Dear Annie: My wife and I are in the final stages of a divorce after 25 years of marriage. We have two wonderful teenagers. We both realize that we had a part in the breakdown of the marriage, and we are trying to keep the process as friendly as such things can be.
Shortly after my wife moved out, I met a wonderful lady with whom I have much in common. Once the divorce is final, I would like to ask her to marry me. Is that fair? I don’t want my soon-to-be-ex to think that she meant nothing to me and is being traded in. I also don’t want my new ladylove to think I’m simply replacing one wife with another. I don’t mind living alone. It actually has been quite peaceful.
The biggest worry is the kids. I think my son would understand, but my 13-year-old daughter will be a different story. She tries to put up a good front, but isn’t succeeding all that well.
I guess the real question is: Should I let my concerns for other people get in the way of my own happiness? How can I help my daughter understand that I am not disrespecting the years of my marriage? I am simply taking the next step in my life. – Ready To Move On
Dear Ready: Your main focus right now should be your kids’ adjustment, not your personal contentment. You are rushing things. They are teenagers. The parents they love are divorcing, and this is enough trauma in their lives for the moment. Please don’t make things more stressful by remarrying so quickly. Let the dust from the divorce settle, and then slowly introduce the new woman into your children’s lives and let them get to know her. They may still object, but they will have less reason if they don’t feel she is being shoved down their throats. We think all of you could benefit from speaking to a family therapist.