7 Things Divorced People Wish They Had Done Differently in Their Marriage
Looking back at their relationships, these are the things that many people regret doing.
Divorce is one of the hardest things anyone can go through. When you take your vows, you see a bright future and a life spent together. But for 40 to 50 percent of couples in the U.S., something changes along the way, and the marriage dissolves. Perhaps this is inevitable for those who got married for the wrong reasons or just can no longer see eye to eye, but what if there was something that some of these couples could have done to save their relationship?
It may be much easier to see in hindsight, but many people have regrets over mistakes they made in their marriage. Read on to find out what seven divorced people wish they would have done differently.
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Learned how to communicate more effectively.
"Efficient communication is the foundation and key to having a dispute-free relationship," Mark Joseph, founder of the relationship blog Parentalqueries.com, tells Best Life. "It allows the couple to express their thoughts and feelings clearly and meaningfully… and helps foster understanding, kindness, and respect, which are essential for a healthy long-term relationship. If both individuals don't share their thoughts and feelings, it can lead to a breakdown in trust and understanding [which] can make it hard to resolve conflicts."
You may think that, of course, you and your partner know how to communicate. But truly listening to what another person needs and also conveying your own needs in a clear and healthy way is a lot harder than one may think—and not being able to do so can lead to the end of a relationship.
This is what happened to TikToker @keepinfitwithkatie2.0, who thinks her marriage ended because of the lack of communication. In a post on TikTok, she said she wishes that she and her ex went to more couples counseling to learn better communication tools before calling it quits.
"We were not good communicators and we weren't good when we were fighting either," she said. "We only went to marriage counseling twice which I found frustrating because I didn't get a good shot to fix what I needed to fix because there were definitely things that I did wrong."
Showed up more.
Marissa Baker also expressed regret over not going to therapy earlier on TikTok—she wished she would have showed up for her partner more as well. She emphasizes that she would have done "everything differently in her marriage" in a TikTok video. Her caption read: "I would have showed up. I'd be present. I'd go to therapy earlier. I'd show up for my partner and I'd show gratitude for all that they did."
Feeling wanted and loved is something everyone needs in a relationships, but unfortunately some partners may not always give their significant other the attention and care they deserve.
"When your spouse feels like they are last in line for your attention, resentment forms and kills any chance of intimacy," says Monica Tanner, a relationship expert and ceo of Secrets of Happily Ever After.
Didn't try to be right all the time.
In a TikTok video labeled, "How I screwed up my marriage," marriage coach Jennifer Hurvitz says that one of the things she wished she had done differently was trying to be right all the time.
"Try to understand your partner's point of view," she said. "Instead of trying to be right all the time, listen and understand each other. If you are already wondering who is right, you are losing. If you're already worried about winning, you've lost."
This sort of behavior can drive a huge wedge between partners. "When you try to be the person who is right all the time, you are not allowing that there could possibly be another point of view or perspective," Fiona Eckersley, a relationships coach at fionaeckersleycoaching tells Best Life. "Being dismissive of your partner's opinions or ideas makes them feel unworthy. This will lead to an uneven balance and ultimately the person who feels that they need to doubt themselves is less inclined to be intimate or share anything about themselves."
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Let up on constant criticism.
Blaming your spouse for your own unhappiness or problems is a quick way for resentment and negativity to build up in a relationship. The last thing you want to do is project your own problems or insecurities onto your partner.
In her TikTok video, Hurvitz also says that blame was one of the other things that led to the demise of her marriage. "I wish I would have focused on what I did wrong, not my partner at the time. It doesn't matter whose fault it is. Does it matter who left the towel on the floor? No, don't let the towel ruin your entire marriage."
Understood the impact of love languages.
In a TikTok video, Lucy Cerezo talks about why she and her ex got divorced and points out that knowing her partners love language could have helped.
"My love langue is acts of service and I didn't know this but looking back on it, his love langue was gift giving," she said. "There was a huge disconnect there because I was expecting for him to do things for me and when he didn't, I thought he didn't love me."
Communicating your needs effectively is something you should feel comfortable doing with your partner, and knowing each other's love language can be a tool in helping one another feel needed and also cared for in the relationship.
Appreciated the other partner's hard work.
It's important to value your partner's role and work that they are putting into the relationship, whether it's picking up the kids from school or commuting to the office every day. In a TikTok video by @honestappraisal, he says that he developed a lack of respect for the role that his wife played. He used to tell his wife that being a stay at home mom was "a hell of a lot easier than going to work." Looking back, he says he didn't value his wife and her contribution to the family and is embarrassed by the lack of his.
"Appreciation helps our partner to feel that we recognize the ways in which they are working and contributing to our shared life,"says Sara Oliveri Olumba, a relationship expert and coach. "Without appreciation not only will our partner feel as though we don't notice their contributions, indeed, it is likely that we don't notice! It's easy to overestimate our own work and underestimate the other person's."
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Taken the commitment more seriously.
In another TikTok video from @honestappraisal, he says that although his marriage lasted for 28 years, the beginning of the marriage was when it began breaking down.
"At the very start, I did not understand the nature of commitment in marriage. I was not only young at 26, but I was naive. I had no idea what marriage or commitment was. I'm talking about long term commitment to a romantic partner."
When you commit to someone, it's important to be in a stage of your life where you are capable of knowing the true value of marriage, as well as the seriousness of the vows that you are taking.