Before you can move onto a fresh marriage and new start, you must ensure that your playing field is level and ready. This applies to your previous spouse, children, home, insurance, financial security, and most importantly, your mental health.
“It wasn’t that we had grown apart so much as it was that we had grown into the people we really are.” This quote from author Larry Calat perfectly describes the essence of why getting remarried later in life makes sense.
Maybe you already did the whole marriage thing. You made a life with someone, had beautiful children, and maybe one or both of you decided it wasn’t the right path for your life anymore. The thing is, you tried it, and whether you feel you succeeded or failed, you are who you are today because of the experiences you’ve been through. You learned about yourself, and what you want out of this life. You may have changed and grown out of your past marriage, but what you grew into is your real, true self.
Many over 50 divorcees, widows, and widowers find love again and say it’s the best love of all. Don’t count yourself out just because you’re in a later stage of life. Sometimes life brings us through the trenches so we can receive the biggest blessings.
Ask Yourself If You’re Ready for Remarriage
Stay aware of what you want and recognize that you’ll truly be ready for remarriage when you realize you don’t need to remarry, but that you want to remarry. You’ve done it once, cut your losses, and moved on. You realize that you want to go through all the fuss to do it all over again, the right way, and build a life together with your person.
Here are some questions you should be asking yourself:
- What are my values?
- What do I need my partner to bring to this family and my children?
- What do I need my partner to bring me?
- What will “us” look like 20 years down the line?
- How is this going to impact my children? My family?
Give yourself enough time to determine if this is the right decision for you. Many people get remarried in older age/later stages in life. They find companionship and decide to finish their lives together. An alternate option is not getting legally married, but cohabiting and exclusively being with one another minus the legal label.
At the end of the day, however, do some soul-searching and make sure you’re really ready for this new commitment. If these questions have determined your new partner isn’t a good fit, re-evaluate your relationship to see where the incompatibility lies. The most important thing to make a second marriage work is to be secure within yourself.
Connect With Family and Friends
Your second marriage will bring on a beautiful blending of families. If you’re getting married for the second time, odds are you have a family from your previous marriage. You’re about to bring more love and family members into your life, and you and your spouse are responsible for bridging the gap.
An important step is to communicate with your loved ones. Considering remarriage is a huge decision in life. Lean on the people you’re closest with for support while making this decision. If your previous spouse is still involved in your life, you definitely want to have a conversation with them about your new spouse coming into the picture. If your new partner is serious enough to marry and be in your children’s lives, the other parent of your children deserves to be kept in the loop. Even if you’re not super close with your ex-partner, this will ensure your relationship with them continues to grow and remain healthy by instilling that trust. It’ll push you both in the right direction to get along and co-parent your kids! Put yourself in their shoes and do your best to be respectful and forgiving. Honesty is always the best policy. Plus, you’re setting an awesome example for your kids by modeling healthy adult relationships, even if you’re not married anymore.
It’s also extremely important to keep your children in the loop. Chances are, if you’re lucky enough to have a strong relationship with your children, you’ve been involved in every big and small event in their lives! Every decision you’ve made since they were born has been for their benefit, probably even your last divorce. It’s only natural that your kids will be included in this one, and I’m sure they’ll be happier to hear it from you than to be surprised by a Facebook post. Communicating with your kids will help them to cope with these changes. Accepting a new “parent” figure can be difficult for kids of any age, young or grown. Be mindful that creating a safe space for your kids to share their feelings and opinions with you is important. This will help keep open, honest communication between you and your children to prevent rifts or drifting during this transition period.
At the end of the day, you have to do what is best for you, just don’t leave your loved ones in the dark.
Have Partner Conversations
Choosing to be with someone new requires some adjusting to both of your lives. Things are going to be crazy enough trying to settle dynamics between step-parents, new spouses, kids, and houses. We suggest you get your finances straight before you say, “I do”… again. Figure out how you and your new spouse want to handle income, spending, and saving. Don’t let money wreck your marriage and use the saying “yours, mine, and ours” as a surefire way to appropriately divide up assets with your partner. You may want to keep some of your money private to yourself, and your spouse may want to do the same. It’s very common and financially smart to have some assets combined with your partner, as well as your own money. Throughout your time together, you may accumulate funds and that’ll be shared between the both of you. Having a personal safety net will protect what you’ve built and provide security for your spouse and family.
Make sure you have a plan for your assets in the event you have another divorce or unexpected tragedy. By having an estate plan, you can control where your assets go. Another topic to consider when remarrying is to update your will. Yes, it can be a somber topic but it’s important to protect your finances and equity. Both of these options ensure your children will get the inheritance they deserve and that you pass onto them. A lot of people find it important to keep their valuables in the “family name,” another reason to keep your finances safe.
Decide To Prenup or Not to Prenup
You want to be 110% sure your new spouse is worth it. You’ve been through marriage before, so you know a little bit of what to expect. According to a Pew Research Center study, two-thirds of previously married people ages 55 to 64 have remarried, up from just roughly half 50 years ago.
A lot of times, older individuals aren’t in a rush to get married again, especially after having grown children and dealing with the loss of assets from the first marriage. This would be why prenup agreements are very popular in the community of second marriages. People want to protect their finances, children, and family after learning from their mistakes. This may appear controlling or rude to your new spouse, but having an honest, open conversation with them and explaining your rationale behind wanting a prenup will help your partner understand. Check out your state laws to find out more about prenuptial agreements and if they’re the best option for your family.
In some cases, assets, finances, and personal possessions such as vehicles, pools, homes, boats, and more must be divided up between the two parties in the case a divorce ever happens. This is why many couples will choose to have a prenuptial agreement, so each party’s assets are protected.
