So, you’re having regrets about your decision to get a divorce. You’re not alone. This is a common thing for many couples to experience as they move closer to their final legal separation. At times, it’s merely the remnants of what you once had together, thoughts and emotions that will take time to dissipate and find perspective in your new life. Other times, it may signal a call to reconciliation.
Each couple is different, and each individual will have to evaluate their own desires and come to a decision about what they want most, what they believe is best, and whether to move on or dive back in.
We’re going to look more closely at what it means and what to do if you’re experiencing doubts and thinking of changing your mind about divorce. There are some important things to consider and some key decisions to make that will help you navigate this confusing time with greater clarity and focus. Let’s take a look.
Why am I Having Second Thoughts?
It’s normal to second guess yourself during divorce. You were likely with your spouse for years. The effect of this prolonged time of shared life experience and physical and emotional intimacy intensifies the longer you are together and the closer you become. Marriage is often the most intimate and important relationship you will have. To lose it, no matter the reasons, and even if you consider it a good thing to lose, will affect you in countless ways that reveal themselves as the weeks and months roll by.
The two of you have invested a lot of time, energy, affection, money, and trust in one another and in the future of your relationship and family. No one wants to feel it was a waste. No one wants to feel like they’ve failed, and you wonder what life after divorce will be like.
Still, there are additional questions that pass through your mind. Are you wondering if you can handle being alone again for a while? Are you worried about the whole process of emotional healing? How will your divorce affect your children? Will you make it financially? Did you rush into your separation without considering it fully? Are you worried about what others may think? Are you simply worried about walking through such big changes in life, thinking that it may be too much to handle?
No matter the reasons, if conflicting thoughts continue to rise to the surface and feelings of regret and remorse continue to grow, it is important to take them seriously and initiate steps to better understand yourself, your spouse, and the hopes each of you have for the future, no matter what that looks like.
Here are a few steps to take if you’re feeling stressed about separation or the divorce process, experiencing doubts about any part of it, wondering if you’ve made the right decision, or have very real questions about whether your divorce is going to make things better off for you than your marriage did.
Communicate: Talk About Your Concerns with Your Ex
Once you’ve taken time to consider your questions and feelings, it’s time to talk it out with your ex-partner. Start a conversation during a “good time,” a time when you’re both calm, clear, and interested in communication.
Share openly and honestly about everything, the reasons for divorce, reasons for staying together, family issues, the benefits of staying together and those that might come from separating. Let them know you’re experiencing cold feet about the divorce, and ask them to share their thoughts and feelings around the subject.
Given the level of stress and confusion often surrounding divorce, it’s fair to simply open the conversation with, “I’m not sure what I want, but I have doubts; what are you feeling?” It can be really uncomfortable to open this dialogue, especially since you have no idea what your ex will say, how they are feeling about you, and even whether you really want to hold off on the divorce and try to make things work again.
The point is to begin talking, start the process of exchanging thoughts, feelings, and ideas about yourselves, your family, and the future. If your conversations yield relatively positive results or you sense that the two of you share some similarities with your outlook, you can then move the conversation to an experienced psychologist for some couples counseling to gain further perspective and greater understanding.
Get Outside Help
As we just mentioned, finding some outside assistance for this unique development, both in yourself and in your relationship is a wise decision. It’s important to see a qualified counselor by yourself to work through your own questions and emotions as well as a couple’s therapist for some couples therapy if you both decide it’s a good idea.
Other helpful professionals include divorce lawyers, since divorce attorneys will be able to help you sort out the complicated web of financial and custodial matters that may already be well underway. The further along you are in the divorce process, the more nuanced and focused the professional help will need to be. You’ll definitely want a divorce lawyer for this.
Also, consider additional help from a mediator, close friends, trusted family members, and older mentors. Discuss your situation with individuals who are mature, show thoughtfulness and wisdom, and have your best interests at heart, not just anyone looking to give out advice.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
No matter what each of you decide, we advise you to take it nice and slow. Sometimes, when emotions are running high or you’re worn out from navigating the pain and details of divorce, it’s easy to jump into something without thinking it through completely, especially if certain positive emotions are beginning to surface once more.
Avoid this tendency. You’ll only make things worse. Ease into things. Focus on clear communication, respect, and mutual understanding. Look objectively at your situation, taking into account all the reasons you both wanted a divorce in the first place. Work through these difficult issues and through the hopes each of you has.
Keep a Little Distance for Perspective
If you’re already living apart, we don’t recommend you jump back into living together while you’re trying to figure out if getting back together is even a good idea. Living in separate homes at first will give both of you the space necessary to consider your life, decisions, and situation objectively, without the pressure of being face to face every day.
Oftentimes, having a spouse/parent move back in suddenly can be jarring, especially if things are still very uncomfortable or up in the air. Sleeping together can confuse things even more. Wait a while. Respect the process. Give yourself time to develop a new and stronger foundation before building the rooms above it.
When it comes to divorce, nothing ever has to be permanent. Struggling married couples sometimes reunite. Couples, long divorced from one another, sometimes find themselves once again organizing a wedding.
Experienced divorce lawyers and counselors can help you slow things down and press pause on your divorce so each of you can figure out where you’re really at and be thoughtful about such a major decision. It’s okay if the two of you decide to move forward with separation. Sometimes this is the healthiest move for the family. It’s also great if you decide to stay together. The important thing is to consider it thoughtfully, taking into account everything that you care about, your well-being, and the future of your family.
Torrone Law helps individuals, couples, and families find clarity during the divorce process, healing afterwards, and the tools they need to move forward with confidence. Connect with us today to learn more or to schedule a consultation.
To learn more about divorce, check out our frequently asked questions below.
What do I do if I’m having real doubts about getting divorced?
If your thoughts and feelings are persistent, it’s a good idea to discuss them with your counselor. Afterwards, if you still want to move toward reconnecting in some way, open a dialogue with your ex. You’ll need to uncover their feelings about you and find out what they really want.
If this continues to yield results, move toward couples’ counseling, and additional counsel from experienced divorce attorneys and mediators. Take things slow. Remain open and honest with yourself and with one another. Don’t rush back into living together, as this can confuse things. And make sure to remain open with your kids about where each of you are at and what to expect from each step of this season.
Is it ever too late to back out of divorce?
The answer is no. No matter how far along you are in the divorce process or divorce proceedings, you can always press pause or stop. Remember, even those who have divorced sometimes remarry.
Consider your options carefully and work with your lawyers to protect your and your partner’s rights and assets, and with a counselor to respect your and your partner’s needs, hopes, fears, concerns, and feelings.
How do I know if my doubts about divorce are serious or not?
Counselors, friends, mentors, family, attorneys, all these can help you clear the path and uncover the core, get down to the center of your concerns and your deepest feelings to see which decision is best. You want to make informed decisions, especially when it comes to something so impactful. Ultimately, only you can answer these questions. You will need to come to your own conclusions about what you want out of life based upon everything you’ve learned and considered.