Few institutions of human society are as adept at evolving according to changing circumstances, as marriage. People get married, then get divorced and then want to get married again, mostly to different people, but sometimes to the same person.
However, the situation of remarrying an ex-spouse brings with it a unique set of complications. The sense of comfort and familiarity, which might bring together two former partners, might also carry its own unwanted baggage of a shared past. Again, while kids from the marriage might motivate divorced parents to remarry, the ideal of a wholesome family might remain just a mirage, with newer problems cropping up every day. So when is it a good idea to remarry an ex-spouse, and when is it better to make a fresh start with new person?
Get back with your ex with this step-by-step guide.
Give yourself a time-out
If you are thinking of remarrying your ex-spouse, presumably it is because you are already separated or divorced from that person. The breakdown of a marriage is in itself an extremely traumatic experience, which not only leaves a person emotionally broken but also tears apart an entire family. So before you think of getting back with your ex-spouse, make sure that you have healed completely. Give yourself enough time to recuperate from the emotional, as well as financial, consequences of the separation. Only when you feel you are whole again, allow yourself to think of a possibility of getting back together with your former spouse.
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Strengthen your own position
Use the cooling-off period to reorganize your own situation. If you had been a stay-at-home mom before the separation, first become financially independent. Get a job and make sure that you and your kids are alright. Even if you don’t need the money, take some study course and enhance your personality. If you have been separated from your wife, first learn to make yourself comfortable at home and if the kids are living with you, arrange for them to be taken care of while you are at work. In this way, you will be sure that you are not rushing into a marriage with your ex-spouse to maintain the status-quo before the separation, or simply because things were much easier then, than now.
Go over personality differences
After you have settled down in your new circumstances post-separation, think about the differences which may have been responsible for the breakup. If the differences had to do with your personalities, consider if both of you will be willing to change yourself. If you feel you did not give enough personal space to your partner, do you think the next time you will be more willing to allow him or her to do their own thing? Or if your ex-spouse was extravagant to the point of endangering the family’s finances, do you believe that he or she can change enough to act more responsibly again? While it is impossible to alter the basic makeup of a personality, a marriage demands that each partner make some adjustments, for the relationship to succeed.
See if you are ready to trust again
If your marriage had broken up because of infidelity, consider if both of you are ready to put back the faith in your relationship. A marriage cannot survive if the partners do not have complete trust in each other. If you find yourself still checking on your ex-spouse’s whereabouts and obsessing over his or her acquaintances, maybe you should give yourself more time before rushing into a remarriage.
Consider what has changed
If you had felt compelled to end your marriage in the past, it must have been because there were issues which could not be resolved. But now, if you are thinking of remarrying your ex-spouse, consider what, if anything at all, has changed. If you were forced to leave your ex-wife because of her drinking problem, are you sure she has recovered completely? If you were tired of your ex-husband’s irresponsible behaviour, is there any real evidence, like a stable job or community position, that he has learnt to keep commitments? Allow yourself to get back together with your ex-spouse, only when you have certain proof that things have changed for the better.
Convenience is not reason enough
One of the most common reasons why former spouses remarry, is because they assume it will be convenient to go back to the past arrangement. Family realignments after a separation are always extremely difficult and more so if there are children from the marriage. So if there are joint mortgages or kids to be taken care of, ex-partners might feel things will be much easier to manage, if only certain mutual differences can be superficially papered over. However this is a misconception, since a remarriage can only work if all previous issues have been resolved.
Be wary of mere talk
If your ex-spouse says that he or she wants to marry you again, see if the words are being complemented by concrete action. If you had separated because your husband was cheating on you, find out whether he is still seeing the other woman. On the other hand, if your ex-wife says she has now learnt to be more responsible, but you still find loads of unpaid credit card bills lying on her table, be careful of committing yourself to the same person a second time around.
Stay away from danger
If you had opted out of the marriage because of your ex-spouse’s violent or abusive behaviour, give a long, hard thought to any idea of remarrying the same person. In most cases, such people never change completely and you may be putting yourself and your kids in danger again if you remarry your ex-spouse. And if your former partner has a history of crimes related to drugs, sex or weapons, it is best you and your kids continue to live on your own.
Every marriage comes with its own set of adjustments and expectations. The same is true of a remarriage with an ex-spouse, only that the baggage from the previous relationship is heavier. However, this is not to say that you should be wary of remarrying your former spouse, but make sure that you consider it as making a fresh start. Things and people can never go back to being the same, and instead of thinking of the marriage as a chance to set things right, see it as the beginning of a new relationship, with new possibilities and challenges.