23 Signs You're Not Ready to Get Remarried, According to Experts
These are the signs that you should wait before getting remarried, according to relationship experts.
That first post-divorce romance can completely change your perspective on relationships. It can help you rediscover your confidence in long-term love and your ability to maintain a healthy partnership. And that quest to restore one's faith in romance makes many divorced people eager to tie the knot once more. According to 2014 research from the Pew Research Center, 58 percent of divorced men and women go on to marry again. However, just because a new relationship feels like a perfect match doesn't necessarily mean you should be rushing back down the aisle. With the help of couples counselors, divorce mediators, and family therapists, we've rounded up the surefire signs you should hold off on getting remarried.
You haven't rebuilt your self-esteem.
Divorce can be a devastating blow, one that may leave your self-esteem low enough that you're willing to accept a new partner who doesn't live up to your standards. And if you find that this is the case for you, then you should definitely hold off on getting remarried.
"Only after a person has reestablished a healthy self-concept should they consider remarrying," says couples counselor and marriage therapist Randy Schroeder, PhD, author of Simple Habits for Marital Happiness.
You still fantasize about getting back together with your ex.
Hindsight is 20/20, so after your divorce, you might find yourself seeing your ex through rose-colored glasses—or even imagining what it might be like to give things another shot. But if you're feeling this way, that's a sign that remarriage isn't in the cards just yet.
"It is important to not just get over a breakup," says Schroeder. "What is essential is being reconciled to the fact that that relationship ended and the book is closed and cannot be opened again."
You blame the end of your marriage solely on your ex.
While it may be clear to you that your ex is responsible for the demise of your marriage, if you blame them alone for the collapse of the relationship and refuse to take any responsibility, you may need some time to reflect before tying the knot with a new partner.
"We often want to blame the other person, but if we don't see how we contributed to the problem, we will not learn from our experience, and we will likely bring those problematic interpersonal skills into the next relationship," says Erik Wheeler, a divorce and post-divorce mediator at Accord Mediation.
Or you haven't fully processed your feelings about your divorce.
If you are still seeking closure from your last relationship, you're probably not ready to get married again. "You need to take time after the divorce to process the feelings you have—you may have anger, guilt, or regret," explains Wheeler. "To do this well, and learn from it, you will need to take time to reflect and learn everything you can from the failure of the relationship."
He suggests that people pursue therapy to help them come to terms with the feelings their divorce may have brought up and to prevent them from repeating destructive patterns.
You hate your ex.
While the end of your marriage may have been contentious, if you're still full of white-hot rage toward your ex, you may want to hold off before saying "I do" again.
"You will carry those feelings forward and may even transfer some of them [onto your new partner] if you recognize any similar traits in them," explains Atlanta divorce lawyer Randall M. Kessler, Esq., author of Divorce: Protect Yourself, Your Kids and Your Future.
You haven't finalized important details of your divorce yet.
Those nitty-gritty details of your divorce will loom large over your new marriage if you don't resolve them first. "It's best to focus on those details until they are wrapped up," says Wheeler. Those who don't wait tend to bring the baggage and stress of those decisions into their new marriage, he explains.
Your life is still very much linked to your ex's.
If you want to get remarried, you should wait until your life is less intertwined with your ex's. Whether you're still trying to sell your home, are arguing over custody, or are simply still sharing a Netflix password, you're better off cutting the cord completely before you walk down the aisle again.
When your ex is still a part of your life, they "have a lot of power over your new marriage," explains Elinor Robin, PhD, a Florida Supreme Court-certified mediator and mediation trainer and founder of A Friendly Divorce. "Until you are able to move away from the ex drama and focus totally on the new relationship, it's too soon to remarry."
You can't live on your own.
Does the thought of coming home to an empty house seem unbearable to you? If so, you may want to rethink rushing back to the altar. "You are not ready to remarry after a divorce if you cannot live on your own," says Robin, who notes that an inability to live alone may cloud your judgment in your new relationship.
You still talk about your ex all the time.
If you're still bringing up your ex every chance you get to friends, family, colleagues, and (worse yet) your new partner, it's a sign that you need to work through those feelings before remarrying. As Wheeler explains, talking about your ex ad nauseam suggests that "you are still emotionally entangled with that person and you're not ready to be with someone else."
You haven't discussed the negative aspects of your past relationship with your current partner.
While taking every opportunity to talk about your ex certainly doesn't bode well for a new relationship, it's important that you discuss what happened in your former marriage so you can learn from those mistakes as a couple.
