What are the common mistakes in Chapter Two relationships and how can they be overcome?
Post-divorce relationships are a challenge! Finally, after the divorce – that even if done respectfully, left us scarred. So, you have found a new relationship, but with happiness come the worries, the children of both of you, the exes, and money issues. How can you avoid making mistakes?
You look for the right person (the one different from your ex)
Do you think there’s such a thing as the perfect person you just have to find? Think again. Obviously, there has to some compatibility, but the key is to find a person who understands that a relationship is a journey.
It’s important to be different than how we were in the previous relationship. If you are the type who pleases your partner, and in your first relationship you did just that until you found yourself out – the point is to turn yourself into someone who values himself, who sets boundaries, and who expresses what is important to him. This way, you will connect to someone who respects you. Another example: If you are needy and all your happiness depends on the love of your partner, you should not look for the person who will love you the most, but become an independent woman, with interests and meaning in life, and learn to love yourself. This way, you will connect to someone with whom you will have mutual love. We must examine our compatibility with the partner in terms of similar values and perceptions. We must examine who is right for us in terms of the ability to create a valuable connection, who we can be ourselves with, without filters.
It’s also important to understand what’s right for you nowadays. Maybe in the past, you were looking for someone who would be a good father to your children, someone who would be suitable for building a family with – and today these priorities have changed. Maybe what’s right for you today is someone you can enjoy life with and grow by their side.
Mistake #2: Jumping into a new relationship without self-work
It’s not enough to divorce your spouse in order to create a real change in your life. You need to divorce yourself – or at least the bad parts in yourself.
Many people tend to repeat the mistakes of their marriage in their post-divorce relationship, even one by one, after the “honeymoon” period in the relationship. These will be people who usually blame the spouse for the failure of the previous relationship, and they are sure that if only they find the right person, the relationship will be perfect. In practice, they continue to bring their childhood shortcomings to the relationship and expect them to be filled by their spouse. They continue to act and behave in destructive patterns in the relationship and are surprised to find that they end up at the same places.
Many times, a post-divorce relationship comes after a big breakup – the ex-partners come to the new relationships with some kind of alertness, and they will do anything to avoid getting hurt. But, in fact, this is exactly how they hurt themselves.
However, there are people who do self-examination work and understand what they did wrong in their first relationship. They understand why they made the wrong choices for them, understand what they have sabotaged, and are aware of their patterns. Then, the second relationship is a mature and healthy one.
Mistake #3: Not detaching from your exes
Did you stay on good terms with your exes? Can you meet them to discuss child-related matters, or does every phone call from them drive you crazy? Maybe your exes are trying to keep getting attention from you?
You and your exes can be good friends and they can be the right people to share experiences about the children growing up, or even about the grandchildren. But many times, exes stay in a vulnerable and vengeful place, and tend to be “energy swallowers”. They intervene, try to get in your way, and even use the older children to deliver messages and form groups.
In addition, there are people who find it difficult to detach from their exes and feel some kind of commitment to continue to “provide services” to their divorcee, especially if their divorcees have not found a new partner. The solution: set clear boundaries. Show to exes that you are there for them when it comes to the children, but nothing more than that.
Mistake #4: Fantasizing about a big, happy family
It’s a common mistake to think that it’s possible to create one happy family. When the children are older, it’s a completely different family – and it’s often difficult to find the balance between investment in the family, in his children, and in her children. The mistakes (and successes) are related to the balance between the first family (from your first marriage) and the second family (from your post-divorce relationship). It succeeds when you look at both families as different chapters in the same story. The wisdom is to respect the diversity while accepting that there are material, mental, and spiritual matters that bind the two chapters together, and they cannot be resisted.
Families have habits that are important to them and fitting someone new into that is not easy. Many people tend to want their new partner to adapt to the family culture. In practice, it doesn’t work – sometimes the children, jealous of the parent’s partner, feel left out. This often leads to a situation where the parent is asked by their child, or by their partner, to choose who is more important to them.
The solution: talk about things and set expectations with the children from both sides and with your partner, understand that it may take time until the new situation feels balanced, and know that you need to be patient until you build your perfect new family.
Mistake #5: Moving too fast
You know, doing everything really fast: rushing into bed, hurrying to have your kids meet your new partner, and breaking up too fast. You should find a partner that believes in making changes when one is ready for them – then, everything happens naturally, with almost no struggle or effort.
Mistake #6: Making mistakes with your money
In post-divorce relationships, there is tension related to money issues. Since this is a limited resource, you have to deal with both your ex and your new spouse. What type of residence will you choose? Should you move in together? If so – will you live together in your home, move to theirs, or perhaps move to a new apartment together? Will you run a shared account? When there are no clear and talked-about agreements on resource allocation, it can lead to conflicts – sometimes, even conflicts that are related to other issues.
The solution: talk. See what’s right for both of you – whether it’s making all financial decisions together or having each one of you responsible for their own budget. Money issues tend to negatively affect all aspects of life – so don’t hesitate to have joint counseling sessions if you have problems in those matters.
Mistake #7: Walking on eggshells
At first, everything looks perfect – your new love seems to be the cure to everything, but at some point, conflicts arise, and you hesitate to talk about them and ruin the relationship once again. Thus, we are afraid to talk about things, we ignore difficulties, we adapt ourselves to the existing situation, and we do not have the courage to show our true self, fearing another failure. But, doing so actually leads to another failure, because in the end, everything blows up.
The solution: to speak fearlessly about your conflicts and your differences, to make agreements about essential things and understand that every relationship has conflicts, to understand that openness, honesty, and authenticity – even if earth-shattering – lead to a better relationship.
Mistake #8: Trying to please everyone
Sometimes, we let external factors (like the ex and the children) sabotage our new relationship – and In fact, maintain several relationships at the same time and try to move from one to the other, wanting to please everyone. This way, we protect our children from our spouse and vice versa, instead of making brave choices and avoid such situations. For example: we agree to have our children move in with us after the birth of a grandchild, without setting any limit and against our spouse’s will.
The solution: make brave choices and stop pleasing others. If you want to go on a dream vacation with your partner, you do not have to justify it to your child. Alternatively, if you promised your child that when he gets married you would help them with the money as you helped his older brother, tell your spouse, even if you know they would like to go on vacation abroad with that money. It doesn’t mean making unequivocal decisions without having a dialogue, but rather understanding what’s your take on everything and acting out of choice and not out of desire.