Many divorcees regret splitting up. Others still feel confident in their decision, but wish they had approached the process differently. They hope that, by sharing their stories, they can help others avoid similar mistakes. Keep the following lessons in mind as you proceed with your divorce:
Not Filing Soon Enough
Many people regret the timing of their divorce. A contributor to Kevin A. Hansen’s Secret Regrets series believes that his hesitation exposed his children to abusive behavior and a poor example of adult relationships. He explains, “I regret that I did not file for a divorce immediately after the first time you screamed and threw things at me—in front of the kids.” He doesn’t blame his ex, but believes his hesitation may have perpetuated a cycle of marital difficulty.
Agreeing to 50/50 Custody
In most situations, children benefit most from maintaining strong relationships with both parents. For some, however, it’s best to reside solely with the more responsible party. Hence, Allison Wright’s manifesto for Divorcedmoms.com, entitled, “My Biggest Regret: Agreeing to 50/50 Custody with a Narcissist.” Wright worries about her child’s wellbeing. She confesses, “I will always regret the fact that I didn’t fight for full custody way back when I had a chance.”
Arguing About Non-Essentials
Forbes contributor Michael Smith outlined several regrets in the story What I Wish I Knew Before My Divorce. Chief on his list: arguing about items that ultimately lost their value during the housing crisis. He especially regrets wasting vast amounts of time negotiating about his boat. He now believes that all spouses should complete financial statements, which quickly identify areas where they don’t see eye to eye. This tactic helps spouses reconcile some of their differences before official proceedings, thereby reducing the amount of time spent in mediation or litigation.
The Need For Counseling
Counseling can’t save every marriage, but at minimum, it can ease tension during the divorce process. An anonymous Guardian contributor admits that “it would have been good to get counseling to help me cope with the separation,” especially as the spouses still held romantic feelings for one another at the time of divorce.