"About six to nine months into the relationship, exploring the bad and ugly of your former relationship is important to help you avoid repeating mistakes or negative patterns in this new relationship," says licensed marriage and family therapist Jennie Marie Battistin, founder of Hope Therapy Center Inc. She emphasizes that including the part you played in the end of your last marriage is essential in order to make your next one last.
Your new partner reminds you of your ex.
If your new partner shares a striking number of similarities with your ex, it might be a good idea to think about why that is before you get remarried. "People seem to be attracted to the same types, over and over," says Kessler. This is a "huge red flag," he notes. "Think long and hard about how you were first attracted to your previous spouse, and how that turned out."
You haven't introduced your kids to your new partner.
It's essential that your children are not only aware of your plans to get remarried, but that they have a relationship with their future step-parent and step-siblings before you walk down the aisle. "Just as you hopefully worked to build a sound relationship for this new marriage, you need to build a sound relationship with the kids," says Battistin.
Or you haven't talked about your expectations of them in terms of child-rearing.
Similarly, if you and your new partner are going to be living with your children, it's important that you're on the same page regarding how involved in child-rearing they'll be. This means discussing everything down to the smallest details, like how you'll spend the holidays. "Not discussing how you will blend those traditions can begin to cause a huge ripple of divide that can slowly deteriorate the relationship," says Battistin.
You've only been dating for less than a year.
You may feel like you've found "the one," but if you haven't been together for at least a year, you should wait to get remarried. "People can change through different seasons of the year," explains Battistin. "This can be due to differing work stresses, family obligations, or possibly even past negative experiences or traumas at certain seasons of the year." She recommends that people wait to see these changes in their partner before making a lifetime commitment to them.
Or you're still in the honeymoon phase.
While the honeymoon phase may feel like the perfect time to tie the knot, you might be going into that new relationship with blinders on. "During this magical time, your partner appears perfect," says Robin. She notes that falling in love leads to an increased production of oxytocin and cortisol that can cloud your judgment of the person you're with. "These hormones temporarily alter brain chemistry, making it difficult to accurately see the beloved's negative qualities."
You haven't had a fight with your new partner.
Though it may sound counterintuitive, if you haven't had a fight with your new partner, you're probably not ready to marry them yet. Healthy fighting—meaning no name-calling, yelling, or personal attacks—provides "an opportunity to discuss how you felt about a particular situation or issue, your reality of the situation, what triggers may have been involved in the heat of the moment, and what you can do next time to avoid said fight," explains Battistin.
You're trying to prove something to other people.
"It's not a good idea to get remarried because you think it will ease the feelings of isolation and otherness," says divorce mediator and divorce coach Dori Shwirtz. "Marrying just for this reason will probably result in even more isolation."
You haven't gone to pre-marital counseling with your new partner.
While some people may see pre-marital counseling as a sign a relationship is in trouble, it's actually a great way to work out any issues before they cause the demise of your relationship. "Investing in pre-marriage counseling is like an insurance policy for success," says Battistin. She notes that pre-marital counseling lowers the divorce rate among couples by up to 60 percent.
You haven't discussed finances with your new partner.
If you and your future spouse haven't been open with each other about your finances—and how you plan to split expenses going forward—you've got some work to do before you get remarried.
"If you haven't opened the books and been honest about debt, savings, and your spending habits, that is a red flag," says divorce attorney Debra Schoenberg of Schoenberg Family Law Group. She recommends getting on the same page about all major financial decisions before walking down the aisle.
You're looking for financial support.
Divorce can leave you in a precarious financial situation that you're desperate to get out of, but you'll want to bolster your savings solo before jumping into a new marriage. "Getting married and having financial stability can be a wonderful thing, but if that is the leading and maybe only reason for getting remarried, that's a bad idea," notes Shwirtz.
You have significant financial burdens relating to your divorce.
Divorce is expensive, so you're better off waiting to remarry until you've gotten a handle on those costs. "Unless your new marriage will not significantly reduce your ability to resolve these issues, why not resolve them first and start your next marriage with a clean slate?" suggests Kessler.
You rely on alimony.
If your alimony payments are keeping you afloat, getting remarried can quickly put an end to that. "Those payments will go away if you get remarried," explains Los Angeles-based certified family law specialist Steven Fernandez, principal owner and managing partner at Fernandez & Karney. "It's important to consider your financial situation and need—and if your new spouse can support you—before tying the knot."
You're scared to negotiate a prenup.
While talking about a prenup isn't exactly romantic, if you and your new partner are unwilling to even discuss one, you may want to take a step back. "If this conversation is too difficult for you to have now, while you are within the window of happily ever after, how are you going to hold difficult conversations or work through challenging problems later on, when the stresses of life are pushing one or both of you over the edge?" asks Robin.