How to get back together after divorce

It may surprise your relatives, but rekindling a romantic relationship with a divorced spouse is more common than you think. Learn how to do it “right” the second time, and make this new (old) relationship work once more.

Steps

1.Make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Don’t make sex the reason you’re meeting. Or the children. Or perhaps there are financial considerations.

2. Do not bring up old grudges. If the relationship is going to work, there will be plenty of time to discuss those issues, ideally in front of a trained professional. For the time being, just enjoy each other’s company.

3. Date as if you’re strangers. Don’t become too ‘familiar’ with one another. Be respectful, kind, considerate, and thoughtful, just as you would with anyone you’re getting to know.

4. Have some fun. Above all, now is the time to do the things you never allowed yourself to do while you were married. Investigate new restaurants. Attend a play. Take a walk by the water. Hike through the mountains. Many marriages fail because the couple does not have fun together. Make sure to include a lot of good times, hard laughter, and silly moments, and enjoy each other’s company.

5. Do it on your own. Make an effort to go out on your own, rather than with your children or friends. While it may feel more comfortable to have a “buffer,” when the two of you decide to “try again,” include time alone, in public, and at home.

6. Postpone sexual activity for as long as possible. That’s right…be teenagers and discover all the wonderful ways to be intimate with one another that don’t lead to pregnancy. Concentrate on arousal rather than orgasm, and make it last.

7. Agree on a date when you will inform your friends and family that you are once again “an item.” When one of you tells everyone you know that you’re “getting back together,” when that wasn’t what your ex- had in mind, it can cause hurt feelings. Agree on a date when you will “make it official.”

8. Seek out marriage counselling. There was a reason why it failed the first time. Maybe you realised why it kept happening in other relationships. Learn how to have a successful, passionate marriage. Evidence-based marital distress treatment is very effective in teaching couples new ways to interact with one another. Learn these new techniques thoroughly and apply them to your new (old) relationship.

9. After much deliberation, move in. Many’second-timers’ admit that their first courtship was not thoughtful or slow enough. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that moving in isn’t a true ‘commitment.’ Again, go slowly.

10. Set a date if you intend to remarry. Don’t just dive in, assuming you’re already married and that this time “doesn’t count.” Set up an engagement period, go to couples counselling, choose a dress (it does not have to be white or fancy), and decide who will be invited to the wedding. It is critical that your community recognises your (re-)commitment to one another. This should not be a last-minute consideration. Be just as serious about remarrying your ex as you were (or should have been) the first time.

11. Make plans for a honeymoon. Even if this is a repeat, you are creating memories from your childhood. Be intentional about where you go and what you do (or don’t do) while on your honeymoon to make it memorable.

12. Pay attention to resurrected fighting styles and seek immediate assistance. When you’re getting back together, there are plenty of opportunities to clash: when to tell others, when to be intimate, when to move in, when to marry, and so on. Recognize that conflict is a necessary part of any successful marriage. This is not the issue. The issue arises when this conflict escalates. Learn to fight with each other in a mutually respectful manner that keeps things in perspective and avoids name-calling, defensiveness, criticism, or stonewalling. Maintain your involvement in your fights while maintaining a sense of humour. If you can’t, seek assistance to learn how.

13. Make a vow to make this new marriage your last. Commitment is a critical pillar that helps to keep relationships stable. Concentrate on the advantages of being with this person rather than the disadvantages. Every relationship has advantages and disadvantages. Remind yourself on a daily basis how fortunate you are to have been reunited. Make a promise to yourself that you will never use the “d” word (divorce) again, no matter how angry you become. And prioritise this relationship over all others in your considerations.

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