All Relationships after Divorce
Well, almost all of them.
As Judith Wallerstein points out in
The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce, "...the divorced
family is not a truncated version of the two-parent family. It is a
different kind of family...." So we're talking about the new
relationships you must create with your own children, and the new —
ongoing — relationship you must have with the person you chose to be
their other parent.
Chances are, you were in your early 20's when you first married, and
you've been out of circulation for (on average) a little over seven
years. The places and opportunities to run into the next Mr. or Mrs.
Right for you have changed; the way in which dating is done has changed.
Your "criteria" have changed.
You have changed.
Think about then versus now: What worried you? What was the focus of
your dreams? How did you talk about investments, lifestyle, politics,
exercise, your car, child-rearing, diet, education, and career
If you think that having no kids always
equals a cleaner break, you may be in for a surprised at the pull that
the illness of a former father-in-law can have. Or than an
ex-sister-in-law continues to rely upon you as godparent to her child.
Journal of Divorce & Remarriage
recently published research finding that co-parenting never effectively
ends: Not even when parents divorce after their children are grown and
out of the home.
"Stepfamily," then, isn't just the term that
most readily comes to mind as we anticipate remarriage into
households with children under the age of 18.
It's just one way in which you'll benefit
from anticipating a new way of relating with almost everyone in your
life after divorce.