Humans are fickle beings who sometimes have second thoughts about their decisions. Changing your mind about divorce is an example that proves this statement.
In 2017, the University of Alberta and Brigham Young University surveyed 3,000 Americans and confirmed that divorce is a tough question.
25% of the respondents considered divorcing their spouses, but about half of them changed their minds about divorce and were still with their partners a year later.
How to understand that your wife is reconsidering the divorce option? What to do if your wife wanted a divorce but then changed her mind?
And is changing your wife’s mind about divorce a healthy way to save your family?
These are some of the topics raised in this article, so keep reading to find answers that can change your life.
The short answer is ‘yes, they do.’
It’s normal for a person to doubt their decisions sometimes, and typically these doubts don’t depend on gender.
As for the ‘why,’ reasons may vary. Moreover, they are purely individual.
Before your wife finally decides to file for divorce or stay married, she may need to pause and analyze the situation. It is this period that can determine your future. And it’s also a time for you to think about the possible reasons why she might call the breakup off.
Divorce fears can be linked to different aspects of a person’s life. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common ones.
Fear of loneliness
Having voiced her decision to get divorced, your wife may become overwhelmed by the fear of being left alone. She may feel like she wouldn’t be able to trust anybody again, and no other person will become as close and dear as her husband.
Fear of freedom
Once a divorce process is finalized, a person starts living an independent life. If your wife always relied on your help, the prospect of independence can scare her. The feeling of impending freedom can be stressful and anxiety-provoking.
Fear of social condemnation
If a person is very dependent on someone else’s opinion, the fear of what other people will say can be one of the reasons to call the divorce off. Although modern society perceives marriage termination “better,” social condemnation still exists, especially towards a woman.
Fear of bearing responsibility for divorce
This fear is more common for people initiating breakups. When a person makes a decision, they take responsibility for all the good and bad consequences. Your wife may not be ready for it.
Fear of a new relationship
This fear is especially relevant if the spouses are high-school sweethearts who got married early. It’s difficult for such married couples to accept that their union can end.
At the same time, meeting other guys can be no less frightening for your wife. She’ll need to get to know other people, go on dates, and build relationships. It can be a daunting experience for her as you were the only guy she had a deep connection with.
If your wife changes her mind about divorce just because she’s scared, such a marriage won’t last long and make you happy. Fear can be the reason to reconsider divorce, but both sides should want to restore the marriage.
When the one person you love offends, betrays, or disappoints you, giving a second chance may not be easy. It’s understandable. There are things a person can’t forgive.
However, the ability to forgive is at the core of human relationships.
Gary Chapman, Ph.D., best-selling author, speaker, and counselor, wrote a book about healing a broken marriage called “One More Try: What to Do When Your Marriage Is Falling Apart.” Its intro section says,
“When doors slam and angry words fly, when things just aren’t working out, and even when your spouse has destroyed your trust, there is still hope. If you feel like your marriage is near the breaking point, or even if you’ve already separated you can still give your marriage one more try.”
Perhaps your wife is doing the same.
But this desire to give your marriage a second chance must be sincere. If she wants to call divorce off but doesn’t let go of the resentment and constantly plays the “it was all your fault” card, such a second chance won’t save your marriage.
Most women with kids worry about their feelings when filing for divorce. Sometimes, spouses postpone divorce or even change their minds because of the negative consequences on their children.
At different ages, kids react differently to parental breakup.
For example, toddlers suffer because their dad or mom is absent most of the time.
Child psychologist Dr. Scott Carroll says that the divorce trauma may be nominal if parents get divorced when their child is still a baby. “Probably the only ages where you would say it has no meaningful impact is under two,” he explains.
Later, the likelihood of emotional trauma is higher. Older kids often believe that their parents’ breakup happened because of them. They may feel shame, guilt, fear, etc.
Perhaps your wife is changing her mind about divorce to protect your kids from such negative consequences.
However, the desire to preserve the marriage just for the sake of the children doesn’t guarantee they will become happy and mature people, especially if the atmosphere in the family is “stormy.”
