All the problems, the arguing, the unhappiness, it is all over now that the divorce is final. Right? Not always. More couples than you may realize get through a divorce only to find out in the months and/or years following that they feel they have made a mistake.
So what should you do if you have signed the final paperwork, paid all the lawyers’ fees, and then start to realize that you are regretting your divorce?
What You NEED To Do
Spend some time really thinking about things. Divorces generally don’t happen overnight. There were a lot of things that built up and brought your relationship to this unfortunate conclusion. If you are suddenly thinking that it was a mistake you need to take stock. Ask yourself the following questions:
• Why did we divorce in the first place?
• What has changed?
• Would things really be different if we reconciled?
• Am I willing to work through things and do the work it would take if we were to give it another try?
• Does he or she feel the same way?
• Do I have the tendency to think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence?
People will often romanticize the “way things used to be.” Rewriting history by seeing only the good (or the bad) can lead to many pitfalls. It may have been what got you here in the first place. In the case of divorce regret there are many things to weigh out. Feeling like you miss the way things were is common, especially if there are children involved. Your regret could be driven by desire to have your family back intact. And while there is nothing wrong with that feeling, it needs to be thoroughly vetted to ensure you don’t cause more damage to yourself, ex, or kids. If what were believed to be irreconcilable differences that led you to divorce haven’t been reconciled you will just end up in the same place.
What you SHOULD Do
Be real with yourself. Things were bad enough that they lead you to this point. Those things do not just go away — even if you think they have. If you haven’t already, try talking to a counselor. If these are feelings you alone are wrestling with, speaking to someone individually is a good idea. If you and your ex share the same feelings and are actually contemplating giving things another go, try counseling as a couple. You really owe it to yourselves to cover all the bases before running the risk of repeating the same mistakes.
What NOT To Do
Do not allow yourself to be so swept away in a romanticized version of the way you “used to be” that you jump with both feet back into a relationship or marriage. People talk about marriage being hard and taking a lot of work, but divorce is hard as well. No matter the circumstance in which it occurred, it almost always brings sadness, pain, and unhappiness with it. It is not uncommon for people to want to get away from these feelings. Getting away, however, does not necessarily include getting back together. Without laying down all the right foundational pieces you are almost certainly setting yourself up for failure and more pain (and expense).
Divorce should be a last, no other options, choice. If you and your ex jumped the gun and divorced in haste, then reconciling and putting your relationship back together may be the right step. Just know that it won’t be simple. You can’t just decide the problems aren’t there anymore or that the issues are no longer issues. If you are having divorce regret and considering reconciliation, go slowly, thoughtfully and carefully. If your relationship is going to work out, there is no rush. It will only be stronger and more solid by being patient and thorough.
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