10/21/2010 05:04 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Mid-Wife Crisis: How to Survive a Second Marriage

If you think getting married the first time is heavy lifting, wait until you nail "the new husband." If he's divorced or widowed, there aren't enough overhead compartments to handle his baggage. (If he's a bachelor, no one can help you.)

First husbands travel light. They come with six sets of underwear and one set of parents. Maybe a crazy brother. Second husbands come with early or late wives, kids, gun-shy moms, leftover in-laws, vacation homes in the wilderness, hockey tickets, and friends who love to mention how much fun they had with the first wife.

First wives wind up in the will. Second wives wind up on crutches. First wives ski. Second wives ski at 50 - and they fall harder

Like AVIS, second-hand wives also try harder because they know what it's like out there. Even though you've been around the block once or twice, and think you have the street smarts to take another lap, his lap has been around, too, and you need a long distance runner to pave the way.

Here are some tips on how to negotiate the landmines that threaten to blow up your nuptials:

A few weeks after you start sleeping over at his place, you happen to notice his late wife's picture on the night table:

Q: What's the right moment to ask him to remove it? (It will never occur to him.)

A: Whisper in his ear while you're faking your orgasm.

Your wedding is perfect except for a few glitches - when you head for the ladies room, your father asks your groom, "Did she leave you already?"
But the bigger deal is:

Q: What do you do when his single daughter throws up during the ceremony?

A: Make a toast announcing she's pregnant.

You're trying to plan the honeymoon but his passport's full:

Q: Where can you find a romantic hideaway they haven't been to?

A: Liberia or Akron are nice in October.

The plot thickens. Brenda from Teaneck tweets: "My new husband - a widower - says he wants to be buried with his first wife. I feel like a temp."

Q: So, where do you bury the second husband... or whose urn is it anyway?

A: The minute he kicks the bucket, Brenda, donate the body to science. And cover up the evidence.

Before you sign that pre-nup, check out the warranty:

Q: What are the warning signs this guy may not be good for the long haul?

A: Beware of a man who subscribes to WOODS 'N WATER, wants to ban Botox, watches Leno, walked out on La Cage, voted for Nader, and whose nickname is CLIENT 10.

Most important? Make sure he doesn't enjoy a home-cooked meal. (When I got remarried my mother called me at the office and said, "What are you giving Don for dinner, dear?" My answer: "E-mails.")

So if you decide to throw this one back , don't worry - you'll find another guy just as perfect as you in another 30 years. But remember, never buy a pre-owned man without a test run.

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