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Being the second wife

(60 Posts)
Toodlepip16 Mon 23-Jan-17 21:46:07

Hi, is anyone a second wife to their DH and can you share your feelings in this?
Been with partner for 7+ years, at first I always said I wouldn't want to be a second wife so didn't intend to get married, I didn't see it as important and thought just being together/having children etc would be enough. Over the years, I changed my mind on this regularly. More so since having DC together.
He bought a ring 4 years in and, before I noticed the ring was there, he asked would I like to get married one day and my response was "maybe", then I saw the ring... I've since said yes.
I do want to get married, I want to share a surname with my DC, I want us all to have the surname, including SC. However I have this constant battle in my head that although I want to, I hate the fact the exW has this surname (although I think this will change in time as she has child to someone else), I hate the fact he has been through it all before, etc etc.
I suppose I can cope that it's happened, it's the past and we are together now. I just feel as though us getting married, planning the wedding and everything that comes with it, will constantly make me think about his first wedding and whether things are the same, different, why our wedding vows actually mean "til death do us part" when theirs didn't, therefore is it all pointless? (He's always been more keen on this than me, said first wedding didn't mean anything, it was just another step in his life after having a child that he thought he had to go through, but realised now it was wrong as his heart wasn't in it)
Would it be easier to just not get married??
Just interested to hear other opinions/experiences and how it turned out smile

NotAUserNumberSoNotATroll Mon 23-Jan-17 21:55:19

Have you had this conversation with him?
I'm a second wife, i went through these doubts but I finally got around to thinking if someone can go through the breakdown of a marriage and all the emotion and stress that entails yet still want to get engaged and married again I must be really important to him.
And what's happened is never going to change, but our future is ours to make our own.
Your wedding will be just that - 100% yours. I knew some details of his and made mine very different (no church, no morning suits) but that was very much the wedding I wanted anyway.

Toodlepip16 Mon 23-Jan-17 22:12:09

Hi, thanks for your response.
Yes I have discussed this with him lots of times, although I try not to bring it up too much. His comments pretty much resemble yours, this will be about us, etc.
I know ours will be different, he makes out he didn't get involved much with the planning of his first (whether this is true or not), and I know we would probably get married somewhere he chooses if we do (he wants to go to Italy) but even just the thought of his family attending 'another' wedding of his plays on my mind. And then I feel I'm being patheticsad

Sweets101 Mon 23-Jan-17 22:17:38

I think you're being silly (i mean that kindly)
The past is the past, what matters now is the present and the future. The past can't be changed but it has been and gone, it just 'is'.
I think you would be daft to let it rob you, him and DC of something that you could enjoy now and in the future

AndNoneForGretchenWieners Mon 23-Jan-17 22:29:41

I'm a second wife, and his first wife was bloody awful. She is very honest about this (we get on well, now) and is open about the fact that she was unfaithful throughout her marriage because she was bored. I didn't particularly want to be a second wife either, when we planned our wedding I was a little sad that we couldn't get married in church, and that he had been through the big white wedding before and had that experience.

But the way I look at it now is that despite all the pomp and ceremony, the marriage didn't last because they weren't compatible. He divorced her because he came home from work to find her in bed with someone else, after trying to forgive previous affairs. She walked out and left the kids, and he was a single dad for 10 years. What she found dull and predictable was to me attractive, kind and stable, and our marriage is completely different to his first. I also worried about him seeing marriage as disposable, but actually he tried to work at it and only gave up when it was irretrievably damaged.

I think by constantly comparing your life to his previous marriage will just breed anxiety. He obviously loves you. Marriage is about making a promise to each other, so the fact he has made a similar promise in the past is just part of life.

