Dating Your Ex-Spouse After Divorce: Ridiculous or Openminded?

By Patrick Banks

Posted 5 years agoDATING

These days, a lot of spouses whose marriage has failed prefer not to scandalize and participate in the court battles but to deal with a divorce in a civilized way. The trend of uncontested divorces without litigation implies that the couple should be ready to negotiate and to settle their differences out-of-court. In many cases, such a peaceful approach helps not only to save money on attorneys but also to focus on compromise and keep smooth or even friendly relationships between ex-spouses.

An amicable divorce is definitely a mature and wise solution. You should not try to make a scene or let hate into your heart just to facilitate parting with “this awful person” and convince yourself that divorce was the right decision.

However, after any breakup (and especially after that kind when you stay with friends), you have to be ready for some “comeback.” And you have to be well-prepared so that no to drown into illusions, not to repeat past mistakes, and to save yourself.

In general, prospects for dating your ex-husband or ex-wife are not so scary. Stats collected by in Texas say that about 7% of divorced couples ended up remarrying each other. About 70% of these reunited spouses stayed together for a significant time. Though, let’s not forget that each case is unique.

Not a single survey will reveal to us the motives of the remarried spouses, whether they are happy, whether they live in a new way in a new marriage. And in the end, you are interested in your personal happiness only, aren’t you?

So, what factors usually affect such reunions? What cases dating ex-husband or ex-wife after divorce can hurt you, and when you should take the chance?

Foremost, look at the context. One of the most critical circumstances is whether you have children in common. One more essential thing is who was the initiator of the breakup and divorce. Let’s consider the most common scenarios.

Snappy Reunion: Passion or Confusion?

The most severe and unfortunate mistake is confusing ex-husbands or wives with whom you have children and common property with those formers with whom there weren’t any connections except sex.

And vice versa. That is, sometimes, the spouse abandons the person, but this person tries to maintain friendship cause the ex is a “close person.” In either case, there is an attempt to manipulate, to pressure.

Whether you have left the family, or the partner has left you, it is equally important to see the situation as if from the outside, before asking yourself: “Should I get back with my ex-husband/ex-wife?”

For instance, the partner dumped you, leaving you with the children. Conscience is bothering him or her. He/she misses their children, feels like a traitor. Also, your ex-spouse may be afraid that something bad will happen to you by his/her fault, or worry that you will shame him before common friends.

Your ex-spouse, especially the parent of your child, is forced to communicate with you due to many things that are not related to love or sex. He or she worries that their life and well-being will suffer from this breakup. Your ex will probably try to connect with you, but the way it may be expressed can be perceived by you egocentrically. So, there is a strong temptation to take any courtesies personally and feed your wounded pride.

But remember that after a divorce, maintaining self-esteem and inner harmony is the #1 priority on your to-do list.

Gaining Self-Esteem

So, what does a self-respecting person do in such a situation? Does he take advantage of the fears and confusion of the ex? Of course not. He removes these torture instruments which are hanging over the head of the ex-spouse.

A self-respecting person does not want to return to the partner by torture, does not want to force him/her to be together with. If you keep someone close to you using psychological abuse, disrespect, and disgust for you one way or another become greater. While the ex is tormented and has doubts, there may not be an aversion to you, these are usual fears and vacillation of a person after a divorce.

But you will undoubtedly provoke a negative attitude towards yourself if you manipulate these fears. Having an enemy on a common territory (children, mutual friends, property) is exceptionally unpleasant, so one wants to establish relations. It’s unpleasant, but when your ex hates you, he or she won’t care.

Behave decently, do not put pressure on the person in any way, not at all. Let your ex feel that nothing compels him/her to be with you – nothing at all except their feelings, except for the pleasure of being loved by you, of having emotional and sexual intimacy with you.

Due to problems with their personal borders, many cannot separate the common territory (sphere of influence) from their own. They either take away and hide the children, take common money, and blackmail the ex with the disclosure of personal secrets or waste themselves. They waste something which they have every right to and should not give away when they were dumped and betrayed.

So, if you were dumped, if your ex was cheating on you, you don’t have to sleep with this person.

It’s so simple. Common affairs, business stuff – yes, common children – of course, even spending time with common acquaintances – why not, but not sex. Sex is something that you have every right to give or not to give, and give to someone for whom your significance is sufficient, that is, corresponds to your self-esteem. And for the person who left you (and did not ask for the resumption of relations yet directly!) or cheated on you, your significance does not correspond to healthy self-respect.

Friendly chatter – also, no. Sitting and chatting about all kinds of nonsense, sharing innermost emotions and feelings is a level of very close relationships. Close relations should be equal and close on both sides! And the person who dumped you refused closeness.

