Do you still think about your marriage and wonder how things would have turned out if you had stuck it out? It's normal to have doubts, especially when you're still processing everything and trying to adjust to post-divorce life.
But what happens when the doubts just won't go away? What if you miss being married and think about your ex-husband every day?
If you think you made a terrible mistake divorcing your ex-husband, and you're wondering what to do next, let's clear up a few things.
Things to know
- Reflecting on why you think divorcing your ex-husband was a mistake is a crucial first step.
- Once you're sure of your feelings and intentions, you'll need to determine whether he feels the same way.
- If your ex-husband regrets the divorce, too, and if he's willing to work things out, you may be able to get back together. If he isn't interested, you need to move on.
Your next steps are important, so you'll need a more detailed action plan. Fortunately, I can help with that. Here's what we'll be looking at:
How to Reconcile With Your Ex Husband
The odds might seem bleak, but divorce isn't always the end. In fact, between 10% and 15% of couples reconcile after divorce, with 6% of them actually remarrying.
Step 1: Consider your chances
The first thing to do is stay hopeful. You'll need to adopt the right mindset if you want to fix things with your ex. With this in mind, let's consider what your chances are. Your chances are pretty good if:
You can resolve your issues
When it comes to reconciling after divorce, a key determining factor is whether you can identify and resolve the issues that led to your divorce in the first place.
You have children together
Divorced couples with children tend to reconcile because of the strong desire to give them a stable home. Wanting to live together as a family could be all the incentive your ex-husband needs to reconsider things.
You run a business together
As you spend a lot of time together to keep your business afloat, there's a chance that you might find yourselves drawn to each other again when the dust settles.
You were married for many years
If you have been married for many years, you share a very strong emotional attachment. Strong bonds of this nature can take years to resolve. If the pain of betrayal has faded and if you're willing to work through your issues, you may be able to get back together.
You didn't have major issues
What led to your divorce? If you got divorced due to issues such as a lack of communication or intimacy, you might fare a lot better if you had to deal with abuse or infidelity.
Step 2: Reflect
It seemed like the right decision at the time. You anticipated feeling happier, but divorced life isn't what you thought it would be. In fact, questions like "why do I feel guilty after my divorce?" or "was divorcing my husband a mistake?" constantly plague you.
Before you contact your husband, reflect on why exactly you feel divorcing him was a mistake.
Do you have second thoughts?
It's important to reflect on why you regret the divorce. Is it because you acted impulsively and got divorced for the wrong reasons? Are you in denial and missing the old days?
Do you think you could have fought harder?
Maybe there was so much hostility between you and your ex-husband that you didn't even attempt to work things out — you simply finalized your divorce as quickly as possible.
Do you now believe that your issues weren't as dire or as unforgivable as you initially thought? Did you fail to see the positive signs during separation? Do you believe that you could have fought harder to avert divorce altogether?
Do you still love your ex-husband?
It's important to confront how you truly feel about your ex-husband. Do you still love him? Are your feelings genuine and healthy, or are they toxic and coming from a place of insecurity, fear, or avoidance?
More importantly, have you forgiven him and let the past go? Reflect on whether you genuinely regret your divorce or if you're lonely and finding it hard to adjust to your new life. Exploring your feelings will help you determine your next steps. If you can, work with a therapist at this stage.
Have you given yourself time to heal and work on personal issues?
As you grieve the loss of your marriage, you're bound to experience conflicting emotions. If you don't give yourself time to heal, you can't trust yourself to make sound decisions.
Similarly, if you don't work on any personal issues that led to your divorce, you could make the same mistakes all over again. So commit to therapy and address how you contributed to the breakdown of your marriage.
If you cheated and left your husband for another man, you'll need to work on the reason behind your infidelity. If your spouse cheated, you're still going to want to work through your emotions.
This will ensure that you don't cling to unhealthy thought patterns. If you had problems communicating, it might be helpful to work with a professional to learn healthier communication skills.
Are you willing to make things work?
Consider whether you are willing to do the necessary work to create a healthier relationship dynamic with your ex-husband. Are you willing to change? What's different now, and what is your motivation for wanting to make things work? If he's keen to give things another try as well, you'll need to go into it with the right mindset and attitude.
Step 3: Reach out
Once you've given yourself time to reflect, it's time to initiate communication with your ex-husband. If you haven't been in contact since the divorce settlement, text him first to gauge his response.
However, if you've been texting for the sake of your kids, you could pick up the phone and call him to make it more meaningful.
You could even get a friendly conversation going on social media. If he chooses not to respond, or if he's hostile and tells you to leave him alone, you'll need to respect his wishes.
The medium isn't as important as the approach. The goal is to re-establish positive communication. From there, you can work your way up to face-to-face interaction.
If he's mulling over reconciliation as well, he's more likely to be cooperative. In fact, he'll probably reciprocate your efforts throughout the entire process.
Step 4: State your intentions
Eventually, you'll need to be honest about your feelings and intentions. Let your ex-husband know that you regret the divorce, and share anything else that might help your case.
For example, if there was a particular issue that you always fought about, share your new perspective. If you were in denial about certain problems, let him see that you're ready to work through them.
If he thinks the divorce was a huge mistake, too, that's a promising development. If he still loves you, that's even better — this means you're on the same page. All you'll need to do is rekindle your relationship, work through the issues that led to your divorce, and establish a healthier relationship dynamic.
Step 5: Take things slow
When you start dating again, it's going to be thrilling and reminiscent of when you first fell in love. However, it's important to let things develop organically. You'll need to learn how to trust each other again and figure a lot of things out.
You're probably going to have to deal with family and friends, too. This is enough to put a strain on any relationship, but you're in a more delicate situation. With this in mind, you might need extra help in the form of relationship counseling or couples therapy.
Trying to do things on your own could actually make things more difficult. Plus, you might need to learn certain skills to build a healthier relationship. Remember, the strength and quality of your new relationship will depend on the following:
- How well you're able to work through old hurts and issues
- How committed you are to learning healthier ways of relating to each other
- Your communication skills
- Your conflict resolution skills
How To Move On If You Can't Reconcile
If your ex-husband has moved on with someone else or if he isn't interested in getting back together, you'll need to work on moving on. It's going to be difficult, but if you give yourself enough time, you can learn to accept it.
Here are a few things you can do to let go:
Remind yourself why things didn't work out
While you might only remember the positive aspects of your marriage now, it's worth reminding yourself why things didn't work out in the first place. Eventually, you'll start to see that things worked out for the best after all.
Practice radical acceptance
Instead of allowing regret to consume you, practice radical acceptance. Radical acceptance is about finding freedom in accepting things as they are rather than fighting against reality. While you may not like a situation or be happy about it, it's healthier for you to accept it and move on.
Focus on the future
Don't dwell on the past; find comfort in your loved ones and live your new life one day at a time. Rather than focusing on what you cannot control, use your emotional resources for self-care. Things might seem grim now, but they won't always be this way.