In Love With Someone New, But Not Over The Divorce

not over the divorce

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

Can a divorced person be in love with someone new, but still be unable to shake their feelings from their ex? In other words, is it possible to get into a happy, healthy relationship if you’re not over the divorce?

Here is one reader’s story, followed by my advice:

I had to leave my ex because he failed me as a husband; he became a heavy unmotivated drinker and we basically became roommates. As much as I want to close that chapter, I can’t just choose to stop loving someone who I had a deep connection and child with. Sometimes I feel like I abandoned him in these dark days, but I don’t think he would’ve ever changed if I didn’t do something extreme. I think I almost saved his life and his relationship with our daughter by leaving.

Problem is, I’m not over the divorce. I still feel stuck because I was unsure and I left. I have been doing everything I can to try to process it, but I feel like time almost makes it worse as I forget the bad of our marriage and see my daughter grow into this person we now know separately. My ex really got his sh**t together once I left and enough time has gone by where I feel like we would be ready to date again. Problem is, is that I already met someone amazing. Is it really too little too late?


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What a difficult situation for this woman. I have a few thoughts. First, it bothers me that she had to leave to get her husband to get his shit together. But the good news is, it worked, and according to her he is a better person and a better father. This should be the first conversation she has with her ex. She should ask him why it took her leaving for him to become a better person/husband/father. She should express her resentment (which anyone would have.) Hopefully he can explain and apologize for that. She then should consider telling her ex how she feels. Maybe he wants to get back together, as well.

But if the two decide to get back together, they both need to do it for the right reason: love. In other words, not because she doesn’t want to be with someone who isn’t her daughter’s dad. That isn’t the best reason for people to work things out, because as time goes by, if they didn’t really want the reconciliation for themselves (for love) then they begin to resent each other and they might feel trapped. It has to be for love.


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Also, meeting Mr. Right is no small thing. Her boyfriend seems like a great guy who is committed to both her and her daughter. I wouldn’t give that up so fast. She might regret it later. Furthermore, there is the possibility that if she gets back with the husband that he could revert back to his old ways.

The thing is, ask anyone who is divorced and even if the person is blissful in their current relationship, and even if they get remarried, I think the sadness of not being with your kids’ father is always there. It just is. But that doesn’t mean everyone wants to get back together with their ex’s, and it doesn’t mean we aren’t happily fulfilled in life.


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Who knows. Maybe no one really, truly gets over their divorce. Everyone has regrets. But, there’s a difference between always being a little sad that the marriage ended, and wanting to give it another try (like this reader.)

If she doesn’t pursue the idea of reconciling with her ex, I think her current relationship could suffer. Then again, her pursuit could end a wonderful relationship with a committed man. It’s a tough call. I wish her all the best.

Like this article? Check out, “Is It Possible To Trust Again After Divorce?”

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    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:

    One Response to “In Love With Someone New, But Not Over The Divorce”

    1. Byron

      While men are often criticized for our ability to not make a commitment, there might be some things you ladies could learn from us?

      Yes. We’re slow. Some of us are players and you’re never going to get a commitment from us. Be happy in that. Most of us are just very cautious and therefore, deliberate. Once we make a decision, we usually stick with it. We’ve weighed everything, considered our life’s experiences and expectations, and you’ve come out ahead of everything else. We’re slow, but we’re usually careful, which helps prevent us from making decisions we’ll regret later. If you’ve ever watched us belabor the decision to make a major purchase, like a car … get it? You’re a lot bigger decision than a car.

      In a prior column, the issue of the spouse not wanting the divorce was discussed. When you’re committed to a path, who WOULD want to deviate from it? I was that spouse. At least for a few months. But, once I’d examined my former marriage and analyzed where it was heading, I committed to the divorce. Right behind being a dad, the divorce was the next best thing that ever happened to me. No regrets.

      Just about two years later, I’m beginning to hear from mutual friends that my former spouse is wondering if this was the best decision for her? We’d made a commitment to each other, I not knowing she had regrets about having to leave a former college boyfriend in her past. She acted upon her regret, then made a commitment to him, necessitating relief from the commitment she’d made to me, ultimately committing me to divorce as well. The old boyfriend didn’t reciprocate in the end. Now she’s apparently wondering some of the same things in this column (I think colored somewhat by the regret that I’m no longer paying her bills)? There are consequences to our decisions.

      If you find yourself regretting the decisions you make, reevaluate your process. Is it comprehensive? Or is it impulsive? You’re divorced now. If you have children with that person, be respectful, but honor the decision you made to end that commitment. Commit instead to your new partner. Don’t look back, unless it’s to celebrate it making the better person you are today…


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