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Divorced People Are Confessing Why They Regret Getting A Divorce, And It's Heartbreaking

"Even though he has forgiven me, I will never forgive myself."

People have been very vocal about when they knew it was time to get divorced and why they went through with it. But have you ever wondered about those who actually regret their decision?

In these Reddit threads from a while back, people who regret getting a divorce opened up about their experiences, and their perspectives may surprise you. Here are some of the most eye-opening responses:

1. "Not me, but a kindly older gentleman whom I knew had divorced his first wife when their daughter was 8. He eventually remarried and had a son. He told me once that if he could do his life over again, he would not have ever had that divorce. He loves his current wife and loves his son, but he said, 'No matter the troubles there were in my first marriage, losing them was not worth the pain and suffering the divorce caused my daughter.'"


Man hugging a young girl

2. "I cheated on him. I was sure that was the end of it, and I needed to 'punish' myself. He was willing to try to work through it, but I thought the damage was done and that I needed to move on to find happiness. I later found out that I had been depressed for a while, and might have cheated as a desperate act of 'trying to make something happen.' I have never regretted a single thing more in my life."

"I am absolutely aware that I deserve the outcome completely, and that is just something I'll have to try to live with. It is the biggest feeling of regret I've ever felt, and even though he has forgiven me, I will never forgive myself."


3. "I thought it wasn't working and that I didn't love her anymore. Now, in retrospect, I realize it was different. Basically, what happened is that we were both so similar that we even had kind of the same mental health struggles. After I did a psychiatric treatment and got better, she started getting worse. After we divorced, she did a psychiatric treatment as well, and she went back to being the woman I fell in love with, but after failed attempts to get back together, the relationship just deteriorated, and there was no way we could go back to being a couple."

"I was depressed for a year and got better very recently. We were a really happy couple, we loved each other hard, we had projects and stuff. She was there for me when I needed psychiatric help, but I wasn't there for her when she did. That feeling of being guilty messed with me for a long time. Today I can say I'm happy. We talk maybe once a month or two. We still love each other, but we don't wanna risk messing up this fragile bond by getting back together. We just wish each other well, and that's fine. Also, I learned a lot from the whole experience and became a better person thanks to it, so I'm forever grateful for having had such a great partner."


4. "I initiated the divorce because I was unhappy; he was growing into a person I no longer recognized, and so was I. We fought regularly; I was spending more and more time away from home and feeling better for it. It’s been 18 months since I left, and I miss him every day. I don’t know whether I actually regret it, but I wish I’d tried harder."

"He is about even with good and bad points, but I decided I no longer wanted to spend half my time unhappy, and more than anything, I wanted him to be happy more often too."


Man sitting on a couch and looking sad as he holds a cup of coffee

5. "My friend's ex regretted it. Long story short, she forced him to move in with her parents because they were having 'financial difficulties.' They moved in and took over paying rent for the parents, so he was basically paying the full rent on a house for the use of one of its four bedrooms. It turned out that the parents were full of shit too — they started taking lavish vacations because they didn't need to pay their mortgage anymore. Anyway, the parents started to inject themselves into their relationship, and things went south. She started working extreme hours and more or less ghosted the guy for the last two years of their relationship before serving him with papers."

"About six months after the divorce was finalized, she started to regret divorcing him, so she started stalking him on social media. Since the guy wasn't dumping 75% of his paycheck into somebody else's mortgage, he had bought himself a new car, new motorcycle, was living in a pretty chill house, and had found himself a new girlfriend. Needless to say, she got pretty jealous and tried to win him back. He basically told her, 'I don't play childish games. Move on.'"


6. "I've thought of it this way: Both of us wish the circumstances were different. We regret that things are the way they are. But I don't think I'll look back and say this is a mistake. We had an unhealthy relationship and couldn't agree on what a healthy one was. What a miserable way to live — hence the divorce."


7. "Not me but my cousin. He's a real holier-than-thou jerk, and no one blamed her for wanting to leave him. He was always pulling crap about how the woman should serve the man and all that. Well, after the divorce was finalized, she got a terrible deal out of it. She didn't work because he convinced her it wasn't the woman's place. She had a bad lawyer, while he had some hot shot. He walked away with the house, the cars, and partial custody of the kids. Meanwhile, she had no credit, no higher education, and hadn't worked for the last 20 years."

"Naturally, after the divorce got finalized and reality set in, she wanted to go crawling back."


A woman holding a wedding ring and covering her face with her hand

8. "My abusive, narcissist father served my mother divorce papers to 'teach her a lesson about how much she meant to [him] and would help her appreciate [him] more,' even though he didn't really want a divorce at all (his words), and she went through with it. They've been divorced 10 years, and she is incredibly happy. He is remarried and still hopelessly in love with and obsessed with my mother. Best thing that ever happened to her."


