Dating Your Ex Husband After Divorce

Dating Your Ex Husband After Divorce

Divorce specialist Eileen Borris

Eileen Borris

Are you thinking about dating your ex-husband after divorce? Or do you already find yourself in a relationship with the person you split up with? Naturally, you might be puzzled because your marriage didn't work and yet you are suddenly attracted to each other as though you’ve just met.

If you are thinking “What the heck am I doing?” and have serious doubts about whether you should carry on dating your former spouse, consult these guidelines. This situation obviously has both pros and cons. However, please keep in mind that you’ll have to pay double attention to restoring this relationship to make it work.

It is indeed possible to have a total reboot and start over again with your ex. However, you need a completely new approach to mend fences and fix the things that led you to divorce the last time.

Numerous couples realize that they might have made a mistake. They break up and then make up, so you're not alone. The good news is, you can use their experience not to repeat common blunders many people make when they try to make peace after divorce. Did you know, by the way, that a lot of celebrities make attempts to get back with their ex? For some, it turns out to be a nightmare but for others, it was a new lease on life.

Celebrities: Breakups and Makeups

Famous rapper Eminem not only writes passionate lyrics, but also has a complex personal life, full of romantic peaks and valleys. Eminem and his wife Kim had a long history of marriages and divorces.

Elizabeth Taylor, a well-known movie star, also hopped on and off her marital relationship with Richard Burton. The couple married in 1964, divorced ten years later, then proceeded down the matrimonial path in 1975 and divorced again a year after.

Pink, an acclaimed singer, middle-aisled it with Carey Hart in 2006. Two years later, however, the couple split up, but it was unofficial. In 2009, they were back together and never separated again.

Ozzie Osbourne, an influential rock star, spent 33 years in a marriage with Sharon Osbourne, but they suddenly parted ways in 2016 due to Ozzie having an affair. Nevertheless, the singer came back to his wife, and the couple lives happily together.

It’s not only celebrities, but also common people that miss their former spouses and want them back. It's okay if you’ve also decided to change your mind and make another try to rebuild a significant relationship.

Here are quotes from individuals who have gone through a similar experience you're having right now. Which quote resonates with your heart?

“I felt relief when my husband and I split up, but in a year, it dawned on me that I underestimated his efforts to make our family happy. I had a couple flings, and realized that none of them really stacked up – my husband was the man of my life. I miss him so much and wish he was here by my side.”

Jessica, 27.

“Our separation was awful. I had to seek refuge at my friend's house because I couldn't stand the sight of my husband after I caught him cheating on me in our apartment. However, he came back with an apology. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to forgive him and trust him again, though I do still love him. Honestly, I don’t think it will work out, cause he broke my heart.”

Lilly, 32.

“It seemed like the connection between the two of us had faded, and a divorce was all but inevitable. We barely participated in each other's lives. Nevertheless, here we are dating again! Who would’ve thought that we had so many things in common! It turned out that we really do love each other, so we’ll probably get married again.”

Monica, 36.

What Statistics Say about Reconciliation

Recent research shows that approximately 40% of married couples who split up give their relationship a second chance. From 10% to 17% of them manage to rebuild the marital relationship and stay together.

Furthermore, another study reveals that couples who seek reconciliation should never underestimate post-divorce challenges. In fact, around 50% of couples married for the first time split up officially. The CDC's National Center for Health Statistics claims that 20% of marriages break apart during the first five years. According to stats provided by Psychology Today, the divorce rate among couples remarried for the second time is almost 67%. The ones who remarry for the third time get divorced in 73% of cases.

Perhaps for some people history just repeats itself, and they face the same issues that made them uncouple. However, if you stay mindful and aware of past mistakes, there is a chance that you can beat the troubles and truly start over. Dating your ex-husband after divorce could be worthwhile if both of you are willing to change.

Why Dating an Ex Husband May Feel Really Good

Did you know that the human brain is unable to tell the difference between emotional and physical pain? That's why the heartbreak of divorce feels so bad and literally hurts you.

What is more, breaking a marriage might result in sleeping and eating disorders. Additionally, it may lead to more serious problems with your health, because it disrupts the immune system. No one likes being lonely and sad, especially when the house feels like a dreary space. This is why dating your ex-husband might bring numerous positive emotions – you no longer have to suffer.

Here are some common facts that can explain why you and your former spouse may be attracted to each other.

Distance may decrease anger. When you separate from your partner, it becomes easier to see things more clearly thanks to the distance. Negative emotions tend to diminish when you are no longer face-to-face with your ex. You can take a deep breath and get rid of your anger. Once you do that, you will be able to treat the whole situation in a much more reasonable way.