Your wife may be no longer interested in ending your marriage because she knows it can cost a fortune.
If the spouses are unable or unwilling to reach an agreement regarding divorce-related issues and break up peacefully, they will need to hire lawyers and proceed through a lengthy trial. Not to mention the need to share property, debts, etc.
Perhaps your wife is not ready for such expenses and believes it’s better to stay married than pay a divorce attorney.
Once the D-word is mentioned, a feeling of doom hangs in the air.
You and your partner know what will happen next: dividing property, handling child-related issues, calculating spousal support, hiring professional lawyers, preparing documents, participating in court hearings, etc.
In addition to all the challenges of the divorce proceedings, spouses ending their marriage feel stressed and depressed. They become cold and indifferent to each other.
The good news is that there are several signs your wife is no longer considering divorce the only way out.
Learn about 10 clear signs a wife is changing her mind about divorce below and project them onto your relationship.
If you notice similar changes in your wife’s behavior, it could mean she is having second thoughts about divorce. Thus, you as a husband still have a chance to save your marriage and avoid the scenario described above.
Negative changes in communication are some of the first divorce signs, just like the positive ones can signal an improvement in your relationship.
If you notice that your wife uses the word “we” more often (not in the divorce context), she may be starting to perceive you and herself as a union again. It’s the first sign that you may still have a future together.
Keep track of what your wife says about your relationship and how she does it. If you notice less neglect, resentment, anger, and other negative components in her tone and words, maybe she’s starting to change her attitude towards you and your marriage.
If she asks about your day and talks about hers and she listens to what you say, it may be a sign you are still important to her. So keep going this way. Perhaps over time, you’ll be able to discuss the problems in your married life and find ways to solve them.
Body language can convey a lot of information. If you notice positive changes in your wife’s body movements and facial expressions, she may be changing her mind about dissolution.
She may look you in your eyes more often than before, or touch you more frequently during a conversation, or sit closer to you during dinner, etc.
Healthy sex life and physical intimacy are some of the foundations of a happy relationship. It’s also a sign of emotional closeness. However, physical intimacy is not always only about sex. It’s also sensual proximity, touching, holding hands, cuddling, kissing, etc.
If you notice that your wife starts showing attraction to you after a lull in physical contact, she may be interested in saving the marriage.
In his book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” American psychologist Robert B. Cialdini cites some studies proving you can improve a person’s opinion about yourself by complimenting them.
So if your wife starts complimenting you a lot, she may want to change your mind about her. Thus, your opinion still matters to her. And if so, she may believe that your marriage has not yet reached the point of no return and can be restored.
Typically, jealousy is perceived as a negative emotion. In most cases, it is caused by low self-esteem. However, when within reasonable limits, it can also be a person’s way of saying, “You matter to me.”
If suddenly your wife is concerned about where you are and who you are spending time with, she may want you to spend this time with her. It means that divorce may no longer be a priority for her.
Talking about “good old days” may indicate that your wife misses them. If she often recalls your shared past, perhaps she still wants to have a shared present and future.
Analyze the moments she recalls and draw parallels with the reasons for the divorce. Perhaps it’s her way of hinting at what she’s missing now in your relationship.
Most likely, her love for you has not yet faded completely, and she wants to give it a second chance.
When a relationship starts, lovebirds often try to do anything to please their partners. They cook their favorite meals, play their favorite music, use their favorite perfumes, etc. They generally try to do things their partners like to make them happy.
Over time, this period of “trying” ends. People are more concerned with everyday life. Not everyone has the time and energy to please their partner every minute.
If your wife has started doing things you enjoy, it’s a sure sign she cares about you. Usually, once a person decides to get divorced, they only care about finalizing the process. So, such a change may indicate your wife has doubts about her decision.
Distancing is one of the reasons for divorce. Partners spend so little time together that they gradually begin to live separate lives.
Moreover, when one of the spouses decides to end the marriage, they try to build a wall between them and the other party. Their communication is limited to resolving divorce-related issues only.