9. "Not divorced yet. I was unhappy and left her after over a decade being married. There were good years, there were bad years. I moved out, and she started seeing other dudes immediately. I waited and eventually found someone I care about. Meanwhile, she delayed the divorce proceedings over and over again. Nowadays, she wants me back and mentions everything from wanting to change to accepting a few ground rules that really needed to change. I'm torn the fuck up. I really, really like my girlfriend, but sometimes I sit and wonder if it could be fixed and whether not giving my ex a second chance is actually bad on my part. It's awful."

"On one hand, I love my girlfriend. On the other hand, I miss my family. And I imagine that if we just tried hard enough, I could maybe have just as good a time with the ex as I do with my girlfriend. Problem is, every time I see her, I feel uneasy. I don't know if it's related to us being apart, personal shame, knowing that I keep my girlfriend from her, or what."


10. "Absolutely, I do. I don't talk to my ex, so I don't know how he feels. It's partially fear of being rejected and partially a belief of 'If it didn't work then, it wouldn't work now' that keeps me from reaching out. We were young, and we were both changing, I think. And I felt like I couldn't be who I wanted when we were together, but now I wonder if he would have accepted me as I changed."


A wedding cake

11. "I didn't want a divorce. He left me for someone else, only to ping-pong back and forth until I said, 'Hell no.' And it was then that I realized that I could never get over what had happened between us. I wish I could have, and I think he has had a lot of regrets since then. And despite everything that I tried to forgive him for over the years (this wasn't the first time), I STILL feel like maybe I should have tried to forgive him one more time — for the sake of the kids, if nothing else. But at what point do I draw the line? After over 10 years of him seeking attention from other women, when do I say, 'Enough'?"

"As much as it has hurt to go through with it, I didn't feel like I could have self-respect if I didn't."


12. "I was very unhappy and blamed him for all of it, when it was just some of it. I should have stayed and tried harder to make it work. I've dated a couple of people since then, and I only now realize how compatible I was with my ex and how rare that is."


13. "It seems my ex-husband is starting to feel regret. I never wanted to divorce in the first place, so I obviously regret it — but there is too much between us to reconcile. I wish we could, though."


Man looking thoughtful

14. "I hate it. I didn’t want it, but I ended up being the one who had to file. He was having an affair with a younger employee, and I still wanted to make it work. He started making some financial moves, and I needed to file so that I would get my fair share of our assets. I hate saying I’m divorced, but in reality, I hate him more. If there is a word that’s stronger than hate, that’s how I feel about him and the trash he left me for. They mentally destroyed me. I wish I didn’t have to be divorced — so yeah, kinda regret it."


15. "Sometimes I regret it. We were married 25 years, together almost 30, and three-fourths of it was good to great. Wonderful kids and shared asset building. The painful, painful hit to economics is hard to recover from at my age and with my income. He had no income for the last eight years of our marriage, which was part of the problem, but he was also very frugal. The guy I am seeing now makes tons of money but spends flagrantly, which was fun at first — being showered with nice dates and presents — but now I better understand why he has so little to show for his money."

"Add the fact that both my ex and I want to provide an inheritance to our kids, and divorce basically wipes that out; it gives one pause."


16. "I regret filing as fast as I did when she left. I wish I had snapped my phone in half and driven away for a few days. Instead, each side kept escalating, and we ended up where we are now — basically slipped past the event horizon of the black hole that is divorce."

"I still hope for reconciliation; however, I'm still getting divorced, but I really want my best friend back, and I want the family unit back together. I put that at less than 10% probability."


And finally...

17. "'Regret' isn't the right word because I really didn't have a say. I desperately did NOT want to get a divorce. I was very happy, I loved my wife dearly, had two kids, and she just drifted away and wanted out. I wasn't going to hold her hostage in a marriage she didn't want to be in. It still hurts today, and it's been like six years. It has gotten much easier and better, but the hurt will always be there to some degree — I've realized that now. Divorce really sucks when you're endlessly in love with your wife of 15 years and you'd do anything for your two young children, but she just wanted out."

"We're on good terms. She's with someone else now (didn't take long for her to get with someone else; I suspected cheating, and I tried desperately to save the marriage, but I couldn't), and to this day, I die a little each time I see her with him, when I see them on trips with my kids or if I just go over there to pick my kids up. I've gotten pretty good at hiding the fact that I'm crying inside. This isn't how my life was supposed to be. It's wild how different things are now than they were eight years ago; it's like I'm living someone else's life now. So in the end, I regret that I HAD TO get a divorce. I'll regret that until the day I die."


A person in a kitchen holding a baby

Have you (or someone you know) gotten a divorce and regretted it? Feel free to share your story in the comments below.

Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.