be worth its weight in gold in helping you come to a decision and getting a clear perspective on your situation.

6/28/98

Dr. Edward A. Dreyfus is a Clinical Psychologist, Marriage, Family, Child Therapist, and Sex Therapist. Dr. Dreyfus has been providing psychological services in the Los Angeles-Santa Monica area for over 30 years. He offers individual psychotherapy to adolescents and adults, divorce mediation, couples counseling, group therapy, and career and vocational counseling and assessment.His book, Someone Right For You, is available in the Amazing Bookstore Catalog.

Dr. Dreyfus can be reached at: (310) 208-5700.

 

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