Someone on Dust sent me a question: I have been divorced for several years. Is it normal for divorced couples to try it for a second time? In other words, can remarrying your ex actually work?
The best way for me to answer this question is to tell you two stories of divorced couples I know who got back together.
The first couple was married for several years. They divorced and then got back together and got remarried. They are now in the process of getting divorced again. To me, this is very sad, because hearing a divorced couple is remarrying is inspirational. It’s a happy ending and sort of signifies true love, doesn’t it? A second divorce is just depressing. I don’t know the details of what caused the first divorce or the second, but I have to believe it was the same issue. The good that came out of it is, at least they know for sure that being together isn’t right, and they don’t have to spend the rest of their lives wondering ‘what if.’
The second couple I know has a hopeful story with an uncertain ending. They divorced several years ago and after about 5 years after the divorce started dating again. They have been together again for about 5 years and seem to be doing really, really great. I recently asked the woman if she thinks they will get remarried. Her answer was, “Maybe. I’m not sure. We’re just really happy.” Now, maybe she just doesn’t want to tell me, and maybe they will have a surprise wedding. Or, maybe they are happier as a couple dating than they were husband and wife. Does it really matter? They are together. That’s what really means something.
The issue I have with divorced couples reconciling is the same issue I have with on-again off-again relationships: what’s to stop the same old issues from creeping back up again? In other words, what is going to be different this time? If nothing changes, the couple will ultimately end up divorced again. Also, people and relationships tend to stick to the same old patterns, so what happened in the past will most likely happen again in the future. UNLESS—they make changes to break the pattern.
If a divorced couple is thinking of getting remarried, I think they really need to address the issue or issues that led to the divorce and deal with it. Therapy might be a good idea. Or, lots of really honest, heart to heart conversations that aren’t sugar coated.
The other thing is, as time passes, people tend to remember all the good stuff in a relationship and forget the bad. It’s just human nature. The mind recalls beautiful memories, and blocks out what’s too painful.
There are a few scenarios in which a divorced couple might have a very successful second marriage together:
- Maybe a couple got divorced because one of them had an addiction that is now under control. The absence of an addiction makes a huge difference in a marriage.
2. Timing is everything. Maybe there was immaturity, dreams that had to be fulfilled, other people involved that caused the marriage to fail. Maybe better timing could make the difference.
- If both people are willing to own up to their mistakes, recognize their faults and apologize to each other—not just because they want to get back together but because they really mean it—I think the second marriage to each other has a decent chance of working.
Here’s the thing. I’m sure there are people reading this who are cringing. Most divorced people actually have no interest in getting back together with their spouse because they have resentment that runs way too deep, or one of them is remarried or involved with someone else.
But, the bottom line is, if you loved someone enough to marry them, the divorce was probably heartbreaking, and I don’t care what people say, I think if love was once there it can return (except for inexcusable behavior such as physical abuse). So, what’s wrong with taking a second chance on someone you loved enough to commit to the first time? True love is a pretty powerful thing and everyone makes mistakes. Remarrying your ex really makes “Till death do us part” ring true (no pun intended.)
Michael C. Craven
Thank you for your article. I found this interesting.
-Michael C. Craven, Chicago Divorce Attorney
If an ex has a personality disorder it is best to keep running and not believe their stories of change. If an ex has an addiction to controlling others and no empathy, there is not hope for getting back together.
Some people get married for reasons other than true love. They should just move on permanently.
My ex and I divorced after 26 years we married at 18 and 20. Infidelity played a part of our divorce, but love plays a bigger part in our life. He is my person I am his we spent 6 months apart, are in counseling and am attending church together working with our priest and are honestly happier than maybe we ever have been because once you lose everything to include your best friend you appreciate even the very littlest things! Take a chance believe in each other and live life to the fullest 2nd chances happen and the lucky are brave enough reach out and take it
Love it! Best wishes to you both.
I love this story. My hubs and I divorced after 27 years of marriage and we have talked about working things out so this is encouraging!
LISA D HONEYCUTT
I am doing this currently planning our remarriage we were married 10 year been divorced for 7 years now. spent 3 years apart not really having anything to do with each other excent for the kids . we have spent the last 4 years redating and working on our communication.. things are 10 times better then they were in the beginning maybe because we are older and realize there is so much more to life . I’m kinda nervous to what other are gonna say .. it was never a bad relationship and we parted on good terms .I shouldnt care what others are gonna say but I do and don’t want to have to explain why ..
I am very happy for you guys!! Don’t worry at all about what anyone thinks. Everyone has their own secrets and insecurities. They will talk about you for 10 minutes and then move on! Meanwhile, you get to be happy and together again! Yay! It’s great! enjoy!
statistically, remarried divorced couples have a higher percentage of staying together
Maxwell in Florida
I was destroyed when my wife left me several years ago. But, in retrospect, we were doomed from the start. My MIL is a vindictive, racist alcoholic. 5 of her (mother in law’s) friends warned me and my parents ON OUR DESTINATION WEDDING to not get involved with the mother in law. The problem is that her father died young and she’s an only child so her mom isn’t really maternal, she’s looking for a drinking buddy.
I would chop off my arm for my wife. I can live with the fact that she ended things but from the get go, I had to (tragically) make her choose between me or her Mom. That’s hugely unfair to her but there was no way to create separation.
I’m in a good place now, make a comfortable living, am caring, work out, and have a heart of gold (this trait has screwed my historically ergo all of the adopted pets – at least the pets don’t care about my bank account) and want to give our marriage a second chance.
But the only way I think it could work is if I put her on a plane to London with me and ditch the crazy mom.
I just don’t know whether or how long I can go to bat. I did the “if you love her, let her free” thing but now I feel like the clocks ticking (I want kids).
I will take any and all suggestions, there is no bad advice.
Many thanks and I wish you all the best in life
We are remarrying and generally, I think there is no general answer!
We were each other’s second spouse. Married pretty soon after meeting as we feel like ‘soul mates’. He is my person and I his. There were issues of no sense, no reason rage, and insecurities on his part.
In rage, he asked for a divorce and his sister and other family got involved. No one even remotely understands his PTSD driven rage – they thought it was me and they pushed him to divorce.
It’s a crazy story of us making up the next day, going out and his family kept pushing him to get a divorce.
We divorced although we were together… we remained together for most of it…on and off (the off’s were always related to PTSD, his massive anxiety issues or his family). We were otherwise always incredible.
Life brought really tragic turns and I had enough of the on and off. Not talking to him for 5 months. Somehow that painful time turned out to be a blessing and we are back together and his PTSD and anxiety issues almost fully gone. He also knows that his extended family don’t know our relationship and perhaps took his skewed opinion then for the truth.
We are as content as can be. All our old love and happy times are back and all bad gone.
We are remarrying on the same date as previously. I see a grown-up man who is back in my life despite me now being diagnosed with a terminal illness.
For once the person I was a rock for as become mine.
My advice is to a couple considering remarrying, consider what the core issues were. People’s basic nature almost never change. A serial cheater for instance, you’ll be at square one in no time.
My husband’s heart was always in a good place and with some elements of self-centredness he truly changed once he recognized the issue. It’s extremely rare though for people to change, I am fortunate.