When I was a little girl I thought I would grow up, meet Prince Charming, fall in love, get married, have babies, and live happily ever after. In reality I met Mr. Wrong, got married, had babies, tried to make things work, got divorced, and then started working on my happy ending. When I met my second husband I knew I had a second chance. I thought people would be happy for me, but I ended up surprised by their reactions. So yeah, I could write the book on things moms who've been married more than once are tired of hearing. Unfortunately.
Thanks to those judgmental comments and the occasional raised eyebrow, I learned that while our culture is totally in love with marriage, second marriages usually get the side-eye. People are quick to judge, scrutinize, and shame me and my decision to remarry, calling me selfish and even going so far as to start implying that I am a "gold digger" or that I don't love my kids.
Simultaneously those same people are suspicious of my husband and his motives, too. Believe it or not, I don't want to hear about your horrible stepdad or a random statistic about the number of marriages that end in divorce. Why? Because they literally have nothing to do with me and the marriage I have built with my husband. Also, I really don't want my relationship to be the punchline of a joke. So as long as there are people out there who feel emboldened to say the following things, I will keep reminding them that my second marriage is not a quip. It's my long-awaited happy ending.
"At Least You Got Your 'Mistake' Out Of The Way"
You really don't have to remind me that I messed up big time when I married my first husband. I am the first person to admit it, and it's totally true.
You know what else is true, though? I learned a lot from my divorce, including how to make a marriage work, and I am a way better wife and partner the second time around.
"It Must Be Easier This Time"
Yes, because blending families together and co-parenting my children and stepchildren with three other people is so easy. So is navigating and unpacking the baggage that my husband and I brought with us into our marriage. Nope. It's not easier, it's just different. Easier in some ways and harder in others, but blessedly different from my first marriage.
"He's So Different From Your Ex"
You don't say? No way! I mean that's just, wow. What a shocking revelation you've so kindly shared with me.
In all seriousness, I can assure anyone and everyone that I don't need someone to point out that my husband is nothing like my ex-husband. Trust me when I say I know. That's why I married him.
"How Can You Expect Him To Raise Someone Else's Kids?"
My marriage really doesn't work that way. Both my husband and myself came into our marriage with a desire to raise all of our kids together — his, mine, and ours. My husband loves all of our kids, whether he shares genetics with them or not. Being a parent has literally nothing to do with DNA, and love doesn't require biology.
"Did You Marry Him For His Money?"
I am not going to justify that with a response.
"It's Amazing That He Was Willing To Marry A Single Mom"
So while I think my husband is a rock star, him being "willing" to marry a single mom doesn't make him some rare, magical unicorn I should thank my lucky stars I was able to "catch."
[Insert Random Statistics About Marriage Here]
Trust me, I have heard the statistics about second marriages ending in divorce. I do like to remind people that statistics don't say anything about my marriage or my partner. Besides, it's really distasteful to bring up divorce statistics with a person who's been married more than once. Seriously. What's next? Are you going to talk about infant mortality with a pregnant woman or plane crashes with the person sitting next to you on an airplane? Just stop.
[Insert Horrible Story About Stepdads Here]
Please save your horrible stories about stepdads. I have my own history with an amazing dad who happened to marry my mom when I was 4. The prefix "step" doesn't make a good dad less good. My husband and I have worked hard to build a family with each other and his, my, and our children. My kids are lucky to have a dad like him.
"You Are Selfish"
I am a mom, not a martyr. It's totally OK for single moms to date, have sex, fall in love, and, if they want, to get married. It doesn't make me selfish, it makes me a human being with needs outside my desire to provide for my children. I deserve to be happy and my kids deserve a happy mom. With my partner I have been able to build a home and a family for my kids that just wasn't possible when I was married the first time.
"Aren't You Afraid Of Messing Up Again?"
Utterly terrified, actually. Fortunately, though, I'm also older, wiser, and more sure of what I want than I was when I got married to my ex-husband. I am not saying that it's not going to be hard, or that I'm not going to make mistakes, because things won't always be easy and I'm definitely going to mess up more than once. But I am committed to making my second marriage work, which definitely wasn't true the first time around, and I'd like to think that my husband and I are going to last. At least I hope so, because I can't imagine life without him and the happy ending I was finally able to find.