5 Most Unique Challenges Of Second Marriages

Preparing for and discussing these potential second marriage issues can make it easier to deal with them.

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I see a lot of second marriages in my practice (as well as being in one myself).

Partners in second marriages are more likely to seek counseling for issues because they are older and more likely to want to introspect about themselves.

They also understand that divorce is a real threat and want to act accordingly. 

Second marriages are different from first marriages in many ways, and I have discussed key areas of compatibility for second marriages here.


While second marriages are generally built on more innate personality-level compatibility — as people know themselves a lot better after their first marriage ends — they also have their own unique set of challenges.

Preparing for and discussing these potential issues can make it easier to deal with them if and when they come down the pike.

RELATED: 6 Unsexy Tips To Make Your Second Marriage Way Better Than The First

Here are 5 most unique challenges of second marriages: 

1. Blended family

This is usually the hardest thing for couples in second marriages. 

Conflict with exes and figuring out where to live and custody schedules can be very difficult. It is also very stressful when the kids don’t get along.


2. Blending finances

For many couples, this can be a difficult decision.

On the one hand, you want to merge money with the person you love, and on the other hand, you may want to keep them separate and protect yourself and your kids. 

Many people also feel screwed over by their divorce and are resentful about this, which then impacts their feelings about money in their next marriage.

RELATED: I Don’t Love My Second Husband Like I Loved My First — But That's Why It Works

3. Regret

Many people regret not meeting their now-partner sooner. 

While they may not regret their first marriage because it led to kids, if you deeply love your second spouse, you may wish you had experienced earlier stages of your life with them.


It is a source of sorrow to think about the phases you missed with your now-spouse — like pre-kids, pregnancy, having kids, buying a first house, grad school or whatever else.

You know that your life together is starting in mid-life, which can be difficult and sad.

4. Trust issues

It can be hard to fully trust your second spouse if you were betrayed in your first marriage. 

You may have a guard up around certain issues, like fidelity, money, etc. 

If your spouse keeps saying, "I’m not your ex!" this is a clue that you are either projecting issues from your first marriage onto your second, and/or that you need to explore whether you have chosen two similar people.


RELATED: Why I Refuse To Marry A Second Time, No Matter How In Love I Am

5. Not being vulnerable

Speaking of having a guard up, people in second marriages can act more "rational" to the exclusion of "emotional." 

While this frequently means less overt conflict, it can also mean less closeness. People in second marriages want to act maturely and not expect too much from their partner so that they don’t divorce again.

While this is admirable and useful to a point, some couples may be scared to act needy or vulnerable enough. In turn, there always remains some distance emotionally between the partners, who focus too much on independence to prevent potential codependence (and thereby may not open themselves up fully to interdependence).


People in second marriages may be less likely to own and acknowledge the desires of their inner child and may stay too much in the role of "adult."

Also, if there was a lot of time between your first and second marriages, you may have gotten so used to being on your own that you find it hard to merge with someone in the way that marriage requires.

Share with your partner if you’re in (or considering getting into) a second marriage, and discuss.

RELATED: The Top 10 Reasons Why Second Marriages Are More Likely To Fail

Dr. Samantha Rodman Whiten, aka Dr. Psych Mom, is a clinical psychologist in private practice and the founder of DrPsychMom. She works with adults and couples in her group practice Best Life Behavioral Health.