Reflection may increase attachment. When you take some time off to contemplate and reflect upon your life, you'll probably recollect subtle aspects of your marriage that you might have missed before. This will most certainly evoke various new theories.

For instance, you might realize that it was you who did something wrong in a particular circumstance, or that you actually miss your husband in spite of his drawbacks. Most people indulge in reflection after divorce, so it's almost inevitable that you will discover some hidden truth regarding your marriage and see it from a new angle.

Re-evaluation can help you forgive. Some people have high expectations of their partner, so they get frustrated when life suddenly makes “adjustments”, and their spouse turns out to have flaws! Nevertheless, these individuals are likely to regret divorcing their husband later.

The thing is, an ideal man just doesn’t exist, so you shouldn't view ordinary human imperfections as major obstacles to a marriage. Reevaluate your relationship and reassess the way you used to perceive your spouse. Maybe you’ll fall back in love with your husband once you realize that no one is perfect, and forgive him.

Of course, there are plenty of other reasons why you’d want to be dating your former spouse. For instance, you might feel that losing a meaningful relationship is detrimental to your mental and physical health, because it used to provide your life with meaning. Once it’s over, you might feel empty inside. Furthermore, it isn’t easy for many people to break marriage vows, because they care deeply about their family and kids.

Sometimes, temporary separation can be useful, especially if partners spend some time reflecting on their behavior and priorities in life.

Making another attempt to get things working can thus bring good results. At the same time, high divorce rates among married couples indicate that sometimes dating your ex-husband after divorce might mean jumping back into the frying pan.

Unsure of whether you should put effort into getting back together as opposed to building a new life? Let's see an ultimate list of reason that people cite for being willing to come back to their former partners. The question is if all of them are reasonable enough.

15 Reasons Why You Might Want to Date Your Ex

  • The divorce was an impulsive decision based on an emotional breakdown.
  • You feel the pressure of single life and aren't ready to deal with it.
  • You “kissed a couple of toads” and realized that your husband is a better man.
  • You never stopped loving your ex-husband.
  • You made a mistake and now feel very sorry about it
  • You engaged in personal growth that made you realize what's truly yours and what's not.
  • You managed to forgive your husband for the pain he caused you.
  • Your friends and/or family still enjoy communicating with your former spouse.
  • You can't tolerate your children suffering because of the divorce and want to reconcile for the sake of the kids.
  • It is difficult for you to accept that your ex-husband might be dating someone else, so you feel jealous and want him back.
  • You feel as though the two of you have changed to the point where can enjoy each other's company in a totally new way.

Indeed, remarriage might be an option if some of the above-mentioned statements resonate with you. However, not all of them will necessarily result in a happy relationship with your ex.

Is it possible to predict whether dating your former spouse will work or not? Here’s a list of factors that can help you figure out the odds of a happy reunion!

6 Crucial Factors to Estimate the Outcome of Your Relationship

Seeing as statistics show a high divorce rate among couples who decided to reconcile, you should be careful. It doesn't mean that you shouldn’t pursue happiness in your reunion. On the contrary, considering these criteria will help you make sure that you don't repeat past mistakes and increase the odds that your relationship will be a success this time around.

After divorce, both of you have to deal with pain points and triggers that could bring back hard feelings. Thus, don't hurry – when it comes to reviving a broken marriage, one must do it very slowly!

Spiritual Practices May Help You Deal with Feelings. Any spiritual practice, such as mindfulness meditation, yoga or qi gong, will help balance your emotions. Once you feel settled and calm, you’ll notice significant changes in your perception. After all, making the right decision or reassessing the one you've already made is only possible when your soul is in a calm place.
Take time to restore your inner peace – this will help you figure out whether your divorce was a good solution or whether your relationship deserves a reboot. However, one thing is clear – if you still have feelings towards your husband, spiritual practices will renew the attachment by bringing them into your consciousness in a safe way.

You and your former partner need time and effort to treat each other in a new way. This can be compared to soil that also takes time to recover after a fire. Remember, it’s simply not possible to grow anything on bare ground until it’s ready to become fertile again.

At the same time, a low-intensity fire in a forest might contribute to the forest’s fertility – how come? Scientists say that fire destroys the tissues of dead plants and converts the nutrients bound inside them into minerals. Thus, you should burn up old attitudes that didn't work before in the “fire” of divorce and post-divorce irritation to build a more nutrient-rich forest.

