Getting married for the second time can be exciting, but taking that trip down the aisle again with the same person after a divorce can bring on the jitters and a lot of uncertainty. While you may have experienced some personal growth since the divorce, couples should make sure that they have resolved everything that led them to the divorce attorney’s office in the first place, so that it doesn’t happen again in their new marriage.
Zola is here to help with some advice for remarrying the same person after divorce. Here are some expert suggestions on improving your chances of having a successful second marriage with each other.
Remarrying your ex isn’t easy. Sometimes you just can’t shake that loving feeling when it comes to the one, even if you had to take some time apart. Chloe Cook, licensed marriage and family therapist, says that there are many reasons why divorced couples decide to remarry each other. “Some of the reasons include familiarity and comfort that comes with being with someone for a long time, they have forgiven or forgotten about the bad things that happened in the marriage, maintained a close relationship with the ex’s family, and they’ve realized that the divorce was made in haste and want to give it another try,” she says.
Natalie Murray, LCMHC, and owner of Charlotte WellBeing Institute adds, “They could [still] be in love and haven’t found another connection, and didn’t feel like they got proper closure, or they want to right the wrongs of the past relationship.”
Experts say that it’s important for couples to discuss what has changed since the first marriage and why it ended in divorce the first time. What kind of marriage problems did the husband and wife have to face before it ended in a divorce settlement? Murray says that there are some pertinent questions that must be asked before the subsequent marriage, including: What have they learned? Do they have a different threshold of emotional, mental, and physical boundaries that weren't there before? Figuring out how to keep the same thing from happening should be one of the goals, and working it out during an engagement is ideal.
When starting your "new relationship," you want to be stronger as a couple than the previous marriage. “The engagement should last as long as it takes to work through the reasons for the divorce, improving conflict resolution skills, and any other areas necessary to sustain a satisfying and healthy marriage,” says Cook.
If you plan to move forward with remarrying an ex-spouse, then there are a few things that experts advise.
Seek the help of a professional therapist or counselor to help you identify the issues that caused you to go your separate ways, and for preventive measures. “This is also a good idea to learn new tips to decrease and eliminate patterns of behavior that contributed to the divorce,” says Cook.
Being engaged brings about all kinds of anxiety as it is, but take your time to make sure that you are truly ready to exchange wedding vows again for your new marriage. “Don’t rush to get married, make sure you are both on the same page with working through your previous marital issues, and set a relationship goal to meet before the decision to marry is made,” advises Cook. “Have monthly or quarterly check-ins with each other on what is working and what needs to be tweaked,” she says. Murray says that you also have to be okay with knowing that it may not work out this time around either.
Just because you are familiar with each other doesn’t mean that you are still attuned to each other’s growth during your separation. Before you jump into another subsequent marriage, take time to get to know each other as your current self. “Take your time relearning the person, and date them all over again,” says Murray. She adds that you shouldn’t assume or expect to fall back into the same roles and habits as your prior relationship. “Both parties have created new lives and new habits for themselves,” she adds.
It’s already complicated enough to work through your issues from your previous relationship, but adding others into the mix will make it even more difficult. “Don’t involve children, family, and friends right away,” says Murray. She suggests getting to know yourselves as a reunited couple before announcing that you are back together.
It’s not all hard work and no play. You don’t have to dwell on the past all the time, so having fun with each other and creating new memories will help your relationship. “Celebrate your new and rekindled love as often as possible,” says Cook.