Remarry in haste, repent at leisure

Hello everyone:

This is a tough topic but I wanted to share some thoughts about remarrying. It may seem like I am against it, but really I just want to you take things slowly before you jump into something you will regret later.

Take your time getting to know the new person in your life. Have you ever seen this person get mad? How does he or she handle anger? Does this person react by blowing up? Does he or she swear when angry? Is this person a screamer? Does he or she seem almost proud that this (blowing up, swearing, screaming) is the way that his or her parents handled arguments? Does this person mistreat your children? Could you live with these reactions for the next 30 years? One of my friends was divorced when his kids were small and he thought he had found the perfect step-mother for them. One day she was visiting at his house and got mad at the children. She started screaming and slapped one of them on the face. That was the end of that relationship; he never yelled at his children (he spoke to them calmly as needed) and he did not believe in slapping anyone. She apparently did, so she was out of the picture pronto.

Next, what kind of family does this person come from? If possible, watch how this person treats family members, especially those members who are the same sex as you are. If he or she maltreats that individual, eventually he or she will do the same thing to you. Watch out for the person’s siblings. Does he or she have a sibling or two who is absolutely charming to someone’s face, only to cut that person down or mock them when that person is nowhere in sight? That is standard operating procedure in that family. When you aren’t around, chances are good that they will have a few things to say about you.

Does this person show respect for his or her parents? How does this person handle disappointment?  Does this person blame others for his or her failures in life? Does this person accept responsibility for his or her own actions?  I realize that this might sound mean spirited to examine a person’s family to determine if you wish to continue your relationship with that individual, but someone’s family has a huge influence on his or her life. Having a “funny uncle” might not make a lot of difference to you, but what if you have young children?

Does this individual come from a dysfunctional family? If so, this may be the only example of family life he or she knows. While it is possible that the person has worked very hard to not be like Mom or Dad, when the chips are down, individuals have the tendency to revert to the type of behavior they have seen modeled as a child. Folks, “what’s down in the well comes up in the bucket,” as the old saying says. Could you live with that? Would you want to? What does your potential partner think about his or her mother or father? Does he or she have Mommy or Daddy issues? Do you want to take those issues on? Did his or her opposite-sex parent die when he or she was young? That person might end up blaming you for the fact that his parent died. Check carefully before proceeding here.

Best,

Dr. Sheri

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