Reflect on the following questions to figure out whether there are many “dead trees” that you can burn, or whether it’s a desert that is hard to seed.

1. Why Did You Split Up With Your Husband?

Be honest with yourself when answering this question, because the last straw is not always the true reason why you decided to divorce. Is it possible to overcome key obstacles? What factors does the solution to the problem depend on? Are they external or internal? Are both of you willing to put in the effort to deal with the issues?

If you split up due to addiction or an affair, it will be very difficult to restore trust once it was broken in your marriage. Thus, you will have to try twice as hard to make things work. However, if you were the one who suffered due to a breach of trust, be twice as careful not to become a victim again!

2. Was the Divorce an Emotional or a Rational Decision?

Recollect the moment when you decided to divorce – were you acting on emotion or did you make a conscious decision to split up? In the first scenario, chances are that you will be able to reconcile with your ex. The thing is, emotions often indicate that your attachment to your spouse is still strong, regardless of whether the emotions themselves are positive or negative.

At the same time, if you divorced with a clear mind and felt enormous relief when you became free, dating your former husband might be a mistake. However, maybe you just haven’t forgiven him? In this case, you might want to consider giving your relationship another try or consulting a therapist to work with your feelings.

3. Do Both of You Have the Same Strong Desire to Reconcile?

Yes, you and your former partner might be enjoying a new wave of passion right now; nevertheless, it won't last forever. So ask yourself whether he is willing to improve your relationship as much as you are? Also, are you ready to jump right into a relationship, where you'll have to take conscious steps not to end up in a legal office once again? If so, there is a strong likelihood that you'll be able to fertilize your reunion with mutual support.

4. Are Both of You Able to Learn from Past Experiences?

When people exit a meaningful relationship, they usually think a lot about how they could have fixed it. However, the pain that a breakup brings is not always bad because it makes many individuals learn from past mistakes.

In fact, pain can contribute to personal growth and make people more mature. Thus, it can be a great teacher to those who want to start with a blank slate. However, you should make sure that both you and your former partner are able to actually draw conclusions from past experiences to avoid misunderstanding or conflicts in the future.

5. Are Both of You Free?

Some people consider dating several partners at a time, including their ex. This often happens because they find it difficult to decide who they want to stay with. However, this behavior has more disadvantages than benefits, and here is why.

Firstly, wishful thinking could penetrate your perception of reality. For instance, you might wish your husband was with you. You can start attempting to make him come back in spite of the fact that he’s already seeing someone else. In this case, it would be better to discuss whether your former partner is ready to quit his new relationship for the sake of rebuilding the old one.

Secondly, dating both your husband and another man might trigger unpleasant consequences. One of your partners might find out that he is not alone, which might be the end of your attempts to choose between the men. Moreover, if your marriage broke due to a breach of trust, the situation will make things much worse. You might hurt your former husband twice as hard, because he’s faced your infidelity before.

As obvious as it might seem, numerous ex-couples avoid discussing the presence or absence of current partners when they start dating again. However, if you want to build a healthy relationship, it would be better to communicate before you make a mistake.

6. Will You Be Able to Forgive Each Other?

Reconciling with your former partner might seem good when you're thinking about it. Nevertheless, when you actually start dating, you might find out that your ex-husband hasn’t overcome the pain he was going through when you were married.

Likewise, you might still feel the sting of pain or lack trust due to hurtful experiences. In this case, it's essential to find out whether you and your ex are both ready to forgive each other, and if so, is it worth the effort?

If the cause for your divorce is rooted in the past, you might consider forgiveness as a solution. If you suffered greatly and you find it extremely difficult to trust your husband again, a therapist or a marriage counselor can help you overcome the pain. However, it's crucial to understand whether your partner is aware of the problem and is not going to cause more suffering.

If it was you who provided the grounds for divorce, try to convince your ex that you've learned a lot and will never hurt him again. In such a case, don't put too much pressure on your former husband - rebuilding trust takes time. However, it is only possible to bring your marriage to life if you show, by your own example, that you totally understand the reason why you divorced and you're not going to make your family deal with the same issues again.

5 Cases When Dating Your Ex is a Bad Idea

1. Your Passion Isn’t Mutual

Some people stay psychologically married to their spouse after the divorce, especially if it wasn’t their initiative. If you realize that you're the one attempting to make peace while your ex isn’t that interested, it’s better not to persist.

Try to stay realistic and just accept that it would be better for you to focus your energy on building a new life rather than trying to ride a dead horse. If it's really difficult for you to move on, seek professional help. There are lots of divorce experts that can help you overcome your pain, even though now it might seem unbearable.

