5 Biggest Regrets Divorced People Have About Their Marriages

By Caitlyn Hitt for YourTango.com.

Why should we take marriage advice from divorced people? They know better than anybody, that’s why.

University of Michigan psychologist Dr. Terri Orbuch collected data from 373 couples (46 percent of whom later got divorced) during their first year of marriage. As reported in The Wall Street Journal, she found that most divorced people shared the same five regrets about their marriages. Here is the advice she gathered, based on the post-divorce experience of 210 of the subjects, of whom 44 percent remarried.

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1. Show your partner you love and care for them in any way you can. Small gestures like complimenting your partner, saying “I love you” or holding hands go a long way. The most important ways to display affection are showing love, showing support, making your partner feel good about themselves and keeping things interesting in the relationship.

2. Money matters, discuss it. Money is the number-one source of conflict in most marriages. “Talk money more often—not just when it’s tax time, when you have high debt, when bills come along,” Dr. Orbuch says.

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3. Leave the past behind you. Dr. Orbuch believes that to engage in a healthy way with your partner, you need to let go of the past. “This includes getting over jealousy of your partner’s past relationships, irritation at how your mother-in-law treats you, something from your own childhood that makes it hard for you to trust, a spat you had with your spouse six months ago,” according to the article. Write down your thoughts and feelings in a journal, talk to a friend or seek out a professional.

4. Don’t play the blame game. Ask your partner for their view of a problem. “There are multiple ways of seeing a problem,” says Dr. Orbuch. “By getting your partner’s perspective, and marrying it with your perspective, you get the relationship perspective.”

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5. Communication is key. Forty-one percent of respondents cited communication as the number-one factor they would change in their next relationship. Dr. Orbuch believes in practicing “active listening:” “where they try to hear what the other person is saying, repeating back what they just heard and asking if they understood correctly.” She also says partners need to reveal more about themselves in order to maintain communication.

This article originally appeared on YourTango.com: 5 Biggest Regrets Divorced People Have About Their Marriages.

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Millie OConnor
Millie OConnor6 months ago

Having many of the same likes and dislikes is also important to a good relationship, and liking each other, too. Laughter is a big plus as well. It took me a very long time to find my guy, after being divorced from my childrens' father, the wait was worth it. We have a wonderful life together because we not only love each other, we're in love with each other, too, and we laugh our arses off everyday. I can't think of anyone I'd rather hang out with either.

M.N. J.
M.N. J.6 months ago

This is pretty good advice, and some of it would work for all the different kinds of relationships in our lives.

The most succinct advice I ever heard about how to have a long marriage: "Don't get divorced."

Jo S.6 months ago

Thank you.

Amandine S.
Past Member 2 years ago


Jess No Fwd Plz K.
Jessica K.2 years ago

I've noticed a lot of divorced people take the characteristics they were attracted to in their partners and then see them as liabilities. A lot of personality traits have high positives and high negatives, like a charismatic person may be entertaining and engaging, but have a tendency not to have room for another ego without struggle. So maybe some of the key is remember the upside of characteristics, as long as they are not abusive in nature.

Lynne Willey
Lynne Willey2 years ago

if you met my ex-husband, you would know why I regret being young and stupid, smiles

Lynne Willey
Lynne Willey2 years ago

some of those are great ideas for any relationship, like communication

Vivian Birdwell
Vivian B.2 years ago

These are some good tips for a good marriage!!

Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola2 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Oh Lay Hoon
Oh Hui Xin2 years ago

These rules should be applied in every single stage of relationships,even among families.
Trust, respect and honesty are very important