NotAUserNumberSoNotATroll Mon 23-Jan-17 22:47:27

It's definitely not pathetic I think it shows you care and this is incredibly important to you.
I had some wobbles planning the wedding and I stil get irrationally angry when I hear the song they had their first dance to (god knows why I asked what it was, I hate that I know) but at no point do I feel that his family compare me to the ex. I can get paranoid that they might but I know we're a very happy strong couple and have something he didn't have before (they married because they thought they should having been together for a fair while)

KarmaNoMore Mon 23-Jan-17 22:53:55

You are acting as if you were jealous of his previous wedding reception.

Relax woman, there is no way you can erase the past. It is true that he should love you very much to want to get engaged and go through the paraphernalia of organising another wedding (I don't think I could) so do whatever you want, even if what you want is a small no frills wedding at the civil register with witnesses pulled in from the street.

Sweets101 Mon 23-Jan-17 22:55:18

Envy is the thief of joy etc

Lila16 Mon 23-Jan-17 23:02:49

I used to feel like this but have just sort of got over it and don't think about it. Although my desire to get married has dropped a lot, I'm not sure if it's because of this or just growing up. I think hearing about divorces in general as you grow older takes the shine off.

My partner has said the same, he just turned up at the wedding, doesn't even remember the day. If we were to get married it would be so relaxed and small, may not even invite anyone, but I've always wanted that.

As someone else said, the fact that he's been there done that and still wants t marry you speaks volumes :-) move your head into the future.

And the surname thing - the ex keeps it for their child, my mum still has my dads name 20 years later and she absolutely hates him,

Toodlepip16 Mon 23-Jan-17 23:08:48

Thanks everyone.
Lila my mum is the same, still has my dad's name 15 years later although she is considering changing it back especially as I might not have that name much longer.
Our wedding will only be small, however we wouldn't do it alone as my mum and close family would be devastated to miss it. But some days I consider just going to the registry office to make a point of "we just want to be married, we don't need any of the 'wedding' crap that comes with it", and therefore takes away the anxiety I keep feeling

springydaffs Mon 23-Jan-17 23:12:32

I'd personally not want to be in a situation, with kids, where I could be absolutely stuffed financially should our relationship break down. I'd want marriage in order to legally protect the kids and I.

<misses the point >

Aquamarine1029 Mon 23-Jan-17 23:37:16

You do realize that you're allowing your partner's past, which is long over, to have total control over YOUR future? Can you not see how ridiculous and self-defeating this is? He's been married before. Big deal. Why does that have anything to do with you? I suggest you get yourself straight before you lose this good man due to your insecurities.

Toodlepip16 Tue 24-Jan-17 00:25:15

Aquamarine yes I do see that, I've told myself that for several years. It doesn't make my feelings go away though unfortunately. Some days I'm over it, some days it bothers me. As much as I don't dream about a 'big white wedding', it's not unreasonable to dream about getting married and feel it's slightly tainted by the fact he's done it before. You can't help who you fall in love with, and have to deal with the fact it might not be an ideal situation, but it doesn't stop me feeling sad some times even though I know I shouldn't. As much as you can't help who you fall in love with, you can't always control your feelings x

SandyY2K Tue 24-Jan-17 00:53:46

A bit of a different perspective. My DB got remarried and it took us (mum and siblings) some time to get really excited for them and into the whole wedding plans ... because we'd done it before for him and never thought they'd split. It was hard for all of us and we were concerned about his DC and how they'd take it, because he got married too soon after the divorce IMO.

We realised he was really happy with his new GF and he could sense our lack of enthusiasm, which was upsetting, so because we love him, we got on board and all went well.

I don't think his 2nd wife had a problem with it. She says, she's lucky to have found such a catch.

Stitchfusion Tue 24-Jan-17 01:07:19

Posts like this always confuse me. You have already done all the major things together. You have children together. Commitment doesn't get any more solid than that. Being a 'wife' as you put it, is neither here nor there. You already have ALL the negatives of being his wife, with none of the legal protections, yet you are worried about that?
Why?

