The recent Annual Relationship, Marriage, and Divorce Survey conducted by Avvo online marketplace for legal services found that men are more likely to regret breaking up than women. Of the 254 divorced women surveyed, only 27% said they regretted their divorce.
However, as for men, 39% of the 206 ex-husbands report they regret leaving their wives.
Therefore, the answer to the question “Do ex-husbands ever regret divorce?” is “Yes, they do.” But if you wonder, “What are the signs my husband regrets leaving me?” you won’t get a 100% clear answer, as it all depends on your personal circumstances.
To understand whether your husband regrets divorce, you need to analyze the changes in his behavior. The signs of regret after the breakup described in this article can serve as an excellent checklist for such an analysis. So, keep reading to learn them.
Before figuring out whether your husband regrets losing you, you should learn what regret is from the psychological point of view.
Usually, we experience regret after past events where we had an opportunity to choose what to do. And in our opinion, we made the wrong choice.
According to Repetitive Regret, Depression, and Anxiety: Findings from a Nationally Representative Survey published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, regret is harmful to a person’s mental and physical health. In addition, it is directly linked to depression and anxiety.
At the same time, scholars and psychologists believe regret is closely related to decision-making, coping with difficulties, and gaining experience.
For example, Neal Roese, an expert in the psychology of judgment and decision-making from Northwestern University, thinks that among other negative emotions, regret plays a critical role in finding the meaning of existence, preventing negative behaviors in the future, understanding problems, and gaining harmony.
In other words, regret motivates us to analyze what happened and avoid similar situations in the future.
Men and women survive divorce in slightly different ways. Women tend to start grieving right away, even if they initiated the separation. On the other hand, men usually pretend that everything is just fine, even if the breakup caused them incredible pain.
Such behavior can be explained by the social stereotype that men should be strong and shouldn’t express their emotions.
While most women go through all 5 stages of mourning and “rise like a Phoenix from the ashes” to start a new life, men usually skip some steps on their path to recovery. It often leads to apathy, depression, and doubts.
In this case, regret is triggered by an unhealthy exit from the post-breakup crisis. However, sometimes, even after accepting it, men can regret the divorce.
Some of the most common reasons are:
Regretting divorce and trying to repair a marriage are two different things. The first is a state of mind, while the second is the action. Not every person is ready to move from the state of mind to real actions. Moreover, even if they do, not every action can be crowned with success.
It’s almost impossible to restore a marriage just because one person doesn’t like where they are now. Even if spouses succeed in reuniting, such a relationship won’t last long or be healthy.
If there is a “right reason” to move from regret to actions, it’s feelings. However, for this story to have a happy ending, both spouses should have them.
Usually, ex-spouses try not to interact with each other more than needed at first. It is because both have a lot to think about. However, you may notice some positive changes in your ex-spouse’s behavior over time. It can happen in a few weeks or months when all the negative emotions fade.
Does it mean your ex regrets breaking up with you? There’s no simple answer to that question. Each story is individual. And, of course, it all depends on who initiated the divorce and what the reason was.
The following signs may indicate the ex-husband regrets dumping his wife. We can call them signs of dumper’s remorse. However, sometimes, you may notice them even if the divorce was a mutual decision.
Do you meet your ex-partner often with or without reason? You come across him in a supermarket, cafe, or park. And it’s not surprising as your husband knows where you usually spend your time. But do you think it is a coincidence?
Such “unexpected” encounters can be explained by your husband’s desire to see you because he misses you and, perhaps, regrets losing you.
However, if it looks more like stalking and you feel uncomfortable, you should talk to your ex-partner. Encourage them to find a healthier approach if they want to spend more time with you so badly.
If you have children in common or a joint business, or sometimes you just need to solve issues together, how do you do it? Perhaps, you could discuss some things over phone calls, but your husband always suggests meeting in person.
If yes, it’s one of the most evident signs your ex-husband regrets letting you go and wants to be with you.
Your husband is interested in your life. He asks your mutual friends, relatives, and even you about how you are doing, how you spent your vacation, etc. He asks questions about your love life and wants to know whether you’re dating someone.
So basically, he wants to know everything about you.
When the marriage ends, most people try not to think about their former partners and move on. But if your ex-husband still wants to know what’s going on in your life, chances are he isn’t ready to move on and wants to become a part of your life again.
If your husband still loves you and dreams of reuniting, he will try to get involved in your life and demonstrate this to the whole world.
If your husband is consistently complimenting you, as he did when you were dating, chances are he’s using the same tactics that won you over the first time.
Usually, after a breakup, women tend to change their wardrobe or hairstyle, lose weight, etc. If your ex notices these changes and keeps admiring how good you look, he may still be in love with you.
