The second wife will always be considered just that: second wife; second to be considered in opinion, last to know about family secrets, and will never receive the same quality of life the "first" wife had. If such "second" wife has children, these will never get the same amount of attention, nor love, nor consideration the children of the "first" wife will always receive. There may be some admirable husbands out there who take on his step children with the same admiration and unconditional love as rendered to his first children; but those are the exception. Blood is thicker than water they say, adding some shining stars to the cliche... On the other hand, I have evidenced second wives who have managed to separate their husbands from the trilogy of their exes and child/ren. Even when this is accomplished selfishly, these "second" wives also never truly experience the love and attention given to the first.
Is the competition too strong? Are the memories irreplaceable? Does divorce leave a man disilusioned and disenchanted? Trips not repeated, places not re-visited, benefits not offered, too many broken dates, too many grudges held secretly. Does the second wife face the challenge of settling for whatever the husband is willing to provide, willing to offer? Statistics have proven repeatedly that second marriages have a much higher divorce rate than first marriages do. The emotional baggage a "first" wife creates in her husband is burdening; many times a burden the second wife has to balance and withstand. Even the children she brings into her second marriage, settle also for the remaining of what has been left from possibly a once caring, loving, non-resentful man.
What about the relatives of the second-marrying husband? Jealousy becomes aroused by guilt-probing mother-in-laws to their sons in the form of, "Why are you spending so much time with HER kids? What about YOURS?" "Don't you dare spend money on THEM!" "You're going to where? Are you taking YOUR children?" "Don't buy that for THOSE kids, buy them something cheaper. Did you get your kids what they wanted?" Second wives have to confront the challenge of seeing her own children being placed on the row for seconds and possible hand-me downs as well.
Is there a solution to this? How does a second wife endure such challenges and differences? Such choices of convenience made for theirs but not hers? Does it change when the couple have a child? A child in first place for the second couple? Doesn't happen: second wives, second lives, second chances, second children too...
A second wife must be "un-challengeable", firm in her values, decisive in her choices, or his ex, his relatives, his children, his friends, will play her like a puppet. She will always get the corner of the eye, she will never be the first to know anything, she will always get the "crumbs"; even though the man she chose, chose to be with her, comes to her every night, pays the bills every month, and tries (notice I said tries), to make his second wife, not happy (no, that was for his first), but considerably complacent.
I am not "baptizing" every second wife with a situation as this, yet look at the statistics which speak for themselves: second marriages divorce at a faster rate than first marriages, children suffer the consequences of uncaring, unloving stepfathers, step-siblings and step-relatives; second wives' children suffer the neglet of their own fathers because these are too busy proving themselves with their second wives. There are many issues at stake, and the challenges these second wives confront become the issues children of today are troubled with. But that would be another topic.