MAKING A COMMITMENT: REPARTNERING AND REMARRYING

Repartnering or remarrying has its own set of sexual difficulties. There might be an ex-partner or two to consider and it can be difficult to avoid the comparisons of personality, size, shape and sexual performance.

When there are children involved it can get very complicated. One of the main problems for a new relationship is that there never seems enough time to be alone and that will be intensely frustrating. The system of jealousies can be incredibly complex. The reactions of children will depend a lot on their age but seeing your parent relating physically or sleeping with a person who is not your other parent can create confusion, resentment and even anger at any age. If your parents’ relationship was strained for some time you may never have seen the adults around you engaged in any sort of intimate behavior before and that can be particularly confronting. Children can be very protective of their parents and new partners may find themselves competing for attention, physical affection and personal space with their partner’s child. Stepparents may feel inhibited about showing affection in front of each other’s children for fear of setting off a reaction. So establishing a blended family raises a multiplicity of sexual issues that will take time, patience, understanding and a big dose of common sense to unravel.

The main answer to dealing with relationship problems and breakdowns is early preparation. Obviously the example set by your own parents is a vital element, but in any relationship the backgrounds of the two people will be different in some respects. Just because one of you knows how to communicate emotions, it takes two to tango. It would be like sending a message over the radio when your intended audience is tuned to another station. The missing link is relationship education by specially trained teachers in schools. In fact, understanding relationships is so integral to our emotional survival that it needs to be a cornerstone in the education system. To survive in the modern world we need the ‘four Rs’ … Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic and Relationships.

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