Toodlepip16 Tue 24-Jan-17 01:14:35

I'm not worried about being his wife, I'm just upset that the actual wedding doesn't mean as much to me as it would if he hadn't been married before. I've never wanted a huge wedding, but I still want to do something nice with our close family and friends but the thought of planning it/comparing it to his first/inviting his family and friends to 'another' wedding bothers me enough to think maybe we should stay as we are!

scaredoffallout Tue 24-Jan-17 05:47:48

I'd personally not want to be in a situation, with kids, where I could be absolutely stuffed financially should our relationship break down. I'd want marriage in order to legally protect the kids and I.

<misses the point >

You beat me to it SpringyDaffs and I don"t think that is missing the point, I think it's the main point. That legal protection is very important ToodlePip so for that reason alone, I would get married.

I'm a second wife, and it now looks as if divorce is on the cards, and that H will be more than difficult, so I am glad that I have that piece of paper. My standpoint is a bit different, I wish I had listened more closely when H was calling his ex a "bitch", and realised that the difficult person might have been not her but him. I wish I had left him long before we had got married and had dc because now I am in a horrible limbo knowing that the only way out of my emotionally abusive marriage is divorce, but being too scared to ask for one for fear of how horrible the process will be made by H. He sees everything as his and will fight tooth and nail to keep it, partly because years later he remains very bitter about his wife being awarded the family home in his first divorce.

I also think that his bitterness about that relationship has meant that he has never fully committed to ours, or maybe that is the kind of person he is and it's one of the reasons his first marriage failed. He is very detached and in many ways lives his life as if he doesn't share it with another adult - in my case he has hidden massive financial decisions from me and continues to make them on his own (this will be one of the things on my divorce petition if I ever get enough courage to go ahead with it).

Having said all that however, I think the fact that your dh was previously married does not detract from your forthcoming marriage, because it is the quality of the relationship itself which matters, and it sounds as if you have a lovely one. I'd say enjoy your day because it is about the present and the two of you.

Bellatrixandstrange Tue 24-Jan-17 06:29:04

I struggled to come to terms with this. Hi mother is still very good friends with his ex (they didn't have children). I couldn't deal with the comparisons from his family so we eloped. I was sad that my family didn't see me get married and I have never forgiven his mother. I love him and am glad we're married and we're very happy. I wish we had got married in different circumstances.

Toodlepip16 Tue 24-Jan-17 06:44:56

Oh scaredoffallout I hope everything goes well for you x

InfiniteSheldon Tue 24-Jan-17 06:50:07

I'm the second wife I think of it as being the best wife my dh was very unhappy for a very long time now he's very happy and will be so for a very long time. she is irrelevant in our lives except in that she taught him that good marriages require hard work and endless love as they can wither and die. I'm glad he's already learnt that lesson, you really need to stop punishing him for something he can't change

scaredoffallout Tue 24-Jan-17 06:56:01

Thanks ToodlePip, sorry to be a bit of a downer.

BigFatWhooo Tue 24-Jan-17 06:56:11

My mum was my dad's second wife. They were married 40 years before he died. I don't think wife1 was much thought about tbh. We didn't even know she existed until quite old 10/11 ish. It just wasn't a big deal.

Toodlepip16 Tue 24-Jan-17 06:59:45

I do have DSC so exW is still in our lives, maybe this makes it more difficult?

BigFatWhooo Tue 24-Jan-17 07:03:58

Yes, that probably does make it harder. But, if your dh feels for his ex what my dad felt for his (nothing) then it shouldn't affect you.

He's had a relationship with her, it ended (for whatever reason). He's now with you and loves you.

Don't let the past ruin your future happiness.

moomin11 Tue 24-Jan-17 07:11:34

I was the second wife the first time I got married and worried a bit about his family making comparisons about the wedding (they were a bit of a tactless bunch) but tbh honest on the day it was the last thing on my mind! We did make sure we did something completely different from his first time which helped. I'm getting married this year and my DP has also been married before, but our 'first times' feel so irrelevant. Don't let the past ruin your future happiness.

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