Patchwork families: when the ex-husband becomes a father again

Pregnancy for the "newbie" is often a sensitive issue for the ex-wife and children from the first marriage. Here are a few tips that can help ease the situation.

Tips for the ex-wife

The news that your ex-husband has found a new love gives you a pang? And the news that your former partner wants to start a family again or that his new wife is already pregnant, right? No matter how neatly the line was drawn and how much time has passed since the divorce or separation – most women feel that way. And not just because the separation will become even more final – suddenly you have lost the supposed privilege over the newcomer to have children with the husband.

You're probably also worried about whether your ex-husband won't neglect your children in favor of the new baby – not to mention worries about whether the man's salary will be enough to support him and a new family (not to mention since the new child maintenance law in Strength, the ex-wife has to get back to a job faster if the children are no longer too small, but the new partner of your ex-wife is looking after a baby).

A difficult situation. But maybe the following advice will help you:

  • Stand by your feelings. If it hurts you to be informed about the new belly size that has already grown, ask your ex-husband to be a little restrained.
  • Even if it's difficult, try not to infect your children with your worries that your ex will soon run out of time for them. Instead, you should discuss this topic with him as early as possible – he will likely be able to allay your worries. After all, he loves his children and so far has also tried to be a good father to you despite the separation.
  • In no case should you speak ill of your father's new wife in front of the children. Children depend on being able to love both parents. Better: cry at a good friend – and have her list all the reasons why you wouldn't have wanted your ex back anyway.

Tips for the father

There is no question that you suffer from being separated from your children, that you miss them and that a weekend with you always goes by way too quickly. So who could blame you for looking forward to having a baby with your new partner? Of course, it hurts that the older siblings of all people shoot so sideways.

But: Put yourself in the children's shoes for a moment: suddenly they have to share your love with another sibling. It is generally not easy for a child to understand that a new sibling is coming with whom it suddenly has to share the love of its parents. Perhaps there is a grain of truth in the accusation that you suddenly no longer have time for your "old" family, because your job, caring for the baby and your new relationship are of course particularly demanding at the moment.

Nevertheless, there are a few things you can do to relieve your children (and your ex-wife, too) of the fear that they will be increasingly pushed into the background by your new family:

  • Very, very important: stick to the agreements made. Nothing is worse for your older children than when the visiting weekend is canceled at short notice "because the little one is somehow not in a good mood". Such unreliability hurts the children – and creates an irritable mood between you and your former partner.
  • Show the child your love and keep telling them that they are just as important to you as they were before.
  • Make it clear to your new wife that your baby together does not change the feelings for your children from the previous relationship. But don't constantly compare the development of the children and your ex's mother role with the new situation, so that your new partner has no reason to feel set back.
  • Do you have the feeling that you are being pulled from all sides? In the event of a conflict, do not take the side of your "old" or your "new" family. Instead, honestly admit that your time resources are also limited, but that you try to do everyone justice as possible. Sometimes such a confession works wonders and all "parties" consider new solutions together.

Tips for the new woman

Everything could be so beautiful: You are expecting a baby with the man you love. The anticipation is great. If it weren't for the weekends when your husband's children are there. Ever since you've been wearing a tummy, the big ones are freaking out. That is of course not okay – but from the children's perspective it is understandable. Here are a few reasons why the future step-siblings react this way – maybe knowing what's going on in the little minds will help you stay calm:

Another tip: It is understandable that you see your partner primarily as the father of your child together. But you have to accept that the children from the previous relationship will be part of his life forever. Therefore, you should always try to be as neutral as possible!

  • Children hope that the family will get back together after all. With a new baby that's hardly realistic now. Children understand that quite well. And you are to blame.
  • Papa has so little time now. If he then has another child, there is even less left.
  • Little ones are always especially loved. Even five-year-olds are very aware of baby competition. A load of jealousy is already falling on you.
  • Perhaps the mother of the children hurts that you now have something in common with the ex-husband that was previously reserved for her. And even if she doesn't talk about this with the children, they can feel it. Unfortunately then you get it.

Do you yourself live in a similar family constellation? In our "Reine Familiensache" forum you can exchange ideas with other parents.

This article originally appeared on

by Jennifer Litters and Rosemarie Wetscher