Have you recently filed for divorce and found yourself regretting it? It is common for couples to regret filing for divorce. Many issues arise like trouble raising kids, lack of companionship/intimacy, or fear of not finding anyone who wants to be in a relationship with you afterward. Finances can also become an issue after divorce when you can no longer depend on more than one income.
The United States has the highest divorce rate globally (about 750,000 couples divorce yearly). Interestingly, most couples divorce between January and March, primarily those in their first marriages (around 41% end in divorce or separation). But, how do these couples deal with the aftermath of their divorce, and do they ever regret it?
Divorce is a complex, emotional, and long process, and coming to that decision can be heart-breaking for some partners. If you recently filed for divorce and are now experiencing regret, this article is worth looking through. Read on to learn the signs of divorce regret and how to deal with it.
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I Filed for Divorce and Now Regret It
There is no such thing as the “perfect marriage”. All couples deal with marital and relationship problems. Some overcome it and push harder to make amends, while others feel no hope is left for their marriage. Sometimes partners divorce without thinking it through and end up regretting their actions and rash decision.
Whether it was a rash decision or a long time coming and a difficult decision to make, feeling regret is normal and, although it is difficult to deal with it, there are many ways you can help yourself.
Who Regrets Divorce More?
There is no guaranteed way of determining who regrets divorce more; however, a study conducted by www.avvo.com shows 61 percent of men regret divorce whereas 71 percent of women have no regret for their decisions.
It seems that, in general, men have a more challenging time adjusting to life after a divorce than females. Their study confirmed that men have a harder time adjusting when there is no longer the emotional and mental security gained from their marriage.
Women are generally less intimidated by the independence and issues of ending a marriage. The University of Nebraska determined that males are more susceptible to common colds or serious illnesses after divorce and are likely to fall into depression and abuse alcohol.
Both parties are likely to experience severe emotional turmoil, and they must work through and eventually let go of their emotions to process them. It is essential to have the support of friends and family members during the emotional, tumultuous, and sometimes traumatic period of divorce.
The Biggest Regrets Divorced Couples Face
Once the divorce is finalized, couples go through emotional roller coasters that can lead them to evaluate their “ex-marriage”. Here is where the regrets start streaming in. Some of the most common regrets divorced couples deal with are:
1. They Wish They Had Worked Harder to Improve the Relationship
We wonder if we had put in more effort to salvage the marriage during the divorce process or after, would things have turned out differently. The “what ifs” cannot make the situation better because, in some instances, the only way you can “save” your relationship is by separating or divorcing.
A psychologist in New Jersey, Dr. Alison Block, stated that she believes that the couple’s wish to have put in more effort does not exist out of love but the financial and social struggles they face after the marriage has ended. Single parents also find it challenging to meet other people, thus missing the idea and feeling of being in a relationship.
2. They Focused Too Much on Parenting, Rather Than Their Marriage
Obviously, as parents, we must never blame our children for the downfall of our marriage. Still, many separated and divorced partners wish they had spent more time with their significant other and less time trying to parent and care for their children.
Some couples were so focused on their children that they would not have anything to talk about once their children left. Many say they feel as if they do not know their partner anymore.
3. They Wish They Had Communicated Better
A relationship is not all rainbows and sunshine, especially when you are married and sharing your space with your partner. Sometimes it can become overwhelming or annoying when you want them to step back and give you some space.
Many married couples do not communicate well about these things or their thoughts and emotions or need for space, which leads to fighting and miscommunication. We need to set boundaries and compromise in relationships, whether we are married or just dating and/or living together.
It is true what they say. Communication is key.
4. They Did Not Prioritize Each Other
With marriage comes in-laws, colleagues, and friends. At times, these people can get in the way of your marriage, and you often forget to spend some much-needed time with your spouse. A simple “how was your day?” can suffice because we want to feel like we are cared for and prioritized.
Management is essential, and partners who cannot manage and prioritize their marriage often choose to divorce as they do not see a reason to try and save their relationship.
How To Deal with and Release Divorce Regret
If you are divorced and hold some guilt over it, it may be all you think about day and night. It can affect your mental and physically healthy as well as your productivity. The faster you start accepting the divorce, the quicker you will overcome the complex parts.
Be with your friends and family.
You must have a support system to help you throughout the divorce and after. Sometimes you need the love and care of friends and family to distract you from your current situation.
Avoid arguments and miscommunication with your former spouse.
A fight during the divorce and after with your former spouse can bring back many unwanted memories. Avoid getting into arguments by advising them to calmly talk it out with you or leaving the dispute before it escalates.
Talk to your children.
Help your children realize that they are not the reason for the divorce, explain how things will work from now on and that they can rely on you. Do not involve them in any conflict between you and your ex-spouse.
Maintain stability and, although things will not be the same, try to make them feel as comfortable as possible. Remember, this is traumatic for them too.
Take care of yourself.
Take time to process the divorce and your emotions. Ensure that you eat well, get enough sleep, and try to relax. Hanging out with a friend can help alleviate your stress, so do not isolate yourself from your friends or family. It will not do you any good.
Journal the reasons you think divorce was the best route to go and focus on how you will go about the situation in the future. Do not get caught up with alcohol or drugs to cope.
The Five Stages of Divorce
Although people process emotions differently, there are five stages of divorce couples experience. These are the same stages as grief and, in many ways, grieving the loss of marriage will be similar to the grief you experience from a death. These stages might be in a different order, but they are most likely to come as follow:
Throughout the divorce process, both partners might be in denial. They may feel as if the divorce is not or did not happen and have trouble accepting it.
Everyone who goes through divorce experiences anger at some point. Anger is an emotion that can take over your thoughts and feelings. You may feel angry with yourself, your partner’s actions, and the idea of having to go through such a stormy episode in your life.
At this stage, the regret starts settling in. You ask yourself “what if” and ponder over the entire marriage. Should you have done more? Were you good enough? The bargaining stage can last a long time if you do not try to overcome it.
Ex-partners may start missing the marriage and relationship, feel lost and unloved, and/or feel dejected and incomplete.
Periods of depression are normal. You may experience a lack of energy and shifts in your mood (low). Sadness slowly creeps in, and regret is at its worse.
When you get to the fifth stage of divorce, you have accepted the divorce and the transition of a married to a single person. You adjusted to the new life, and you are willing to make things better for yourself. Although bolts of regret might appear, it will not affect you as severely as before.
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Divorce certainly is not an easy decision to make, and a couple does not decide to go this way overnight. Once your divorce is finalized, it is normal to feel guilt, shame, and regret. However, sometimes a relationship cannot be salvaged, and to stay sane and happy, you have to let go of your significant other, no matter how much love you share or the consequences thereof.
Ensure that loved ones surround you to assist you during and after the divorce. Try to accept the way things are and the difference the divorce will make in your day-to-day life. Keep your children in mind and ease their worries by being present in their lives and offering them stability. Avoid petty arguments with your ex-spouse and take good care of yourself.
After earning his Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto, Stuart gained experience working with families in community mental health settings and in the child protection sector. Since becoming a father himself, Stuart now works in private practice offering psychotherapy services. FatherResource is an opportunity for Stuart to share what he learns on his journey as a father with a larger audience.