When you have children, your relationship with your spouse frequently changes. There may be an initial infatuation, but this can slowly give way to the toil of parenting and childcare. This easily makes your child and later teen close to number one in your life. If you divorce and re-marry, this too will change.
Unlike the dynamics with your ex-spouse that changed to your teen’s advantage, when you re-marry the dynamics can change to your teen’s disadvantage. This is because of the high school like puppy love that can be associated with this new relationship. Your teen doesn’t really get to see this side of you and that alone may be alarming, but for any relationship to truly thrive, you must take the time to invest. It is easy to make this time when you are at this early stage of a relationship. Your teen will notice how that time means less time for them.
From your teen’s perspective, it looks like you chose someone off the street over them. Remember, you love your new spouse your teen is simply managing their life with the changes you’ve made to it. For those teens truly sensitive to the reduced time they now spend with you, there may be a feeling of rejection and hurt. This hurt can become anger and this anger may become apparent to you through a change in their behavior, grades, substance and drug use, running away or attitude. Although the first reaction by parents is to ask, “What’s going on,” there quickly becomes a silent agreement that the problem is the teen.
New relationships are fun, but they can be hard too. They are especially hard when they involve children. Teens have their own set of emotions surrounding the time before a divorce, during a divorce and the disappointment of seeing their parents with other people after the divorce. You cannot underestimate the impact of this on your teen or how this will change your teen. They need an anchor. If you think you can’t be there as much set up support systems before you begin the process so they have a liaison to help them communicate their needs to you.
For you this is the potential love of your life, but for your teen it is the person that took their parent away from their hopes of their family getting back together. It takes a lot of getting used to and your teen should be given the time to make that transition at their pace and with your love and support.
When you make the decision to have children and divorce you have to know you don’t get to be selfish and have a romance like you’re in high school. Yes, you deserve to be happy, but you can’t do this at the expense of your teen. They still deserve your time and attention without hearing your new spouse complain. It can feel like you’re choosing one over the other, but in the end your teen should win. Maybe not all of the time, but enough that they know they still have your love and attention. Remember you can always find another husband, but you only get one shot with your teen.