Marcia Naomi Berger, psychotherapist and a licensed clinical social worker, explains that appreciation is foundational in a healthy relationship, and compliments help communicate it.
In her book, Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love: 30 Minutes a Week to the Relationship You've Always Wanted, she also notes that paying compliments to the other person results in them doing what you like more often.
It’s likely that by seeing how great you are now, your ex-husband regrets losing you and wants to win you back.
However, it’s critical to set boundaries. For example, if your husband’s compliments and attention make you uncomfortable, you should tell him about it.
When you have a difficult period in your life (problems at work or are sad and lonely), who is your shoulder to cry on? If it’s your ex-husband, he may still have feelings for you.
Yes, maybe, he’s just a good guy who is always ready to help. However, typically, when the relationship ends, the ex-spouses focus more on their separate lives and minimize interaction.
If he is always ready to drop everything and come to you just because it seems to him you are upset about something, he is not ready to let you go. If the husband regrets divorcing his wife and wants her back, he will always try to show he still cares.
If you broke up, most likely, there was a reason. Perhaps some of your husband’s character traits or actions contributed to your decision to get divorced. However, now you notice that something has changed in him.
For example, you often quarreled because you thought your husband heard you but did not listen to what you had been telling him. It seemed as if he was just waiting for you to finish talking, without going into the essence of your message, so that he could express his opinion.
But now, you see that he listens to you actively, tries to understand the problem, and looks at it through your eyes.
There are many such examples. They often indicate that your husband has done his homework and tries to show you he has changed. It can be one of the signs your ex regrets breaking up with you and wants you back.
Some studies show that nostalgia is primarily a positive emotion. However, psychologists from the University of Southern California have found that it’s not always true.
David Newman, the research’s lead author and a Ph.D. candidate, says, “Nostalgia is a mixed emotion. It also is negative. We found that people are most likely to think of the good old days when something goes wrong in the present.”
When your ex-husband recalls those positive memories you had, chances are he wants to bring them back because his life seems incomplete without them and you.
He may be reminiscing about that unforgettable honeymoon in Spain you had after the wedding, or the first music festival you attended together, or your Sunday nights with a bottle of wine and atmospheric black and white movies.
But these past events and circumstances are just a background for his feelings and experiences with you back then. So perhaps this way, he is trying to remind himself how good you two were and how wrong he was when he divorced you.
When your ex-husband, at any opportunity, talks about divorce, most likely, this question still haunts him. He may talk about it with your friends, family, even you.
Pay attention to what he says. For instance, if he sincerely regrets that your marriage ended this way, protects you, and talks about his mistakes, he may feel bad for breaking up your relationship.
LCSW and the founder of the online relationship community, Rhonda Milrad, agrees with such an idea. She says, “Maybe they have been working on themselves, want to apologize for their behavior or explain what was going on for them at the time.
Either way, their desire to get together to discuss the demise of the relationship opens the door for healing."
If your ex talks about a reunion and his desire to be with you, everything is pretty clear - your ex regrets breaking up with you.
If you believe him, you need to understand whether divorce was the right call for you and whether you are ready to give your relationship a second chance. It is not an easy task. It requires intense self-analysis, but only this way will you understand what you want.
The first thing that comes to mind is to make him feel guilty. If your husband dumped you, and, for instance, another woman was involved, a guilt trip may seem like an option. But it’s not.
Just think. Do you want your husband to come back to you just because he feels guilty for hurting your feelings? Do you want him to be with you only out of pity or because he is going through tough times now? Most likely, no. Therefore, it is better to reconsider this approach.
“Making someone do something” is not a healthy way to fix things. You don’t need to force anyone. Your goal is to help your ex-husband understand that his life will be much better if you guys are together.
But how can you do it? By working on yourself.
The good news is that by shifting the focus to yourself, you will actually kill two birds with one stone. First, you will be able to work out those aspects in yourself that stopped you from being happy.
And secondly, you will show your ex-spouse your new self and, thus, inspire him to give your relationship a second chance.
But before doing anything, think about what you really want. Do you want to restore this marriage? Or do you just want him to regret losing you, and that’s it? Do you want this relationship to continue?
If not, you shouldn’t play with his feelings, regardless of what caused the breakup.
Regret is a controversial emotion we feel when there are alternatives to a decision made. An ex-partner’s regret after a breakup is an even more complicated issue because it can hide different things.
Perhaps, he feels like ending your marriage was a wrong decision, and now he wants to correct the mistake. Or, it’s just a temporary state of mind because something in your husband’s current life does not satisfy him. Your further actions depend on what is behind your ex’s regrets.
Anyway, you can only understand the situation if you talk to your former partner. But the main thing to remember is that it’s your happiness, not your ex-husband’s regrets, that should come first.
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