He or she left distanced themselves, and you continue to pretend that intimacy has remained. Of course, you destroy yourself. You show that it’s normal to push you away, and you can stay all the same open, accessible, passionate, agree to any imbalance. And that all – only to maintain the illusion of “together.”

Dividing the Common Territory

You need to understand where your personal and joint territory is. Joint territory after separation is a territory that a person needs, regardless of you. These are spheres of life where you are more a function, a social role that a person would gladly replace with someone else (but yet cannot).

After a divorce, the joint territory should be gradually divided. The faster and better you’ll do it, the easier it will be for you. To divide property, to divide a business, and even a company of friends should be gradually changed or divided. Also, you should try to agree on child custody and visitation so that a definite schedule replaces ongoing negotiations.

If you do not have children and business issues in common, then it is better to step aside completely. If you will have to communicate, communicate politely and friendly, but minimal. Demonstrative hostility, suffering, or expectations expressed even non-verbally are the same manipulation as active aggression or obsession. No need to complain or brag about your new life. The less personal details ex-spouses know about each other, the better.

If the relationship ended not in the worst way, sooner or later, the initiator of the breakup wants to reconnect. This happens in almost 100% of cases. At a distance, the bad is gradually forgotten; nostalgia arises, something is rethought.

What exactly is rethought and how, and how serious the ex’s intentions – all this is not your business. This not in your sphere of influence. Do not try to get into a person’s head and guess his intentions, and even more, do not draw conclusions or take anything other than clear and direct proposals seriously.

How to Survive Comebacks and not Lose Yourself

A self-respecting person understands that when one dumps their spouse, and then comes and tries to embrace him/her, they try to tell that:

1) they are scared to break it off

2) emotional attachment has remained

3) they feel guilty and fear the responsibility for the breakup.

A self-respecting person does not want to push those buttons that do not relate to respect and love. Therefore, he or she doesn’t settle for less and does not begin to show that he or she is excited and glad of any sexual activity. But also, there is no need to push the ex away angrily with shouts: “Don’t you dare touch me, asshole!” or smth like that. Both options are disrespect for oneself.

A self-respecting person will treat the attention of an ex-husband or wife with respect, but without trying to “save the poor thing.” He or she understands that the former spouse is afraid, he or she sympathizes with the fact that the ex is in doubt and guilt. A self-respecting person will say that everything is fine with him/her and that there is no need to worry. And will distance without resentment and suffering on their face. But also, he/she will not try to reassure and console the ex too zealously.

If You Want to Take it All Back

If that’s you who left your spouse, think twice if the attraction that arose after the divorce is not guilt, fear of changing your life, or nostalgia. You do not have the right to count on the good personal boundaries of the abandoned partner. You are only responsible for your own. It is in your best interests to avoid a situation when you return to your family and change your mind in a week. It is in your best interest to be with someone you truly respect.

Therefore, treat yourself and your former partner with respect – do not rush things, do not arrange scenes, and do not be jealous. Divorce is officially the end of a relationship, and no one owes you anything. Use a divorce as a reminder of what you should always remember – you are two separate personalities with their own will. A good relationship cannot work out if you perceive the other as an extension of yourself or if you think that the partner automatically wants the same thing as you do.

If you want to renew relations with a partner with whom you have children, your decision must be clear. This is a renewal of family relationships, and no “just dating attempts.” When you are sure you will understand this clearly. Until then, take care of your life, career, children. Work on establishing the partnership as parents, and find a compromise regarding custody.


In general, the goal of each person after a divorce is not only to “survive” it but also to make their life happier in the future. After all, divorce has happened for some actual reason.

Both for those who initiated the breakup and for those for whom the divorce came as a surprise, it is foremost useful to think about your mistakes – about how to become self-sufficient and find inner harmony. It makes no sense to waste energy on blaming the former spouse and shifting responsibility. Only your personality is under your control.

And the good news is that any constructive work on oneself leads to amazing results immediately. You become stronger, more confident, and therefore more attractive without any special manipulations. Meeting with your ex ceases to seem a test of strength. Finally, if both of you feel this way, you may be ready for dating each other again – the coast is clear.

Happy reunions are possible and beautiful when the initiator of the separation shows confidence and perseverance, and the abandoned spouse does not show or even feel the need, emptiness, inferiority. In other words, both former spouses should sincerely want to “cure the disease – not the symptoms.”

About the author Patrick Banks

Patrick is a Berlin-based dating advisor, motivational speaker, a huge fitness and vegan diet enthusiast and the main editor at Wingman Magazine, specialised in men's health. His ultimate goal is to share with men around the world his passion for self-development and to help them to become the greatest version of themselves. He believes a healthy body and successful social interactions are two main keys to happiness.

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