2. You Want to Reconcile Only for the Sake of Children

While it's crucial to maintain a respectful relationship with your ex in front of your children, in and of itself it's not a reason to stay together. If there’s nothing else that would unite you, at least on your behalf, it's better to quit. If your love is over, you will have to pretend that you have a romantic relationship – are you sure you want hypocrisy?

Firstly, faking reconciliation may be detrimental to you because you won't be able to fully focus on finding a new partner. And if you do, you will have to keep it a secret. But what if your former spouse or your kids find out?

Moreover, children usually feel what's going on even if you don't say anything. Pretending to be happy might affect their inner compass, as they will unintentionally learn to conceal their true emotions or fake positive feelings while experiencing sadness deep inside. So, avoid teaching your kids to live a fake life, because they might subconsciously copy this pattern of behavior and apply it in their own relationship when they grow up.

3. You're Too Tired of Being Alone

When you're single, you might feel extremely lonely, especially if you are used to sharing experiences with a significant other. However, if going on holiday alone is the only reason why you want your husband back, it's better to look for a friend who can go with you.

What is more, you can spend Christmas with your parents and have an amazing Valentine’s Day by simply buying yourself a nice present. And if you still feel sad when you see cuddling couples, just skip the holiday and switch your attention to a completely different thing such as work or a hobby.

Some individuals fear that others might frown upon them being single. If you're concerned with other people's opinions, relax. You actually have much higher chances of meeting someone new if you don't share your trips or passions with the person who represents your past. As for other people, question whether they are relationship experts or just ordinary onlookers – does their opinion matter that much? In most cases, you will realize that they are ordinary people who have similar problems.

4. You Need Financial Support

Even if life has been tough after divorce and you would like to have more money in your pocket, avoid getting together with your ex-husband for financial reasons. Recollect how you managed to earn your living before the marriage and try to stick with that strategy, or develop a new one.

Even if you're stuck right now, consult a friend or a business coach, or simply browse the internet to get some tips on how to survive through difficult times. If you feel anxious due to your financial situation, it's better to direct your efforts towards calming your mind and finding a solution. Otherwise, you might come off as needy and have to beg your husband to help you out. Your attempts might cost you too much in the long run instead of paying off.

5. Your Dates Have Been Horrible

You might have had a couple of bad dates after the divorce. This could just indicate that you aren't ready for a new relationship yet, need more time to fully recover or just have to look better. Sometimes it's healthier to avoid dating for a while than to lose an enormous amount of energy trying to establish connections that you don't truly want.

Even if you don't feel that hurt after divorce, wanting some love isn't a good reason to call your ex. Instead of seeking love, try to create it. For instance, you can make a nice handmade postcard and send it to a friend. Or you can give attention to people who might need your love, such as elderly relatives who would appreciate your visit.

There are always some options to exchange good vibes, and it does not necessarily involve romance. After all, if your feelings towards your husband faded, making up to compensate for a bad date would feel like you're expecting a wilted rose to provide a fresh smell. What's even worse, your ex might feel the same towards you, so avoid a reconciliation attempt if your intentions aren't strong enough.

6 Steps to Give Your Relationship a Second Chance

If reflection shows that your mutual love has a chance to survive and even prosper, consider the following steps to make sure that you're going in the right direction. They’ll help you revive your relationship.

Please keep it in mind that you should take these steps only when both of you have serious intentions to fix the marriage. It will be too early to start working on your reunion if the two of you are currently under the influence of passion. It is recommended to wait until your relationship enters a calmer phase and then act.

Before you apply the following steps, please note that if you have kids, it would be better not to tell them that you're dating their dad again. If your children find out, they might get confused or even experience anxiety, because they might be afraid that you will break up again. So, be on the safe side and stay silent before you officially become a couple to avoid the repetition of trauma.

1. Create a List of Past Issues and Discuss It With Your Husband

No matter how formal it may sound, creating a list of problems that bothered both of you might literally save your marriage. Please restrain from starting a big fuss while discussing those issues. Although you should never ignore the things that led to divorce, hold on and wait as long as it takes. Both you and your former spouse should feel secure and calm enough to deal with the situations that caused pain in the past.

When you are ready, speak out in turns and openly discuss what each of you can do to eliminate these situations in the future. If you fought over splitting the responsibilities in the marriage, try to treat your new union more like a business this time. In this case, it is recommended to clearly agree upon who does what and when, like business partners do.

