The Parent Trap – Remarrying your Ex
When I was a little girl one of my very favourite movies was “The Parent Trap”. Hayley Mills stars as twin girls who meet for the first time at camp and conspire to bring their parents back together. They are sure that all they have to do is get them in the same room, sparks will fly, and they will all live happily-ever-after. Hilarity ensues as the girls connive and manipulate their clueless parents into meeting again.
Sparks do fly, first of anger, then of longing, and finally of love. The movie ends with a beautiful wedding, and we are left to assume that Mum and Dad did indeed find eternal bliss with each other, thanks to their children.
This movie is a timeless classic because it taps into the knowledge that every single child of divorced parents secretly longs for their parents to get back together. Therefore, when children are involved, the decision to remarry, or even date your ex-spouse is one that must be considered very carefully. Studies show that over 65% of marriages where ex-spouses are the bride and groom will end in divorce, again. Probably the most famous couple who springs to mind is Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. But then a study of Elizabeth Taylor’s need to keep marrying and then divorcing almost as quickly, is a subject for another article.
Back to Remarrying your Ex. If this applies to you, or you know someone who is considering this, here are 5 things to think about:
First and foremost, truly and honestly identify what went wrong the first time. What was the cause of your separation? Does that problem still exist? Can you both admit to the other your part in the marriage failing. These things are never one-sided, it’s time for both of you to take your share of the responsibility.
Next you need to understand why you want to get back together. Deep down are you doing this to make your children happy, are you lonely and enjoy the familiarity or are you are having difficulty coping on your own? If the answer isn’t because you realise you deeply love each other and didn’t try hard enough before separating over things that could have been resolved, after a while you may find the fundamental issues begin to surface again.
Now spend some time together away from the children. Do not let them in on your new romantic status until you are absolutely certain you will be staying together. You don’t want to break their heart twice. Share with each other your hopes, dreams, and expectations for the future. You may be very different people now, make sure you both want the same things.
Before you make any announcements, get some professional marital counselling. A practitioner will ask the difficult questions and help you resolve any lingering issues over the heart breakers that caused the rift in the first place e.g. finances, parenting differences, or infidelity. Do not move forward until you are both truly ready to forgive and forget.
Finally, do not rush into anything! Take the time you need to be certain that there will be a strong commitment on both sides to making this relationship last a lifetime.
Author and experienced relationship coach, Gillian Andale is the owner of Love2Last, a coaching and resource centre dedicated to couples who have found love again, want a new beginning and aim to strengthen and grow their relationship as well as need help in blended family situations. Visit www.love2last.co to browse and see the wealth of information available.