Did I Do The Right Thing? Advice For Second Thoughts About Divorce

second thoughts about divorce

By Jackie Pilossoph, Founder, Divorced Girl Smiling, the place to find trusted, vetted divorce professionals, a podcast, website and mobile app.

 “Did I do the right thing?” is probably a question that many newly separated and divorced men and women ask themselves. Even though in your heart you knew separating was the best thing, time starts to bring loneliness, emptiness and fear into the mix, and it’s easy to have second thoughts about divorce.


“Maybe it could work if we both…Maybe we could try counseling again and make it work this time….Maybe if I changed…Maybe if he changed…Maybe he’d be different if I went back…I don’t want to be alone!…I can’t handle life on my own, it’s just too scary…”

These are just some second thoughts about divorce, thoughts that might go through someone’s head, trying to justify giving the marriage another chance. Many couples go back and forth one or twice or several times before either reconciling or more commonly, getting divorced.


Katz and Stefani Family Law Attorneys


Readers having second thoughts about divorce often e-mail me asking “Should I leave?”  I try hard not to tell people what to do. I don’t encourage separation and divorce, in fact I am a huge fan of marriage—if you are with the right person and you are happy. That said, I don’t discourage separating either. It’s such a personal choice and one that no one can but you can make.


But when I received this comment from a newly separated reader, I found myself inspired because it’s obvious she is really scared, but that she is facing her fear head on, and has confidence and conviction that she did the right thing.


Bridging the Gap Between Conflict and Resolution



I spilt up with my long-term partner of 13 years. I have tried to leave before but always got scared about how I would cope on my own. I can’t remember the last I enjoyed sex or didn’t feel enraged by his ways. I lost all attraction for him a long time ago . I don’t love him but do care.

We have children and it’s hard on them but I cant live in this hole any more. I wish I would have done this years ago. If anyone is reading this and feels alone, scared and worried, just know you’re not alone. There are loads of men and women with the same fears taking this brave step every day.

I remind myself that when I want to go back, it isn’t out of love, it’s out of fear. Both he and I deserve more than that. I have explained this to him but it falls on deaf ears. This time no matter how scared I get and how alone I feel, I’m seeing it through. It is in the darkest days we grow. I’m in a dark place right now, but I know for certain that in a year or so my life will be on its way to being settled.

I pray for strength every day, to not lose faith that I’m doing the right thing. I want me. Maybe one day I will meet someone but really and honestly that’s not a priority. Getting my life stable, healing and my children are. Be strong. You left for a reason. See it through. He is not the one because you questioned it. Remember that.


My favorite quotes from this:


I remind myself that when I want to go back, it isn’t out of love, it’s out of fear.

You will know the difference. When I was going through my divorce several years ago, a friend of mine said, “Are you scared?” I replied, “Of course.” He said, “But isn’t fear of the unknown better than going back to what you know?” I never forgot that.


Varghese Summersett


It is in the darkest days we grow.

What’s so hard about dark days is that you don’t realize how much you are going to benefit from the experience later. “A beaten dog is a wiser dog,” my dad used to say. Remember that this will make you not only wiser, but also stronger, smarter, more grounded, more interesting and more self-assured.


Maybe one day I will meet someone but really and honestly that’s not a priority.

Great attitude! That’s why I know she will meet someone. Her head is in the right place.


You left for a reason. See it through. He is not the one because you questioned it.

This woman is telling you to trust your gut and your heart when you have second thoughts about divorce. You made a decision, probably several times. You have probably felt this way for a long long time.


My Divorce Solution


Again, I never want my readers to think I support leaving. What do I support? I support happiness and well-being of both partners (and their kids, of course). Whatever that means to you is what truly matters. I also support making the decision to separate or stay being based on what you really really see–beyond practicality or fear.

Do you see the possibility of change? If you don’t, then you know what your options are: stay with the same or leave. The question is, are you brave enough to pick the one that will lead to the most happiness and best well-being? Only you know the answer.

Like this post? Check out my blog post, “9 Signs of a healthy romantic relationship”

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    Divorced Girl Smiling welcome video
    Jackie Pilossoph

    Editor-in-chief: Jackie Pilossoph

    Jackie Pilossoph is the Founder of Divorced Girl Smiling, the media company that connects people facing with divorce to trusted, vetted divorce professionals. Pilossoph is a former NBC affiliate television journalist and Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press features reporter. Her syndicated column, Love Essentially was published in the Chicago Tribune/Pioneer Press and Tribune owned publications for 7 1/2 years. Pilossoph holds a Masters degree in journalism from Boston University. Learn more at: DivorcedGirlSmiling.com

    7 Responses to “Did I Do The Right Thing? Advice For Second Thoughts About Divorce”

    1. R.

      Wow, this could not have come at a better time for me. I have made the decision to finally leave, after many years of marriage. I wrote to you back last year – when the past won’t stay in the past, so you know my story. I have not done so for so long due to being afraid, but now my loneliness and absolute unhappiness in my marriage has just become too much to take. I am still scared, but I believe that the unknown will be better than my present situation. Thank you for those inspiring words!

      • Jackie Pilossoph

        I completely understand how scary leaving can be. I wish you all the best. xo

    2. Jo

      I love this woman!!!!!! I feel the same as her!! I tried to leave my husband couple of times and backed up because I got scared. Four days ago I braved myself and I did it!!!! I do not know yet how I will feed my kids but I feel so happy as my mind is free of constant worry that I am not with the right person!!!! It is better later than never! Jackie, please tell this lady that I love her!! ? And I am very thankful for your blog!!! A lot!!

    3. H

      I’m cohabiting with my husband. He is super controlling and manipulative; Not dangerous, but Smothering. My story is long. We have 3 kids, 11,9,5. He made me quit my job to stay home. Now I don’t even have a vehicle. I live in the middle of nowhere and have no family or friends. I have no clue how to get the ball rolling. The only way out is to abandon my kids and husband with nothing and head to a shelter 4 hrs away. If they will take me.

    4. Heidi Sez

      I have been wanting to leave my husband for the past 2 years, he is very unhappy with his life and he blames me for himself being very unhappy. We have two small girls, so I have always tried to stay and make it work for them. But recently I had a 9 month long love affair with another married man and we were caught by his wife. My husband now hates life more then ever but still wants to see if we can make it work. I’ve checked out a long time ago from our marriage, but I’m scared that my husband just wont be able to deal with a divorce, mentally. I still care for him deeply, but I not in love with him and I haven’t for a very long time.

    5. Meg

      I am thinking about mistakes I made, and wondering if I re-engaged in our relationship and never made those mistakes ever again if the relationship could work. This article was helpful. Maybe I could re-label those thoughts as FEAR. It’s a fear, perhaps, that I am unlovable. Distorted thinking that if I were really loveable and worthy, my husband wouldn’t have had an affair, he wouldn’t shout at me, he wouldn’t say I’m not acting like a friend to him. I’m not thinking about going back because of love. I have to remember that. Trying to be perfect wouldn’t make me happier in our relationship, and I doubt it would even satisfy my husband. This article was really helpful to re-frame my thoughts. Thanks. I just keep needing to feed myself healthier thoughts.


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