What if your dad has two marriages
Second-hand men: when the man of your dreams already has children
If the new partner is only available in a package with children and ex-wife: Anyone who, like FOR YOU author Alexandra Dresche, decides in favor of a divorced father often asks himself whether the whole thing is not a sham.
Jeans or black pants? Hug or just say hello? Before our first date, I was nervous. My hands were wet, my lips were dry, then the doorbell rang. I opened. There it was: Lukas. Brown eyes, blonde hair, a shy look. "Hello, Alexandra," he said. "I have to have a drink." Behind him, the man I had loved for a few weeks smiled encouragingly. In the kitchen I filled a caipirinha glass for Lukas up to the top with Diet Coke. Lukas emptied it in one gulp. He looked happy. I thought: About us, that could be something.
Second-hand partnership: when the partner brings children with them
I now know that Lukas ’mother of Diet Coke thinks about as much as a homeopath of antibiotics. I've now moved in with the man I love. His sons Lukas, 6, and Adrian, 3, visit every other weekend. And now I hang around in Internet forums with titles like “The used man” and in which everyone discusses annoying ex-wives and their own impotence. All of them are second wives like me. Women who have bought a great man and children for free - and are now wondering whether the whole package was a sham.
Author: Alexandra Dresche
In 2007, 190,000 marriages were divorced
“I don't even know what you've got,” says my friend Kirsten, “you knew what you were getting yourself into.” Statistically, maybe. The chance of meeting a man who brings more than just his quirks to the relationship increases with age. In 2019, 149,000 marriages were divorced in Germany, and half of the couples had children. And the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs says that divorced men between 35 and 49 are more likely and faster than divorced women to enter into a stable relationship again - and increasingly with younger childless women.
They get the full program straight away: before they really understand the happiness of togetherness, there are at least three of them. "Other couples get to know each other in peace and prepare for family life, the so-called second-hand couples cannot do that," says family scientist Dr. Doris Früh-Naumann, who spoke to 150 second wives for her research. “The children radically break up the structure of the relationship: while one otherwise concentrates on mutual needs, one should be a family during visiting hours. The man can fall back on his role as a father, the woman must first acquire hers in relation to the children. "
Falling in love with a man with children is like suddenly an adult standing in the living room with two tots and asking: “Can you take care of them? For the rest of your life? ”You could throw a stranger out, ask your loved one to take a seat with an attachment - regardless of whether the children are unsympathetic or you have little idea about upbringing. Because if you can't with your offspring, soon the man can't with you either. At first I thought: okay, he has kids, but that has nothing to do with us.
But when we moved in together, he said: “I want you to deal with them.” So on the weekend I got up at six o'clock as soon as the little ones stormed the bedroom, played with them and tried to face the three-year-old who was in the acute defiant phase, constantly yelling around and not wanting to go to bed in the evening, developing a positive feeling. On Mondays my constant smile fell away, I got the apartment back to normal and argued with my partner. He wanted harmony, I wanted our life to be free. And while he beamed from tired eyes from three bad nights because the children said "I love you" in the morning, my tired eyes looked angry because the boys hadn't even said goodbye to me.
Holidays must be discussed with the ex-wife
“The period of time that second families need to grow together into a happy community is often several years. Until then, there are many phases in which both partners are about to pack their bags - and not to go on vacation, ”says Früh-Naumann. Above all, the fact that the new woman wants to build something of her own with her partner, but the man's past determines the present, puts a strain on the relationship. Holidays have to be arranged with the ex-wife, and many men cannot afford another child. Decisions that the new woman can little influence - just as little as the upbringing, because according to the law she has no rights towards children. We were lucky: the financial framework leaves room to breathe, my partner can still imagine a child, he and his wife have peacefully separated, and the children are well brought up.
Still: his boys remind me that he has already been kissed - not just briefly, but long and intensely. If he leaves the cell phone on because of his family while on vacation and he talks to his ex-wife in the evening because her television is broken, I can't suppress the jealousy. I actually love him for being caring, but at moments like this I ask myself: Am I really his number one as woman number two? "In a young relationship it is typical that second wives are not yet sure of their meaning for the other," says the expert. “Especially since they have found their husband as a partner, with high expectations of emotional exclusivity. The feeling of being important to the other nourishes a partnership. The children regularly throw it out of balance. "
Today, after two years, we are trying to keep this feeling stable. We take extra time for ourselves on the child-free days. And we no longer act like a "normal family" on weekends because we are not a normal family. The three of them also spend time alone without my having to be there. And when there are four of us on the road, I notice more and more that life can also be nice with your children: the other day the boys were supposed to be busy on the playground. Adrian put on his pout, looked at me and the man I love, and said: “But I want to do something with you!” I thought: That with us, it can be something.
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