Although you might dislike formalities like this at first, try to tolerate the temporary discomfort they bring. In the long run, they will help you avoid any kind of discrepancies in your schedule as well as problems in your family life. Use online schedulers and calendars with recurrent events to keep track of household chores and responsibilities so that trivial mix-ups need not happen again. It is also essential to commit to the responsibilities and show your partner how willing you are to make things work on a consistent basis.

2. Honestly Accept Your Mistakes

It is critical to bravely face any issues that ruined your marriage and be able to accept your share of blame. Both partners have to recognize that they did something wrong. Once both of you discuss your past mistakes, voice your resentment, accept your guilt and ask for forgiveness, you'll see how smooth communication becomes. So, take this load off your shoulders – it's time to move on and start enjoying a new life with each other!

If you feel guilty and find it hard to move on, even though your partner is ready to forgive you, please take into account that all people make mistakes. If you regret your past actions and aren’t going to hurt your husband again, you truly deserve forgiveness. You could consult a therapist and ask them to help you overcome your guilt as in many cases, guilt prevents people from coming up with healthy solutions. Guilt could even ruin your relationship, so it's essential to deal with it as soon as possible.

If you have been hurt by your husband in the past and are looking for the inner strength to forgive him but can’t do it, simply accept your emotions as they are. Let yourself feel what you feel and then try to let it go.

Anger Management Meditation might help you overcome a sense of guilt, anger, resentment, and frustration. You should focus on your breathing whenever a painful memory comes to your mind. Be aware of your emotions, no matter how unpleasant they are, and then breathe them out. Feel the tension in your body decreasing and eventually evaporating. Don’t forget that it is crucial to practice this on a regular basis to achieve the desired effect.

3. Communicate with Your Spouse More Often

Did you spend a lot of time together when you started seeing your husband? Did anything change when you got married, and why? Many couples mistakenly think that once they tie the knot, it's no longer necessary to give the partner small signs of attention. And monotony is one of the major reasons why numerous families end up fighting or even getting divorced.

After all, you got married for the sake of enjoying each other's company in the first place, not just to sleep and eat together. Why did you stop talking about the things that once made you soulmates?

It’s very important to participate in each other’s lives if you want to become really close. Start with little, seemingly insignificant signs of attention. You can send funny smileys via messenger to your partner throughout the day, ask how the meeting wen, ask how they feel, etc.. You can also view family albums together to bring back good memories. And you can support your significant other by listening to them and discussing the challenges they are having at the moment.

4. Be Romantic

Give compliments as well as presents – they don't have to be expensive but must be personalized. For instance, maybe your husband likes Simon's Cat, so give him a t-shirt or a cup with this funny character.

Furthermore, provide each other with positive emotions, so book a balloon flight or go to the theatre. You can choose whatever you and your ex like – the main thing is to make your husband feel truly significant. Show how much you have missed his company and how much you appreciate that he is back.

5. Learn and Demonstrate New Patterns of Behavior

Many people believe that they truly want to change but they actually don't realize that it's not going to happen. Willing to transform but not taking steps to do it only contributes to the percentage of divorces after remarriage. Thus, you should remember that wanting to bring your relationship to a new level is not enough, as it also requires making a conscious effort.

Therefore, go over the list of the past issues mentioned above once a month and honestly say to yourself whether you are sticking to it. Did you manage to implement new behavioral patterns in your family life? You should also pay attention to whether your partner is showing progress. In some cases, it is recommended to consult the list together and award each other for fulfilling your long-term goals.

Although it might seem awkward or even absurd, the “gamification” of a serious endeavor like restoring a marriage can actually make it work! What’s more, doing this in the form of a game will actually decrease the tension between you and add vitality to your communication. You can set up a competition and present each other with prizes for doing a great job. Or, at least, you can verbally compliment each other for staying mindful and working hard on the relationship you both cherish.

6. Update Your Expectations

Once you've settled in with a smooth communication stream, it's time to upgrade your mutual expectations. If your marriage suffered because you failed to give your partner what he expected or vice versa, pay extra attention to managing what you want from him.

Unrealistic expectations and projections are detrimental to marriage, because people start putting too much pressure on their partners. Focus on who your husband really is, instead of who you think he ought to become by following your suggestions. Each person is unique and has an original path in life. So it's essential to discuss where each of you is actually going and whether working together is worth the effort.

Remember that an honest conversation is key to building a healthy relationship and making it shine. If you're dating your ex-husband after divorce, use the aforementioned strategies to increase the probability of a successful family reunion. Hopefully, you will go through this major transformation and build a fulfilling relationship full of love and care!

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