Single parents usually have either a failed marriage in their past or, at the very least, a failed significant relationship that produced a child (unless there was a death or a careless one-night stand). Whether remarriage or re-engaging in a committed relationship is good for the parent and the children really depends on how healthy that relationship is going to be. A failed relationship the second time around tends to be more devastating than the first. To improve the odds of a successful relationship, it is vitally important to look at the reason or reasons behind the previous failed relationship. It is a two-prong analysis, meaning, it takes two people to make a relationship work and failure is never one person's fault completely.
How fault is weighted may be different; nevertheless, fault is rarely equally distributed at 50/50 and never 100/0. It makes sense, then, to explore what your part was, even if your part was in what you tolerated from the other person that you should not have tolerated as long as you did. If the other person was a drug addict, a cheater, financially irresponsible, etc., it is worth exploring when you first noticed this behavior (usually during the dating process). Why did you think it would change as time went on? How long did it go on before you set a boundary?
What was your motivation for just keeping the peace and not setting a boundary?
Most people will say they were trying to keep the family together for the children or maybe adhering to a religious standard, but in the end, it fell apart anyway. So it makes sense to take a hard look at what you are and are not willing to tolerate in the next serious relationship.
If, on the other hand, you were the culprit and your bad behavior resulted in the demise of the relationship, it is important to find ways to change your behavior and not blame it on someone else. You may say, for example, that you had an affair because the other person paid no attention to you. Although that excuse serves to make you feel better, the bottom line question to ask yourself is why you did not speak up and get help for a broken marriage before you stepped out on your partner. It is about discovering how your failure to set appropriate boundaries for yourself and your relationship got you and your partner in trouble. Once you have explored and explained all of that, venturing into another relationship should produce better results.
If you want to change your next choice of partners, you must change the “chooser”—yourself. Simply changing partners and choosing someone who looks different or acts different than your previous significant other will not make much difference. It is you who needs to change so that you can choose with a different set of values and improved self-worth. Typically, people choose a partner who they believe has equal or lesser self-worth than they do, because they do not want to be rejected by someone they perceive is more self-confident than they are. If your self-worth is down to the first step on a ten-step ladder of self-esteem, you are likely to choose an unhealthy bottom dweller. If you take time to improve your own self-worth and get to rung eight or nine, your pool of people to choose from will be healthier and more expansive. Take time to work with a therapist or coach in improving self-esteem, which is directly tied to making and setting self-respecting boundaries.
Once you have done your own personal work and have chosen a partner who has done his or her own personal work, you will be well on your way to modeling a good relationship for your children that they can duplicate. However, do not discount the complexities of step-parenting and blended family issues, talking about them thoroughly with your potential partner before tying the knot. If you go into it with eyes wide open, remarriage can be a very healthy and rewarding experience for you and your children. Don’t be afraid. Do the work it takes to improve yourself first and attracting Prince or Princess Charming of your dreams may happen without even trying.