Find a New Home
IfIf you have kids who are grown with a life of their own, you may want to consider the possibility of picking up shop and moving away in a few years. Empty-nesting is a real thing, and once the kids flee your nest, you may feel inclined to uproot yourself and relocate. Maybe you’re looking for a change of scenery, a change of pace, a fresh start, an opportunity to find yourself, settle down again, or a mix of all of the above. Relocating can help you start this fresh chapter off with your new partner on the right foot.
Even if your children aren’t fully adults yet, it’s never too early to start planning with your new partner. As we mentioned, check your values. Where do you see yourselves in 20 years? If you and your spouse are considering moving, downsizing, or buying a second home, start planning your finances early. Chances are you now have a beautiful blended family to make memories with. It’s important to include all parts of the family, including step-children and extended family members. Making sure your finances are secure before creating memories will make the transition to a bigger family much easier.
Some families will want to upgrade their home once they’ve remarried to accommodate for additional children, or for a new start. Another popular purchase of remarried couples is a beach house or vacation home. This makes it so that family members can meet up at this vacation home whenever it’s convenient for them! Vacation homes are great for planning trips with everyone involved and are neutral meeting spots for all parties. You may want to consider getting pre-approved for a mortgage before looking for a larger family home or vacation home where your blended families can now reside. This way, you’ll have a better understanding of how much money you can borrow given your new financial situation with your partner, which can help shape your house hunting budget! Another option is relocating with your spouse and selling your family home, or passing it on to your children. This is also a common solution for remarried couples who want to start their lives together in a new place.
Regardless, getting these discussions out of the way early will set you up for financial success and relaxation when the time to move or make the decision does finally come. You’ll be able to use the years in between to save for whatever adventure is next.
Harbor A Blended Family
Ask yourself: How will your kids react? Your spouse’s kids (if they have any?) Will you be able to combine families without causing radical issues?
One-on-one discussions can help make everything less weird for your kids, and show that you’re willing to share this new part of your life with them, and want them included. It shows you’re being honest and sets a mature example for them to follow. After all, that’s what parenting is all about, isn’t it?
You bringing it up will make it less awkward for them too, and you want to normalize the fact that your family will be getting bigger and will be changing a little bit.
Reassure Your Kids
Getting remarried can be the first page to an exciting new chapter in your life! Second marriages are a second chance at life and love. You can find love at any age, young or old, and it should be celebrated every time! During this huge change in your life, don’t forget about your loved ones who have gotten you to this place and your children, who are going through these radical changes with you. They’re seeing a new person come into their family’s life, and sometimes that can take a while to adjust to. Your kids still want to feel important to their mother and father. It’s the parent’s job to make this transition easier on the kids, as it’s out of their control.
Every family is different, but there’s immense beauty in having a blended family. It’s an opportunity to connect with people you’re not blood-related to and build a love for them as if they were your biological brother or sister. This is a unique chance to make another beautiful fire from the ashes of a past flame.
Remind your kids that they will always come first
You can find love at any age, young or old, and it should be celebrated every time! During this huge change in your life, don’t forget about your loved ones who have gotten you to this place. Your children, who are going through these radical changes with you. They see a new person come into their family’s life, and sometimes that can take a while to adjust to. They still want to feel important to their mother and father. It is the parent’s job to make this transition easier on the kids, as it is out of their control.
Every family is different, but there is immense beauty in having a blended family. The opportunity to connect with people you are not blood-related to and have a love for them as if they were your biological brother or sister. The chance to make another beautiful fire from the ashes of a past flame.
Create New Memories
Use this opportunity to make new memories and bond as a family. Remarrying later in life comes with some sticky situations or conversations, but making things as normal as possible will help everyone fall into a good routine and feel comfortable. Take time to learn about one another and approach one another with an open mind. This is a great chance to include all parts of the family, from young children to kids in their 30’s, to grandparents and aunts and uncles. Here are some ideas you may want to try out with your newly blended family that everyone can be involved in.
- Cooking at home: everyone can help out, from young ones washing dishes to inviting over your adult kids for Sunday dinner.
- Vacation: it doesn’t have to be anywhere far! It could be a camping trip or weekend getaway, or even just a day trip!
- Family outings: on the weekday or weekends, take everyone out to bond at the movies, a restaurant, park, yoga, picnic, etc.
- Make an effort: show up for your blended family at kids’ sports or music events, school awards, practices, games, etc.
Communicate With Your Ex
In most secondary marriages, there will typically be a few parental figures. If your past partner is still a supportive, loving figure for your children together, it’s important to try and show respect and forgiveness for your past partner. This will help you and your ex move through the healing process, bounce back to your own lives, and still do your best for your children. Talking to a therapist may be a good way to combat feelings of uncertainty or residual feelings from the first divorce. Counselors are great outlets for working through big life changes.
Allow co-parenting to be a thing. Your children will continue to grow up and have major milestones in life such as getting married and having kids of their own. You’ll want to be there to share these moments with them, and so will your ex. It’s important to be on good, healthy terms with your ex, especially when you’re considering remarrying. Your future self and your kids will thank you.
Marrying again later in life is a beautiful thing that only some experience. The circumstances leading up to this marriage may not have been ideal, but you are lucky enough to have a second chance at love and life. Take this opportunity to connect with your now larger family, learn about them, and find your rhythm as a larger family and new couple.
Finding love again in your later life can bring a whirlwind of emotions. Ride the wave and enjoy it! Not everyone is so fortunate to be blessed with a love to spend their days with. Be honest and open with your new partner and don’t be afraid to jump into the messy, crazy thing world of marriage.