How to Get Back Together After a Divorce

How to Get Back Together After a Divorce

It might surprise your relatives, but re-lighting the flame with a divorced spouse is more common than you think. Learn how to do it “right” the second time around, and make this new (old) relationship work again.


1. Do it for the right reasons. Don’t make sex the reason you are getting together. Or the kids. Or money considerations.

2. Don’t bring up old grievances. If the relationship is going to work out, there is plenty of time to talk about those things, hopefully in front of a trained professional. For now, just enjoy each other.


3. Date like you are strangers. Don’t be too ‘familiar’ with each other. Be respectful, kind, considerate, and thoughtful…just like you’d be with anyone you are trying to get to know.


4. Have fun. More than anything, now is the time to do the things that you never allowed yourself, while you were married. Try out new restaurants. Take in a play. Walk by the water. Hike in the mountains. Many marriages fail because couples don’t have much fun together. Be sure to introduce a lot of good times, hard laughing, silly moments, and enjoy each other.


5. Do it alone. Be sure to go out by yourselves, not only with your children or with friends. While it might feel more comfortable having a “buffer,” when the two of you decide to “try again,” include time alone, in a public place, as well as in your home.


6. Put sexual intercourse off for as long as possible. That’s right…be teenagers, and explore all the wonderful ways to be intimate with one another that doesn’t result in pregnancy. Focus on arousal, not orgasm, and make it last.


7. Mutually agree on when you will announce to your friends and family that you are once again “an item.” It can cause hard feelings when one of you tells everyone you know that you are “getting back together,” when that wasn’t what your ex- had in mind. Agree when you will “make it official.”


8. Get marriage counseling. It failed the first time for a reason. Maybe you realized that reason when it kept showing up in other relationships. Learn how to have a passionate, happy marriage that works. Evidence-based treatment for marital distress is very effective in teaching couples new ways to interact with each other. Learn these new ways well, and apply them in your new (old) coupleship.


9. Move in after a lot of discussion. Many ‘second timers’ recognize that their first courtship wasn’t thoughtful or slow enough. Don’t assume that moving in isn’t a real ‘commitment.’ Again, take it slow.


10. If you plan to re-marry, set a date. Don’t just jump into it, assuming you already were married so that this time “doesn’t count.” Set up an engagement period, go to couples counseling, pick out dress (it doesn’t have to be white or fancy) and select who you will invite to the wedding. It is very important that you have a community acknowledge your (re-)commitment to each other. This should not be an after-thought. Be as serious about re-marrying your ex- as you were (or should have been) the first time.


11. Plan a honeymoon. You are building memories of your early years, even if this is a repeat. Be deliberate in where you go, what types of things you do (or don’t do) while you are on your honeymoon, and make it memorable.


12. Pay attention to old fighting styles as they re-emerge, and get help right away. There are plenty of opportunities to clash, as you are getting back together: when to tell others, when to be intimate, when to move in, when to marry, etc. Recognize that successful marriage have conflict. This is not the problem. The problem comes when this conflict escalates. Learn to fight with each other in a way that is mutually respectful, keeps things in perspective, and avoids name-calling, defensiveness, criticism or stonewalling. Keep engaged in your fights, but keep a sense of humor. If you can’t, get help to learn how.


13. Make a commitment to make this new marriage your last one. Commitment is a vital pillar that stabilizes relationships. Focus on the benefits of being with this person, not the drawbacks. Every relationship has benefits and drawbacks. Remind yourself daily how fortunate you are to be re-united. Vow never to use the “d” work (divorce) again, no matter how angry you become. And put this relationship ahead of all others in your considerations.

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