In other words, if your wife invites you to have dinner, watch a movie, or go for a walk together, and you don’t talk about divorce all the time, it’s a sign she still wants to spend time with you. And if so, divorce may be in question.
When a wife stops talking about divorce, chances are she doesn’t want to bring it up. There may be several reasons behind it:
If you notice that at some point, the D-topic doesn’t come up at all, perhaps your wife has given up on divorce, or at least she’s reconsidering the need for such radical actions.
Of course, sooner or later, you’ll have to discuss this issue anyway. If you and your wife decide to stay together, you need to understand why it all happened and how to avoid it in the future.
This is one of the clearest signs your wife doesn’t want a divorce. If she wants to see a therapist, she’s ready to work on your marriage and resolve family issues.
Remember, it will take time and, most importantly, commitment from both parties. But if she suggests couples therapy, the divorce is clearly off the list.
If your wife initiated the breakup but then changed her mind, you need to ask yourself whether you have second thoughts too.
A marriage is a two-way street, and it can only be saved if both spouses work on the relationship. If you want to end your marriage regardless of your wife’s desires, it will be impossible to restore it.
You should also find out the true reasons why your wife changed her mind. Talk to her or contact a family therapist to discuss her fears. The therapist-suggested practices can help to sort out family problems and find their root causes.
Only a sincere desire to rebuild your relationship and rekindle the old flame should motivate both of you to reconsider the divorce. However, be aware that it can take a lot of time and effort because you are different people with different opinions who need to find common ground.
If she wants to stay with you because she’s scared, you should think twice about whether you are ready to put up with it.
Ask yourself the following questions:
The answers to all these questions will likely be “no” because any of the four proposed scenarios doesn’t create a picture of a happy marriage. Therefore, before taking any action, consider what will make you happy.
If you feel like saving your marriage and have noticed positive changes in your wife’s behavior, you can take several steps to make her change her mind completely.
You may have hurt her. Accept it
If your wife decided to end your marriage, she had her reasons.
Perhaps your wife feels offended because you are not paying attention to her or put her needs at the bottom of your priority list. You could have done it consciously or unconsciously. But either way, it could hurt her.
Talk to your wife, analyze your behavior, and if you really offended her in some way, admit it.
Become a better husband
Since your wife once fell in love with you, she must have liked something about you in the first place. Perhaps she liked that you were goal-oriented, could make spontaneous decisions, or were in good shape. There are a lot of options.
Think about what your wife liked about you and improve yourself.
Remember that you are doing it not only for your wife but also for yourself. After all, self-improvement makes us fall in love with ourselves. Once we love ourselves, we are ready to love others.
Don’t just say, “I love you.” Prove it with your actions
In his book “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts,” Gary Chapman talks about 5 ways to express love for the other person.
Yes, verbal communication is one of them, but it’s not the only thing you can use to interact with your wife. There are also:
Sometimes actions speak louder than words. So use other love languages to show your wife you still love her and want to be with her. Your actions can awaken even more feelings and make her finally change her mind about the divorce.
Don’t be a mind reader. Talk to your wife. Listen to what she has to say, even if sometimes she becomes overly emotional and gets into a heated argument. Listen to her until she feels fully heard.
Recognize the importance of her feelings and show a genuine interest in communication.
Have you noticed how her body language has changed? Watch yours too. Maintain eye contact to show you are interested.
The more you communicate, even if it is difficult at first, the more chances you have to get to the bottom of your marriage problems and find ways to solve them.
Doubting the divorce decision is okay at first. But staying uncertain about it for a long time is hard on both partners.
On the one hand, it makes the prospect of accepting the situation and moving on more remote for spouses. On the other hand, constantly going from ‘yes’ to ‘no’ removes the responsibility for making a decision. None of these options is healthy for either spouse.
If your wife has already voiced her desire to break up, but you notice she has doubts, and her behavior has changed positively, think about what you want.
Do you want to save this marriage, or do you want to start the next chapter of your life separately? What will make you happy?
Think well because it’s possibly one of the most critical decisions in your life.
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