Practical complications of second time around

Increasing longevity means more and more older couples are embarking on ‘second-time-round’ relationships.

As a result, they have to ask themselves the question: Where do we live? His old marital home? Hers? Or a new one they have both chosen?

That is probably the best option, but apart from the possibility of it being financially undesirable, it, too, subjects both to the future stresses of ‘this is nice but I sometimes wish we still had the old …’

Choosing to live in the old, marital home of one or the other is fraught with very real psychological hazards – not the least being the impact of memories shared with a now-gone partner and, perhaps, children.

Read: Living life, not talking death

Less dramatic, but probably more important on a day-to-day basis, is the reality of such seemingly trivial irritants as ‘the coffee jar doesn’t go there, it goes beside the cook top’ or ‘I keep telling you, the kitchen tidy doesn’t go there!’

The best solution is for the couple to set up a new home together, but that is often impossible.

The ghosts of the no longer present partner’s habits and preferences can live on and taint the new home atmosphere. 

As with most domestic difficulties, a frank and open discussion between the parties is the best and only place to start

Read: Murder in the suburbs

An excellent strategy, often suggested in couples counselling, is to discuss, agree on and allocate ‘areas of specific responsibility’, for example, the kitchen is hers, the garden is his and so on.

It is not a good idea to think that it will work itself out. It will not. Old habits do die hard and, often, painfully.

Have you navigated the ‘second-time-around’ situation? How did you work out the practicalities of housing? And of sharing duties? Why not share your experience in the comments section below?

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Written by Peter Leith



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