What to consider for couples who divorce and remarry: “boomerang couples”

Boomerang couples are those who remarry their ex, sometimes even years after they originally divorced. There are many celebrity examples, including Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Melanie Griffith, and Don Johnson, now probably most famously known for their daughter, actor Dakota Johnson, and Eminem and Kim Mathers.

Psychotherapists believe that the reason couples reunite, sometimes after decades apart, can be found in why they separated in the first place. But what should you do if you are seriously considering getting back with your ex? What impact will it have on the children? Are your original reasons for splitting up still there? In this article, we discuss all these things and look at the case of Steve and Ann Berry from Redditch, Worcestershire, and Julie Minter and Martin Copland from Pavenham, Bedfordshire, who reunited after divorcing.

What are the main reasons for couples getting back together?

Research into the reasons couples reunite has found that divorced individuals find loneliness one of the most difficult things to cope with. But the following were also given by significant numbers:

  • 73% forgave their ex for an affair
  • 40% found they still loved each other
  • 29% reunited for the sake of the children
  • 16% said they missed their ex-spouse
  • 15% got back together for financial stability

I one example reported in the press, Steve and Ann Berry from Redditch in Worcestershire were married for over 22 years when they divorced. There were no arguments and the couple drifted apart, so when the divorce finally came, anguish and bitterness replaced the happy memories. For many years, Steve and Ann couldn’t even be in the same room and they struggled to have civil conversation. So, what changed? When Ann experienced problems with her new relationship, she turned to Steve for help, and she found herself comparing the relationship to the one she’d had with Steve. Realising how close and loving their marriage had been, Ann left her partner and rekindled her relationship with Steve. They married in 2012, some five years after divorcing.

What factors should I consider when getting back with my ex?

There are a number of things to think about before getting back with your ex-spouse, such as:

  • Why did you break up in the first place? You don’t have to re-examine every single reason, but you should ask yourself if the main issues are still there; if so, getting back together may end the same way. What has changed that makes you think things will be different this time?
  • Has your ex done something to make you believe they have become a better or more capable partner? Have you changed, or are you the same person?
  • Are you both willing to put in the work it takes to repair what failed before? If trust was broken, can it be rebuilt?
  • Think about attending counselling together. There must have been very real reasons for the split, so addressing these issues is essential if you are going to move forward as a successful couple. Relationships are regulated by behavioural patterns, and these are likely to reemerge if they are not adequately addressed.



Taking it slow

After deciding to get back together, you don’t have to go full steam ahead from the get-go. Although it is tempting to pick up from where you left off, it can be helpful to slow down and take it easy before changing your Facebook status or letting your family know. Think about how getting back together will affect the children. They will be devastated for a second time if the relationship doesn’t work out. And what about the in-laws? Respective parents probably took their adult child’s side; how are they going to react, and can you deal with the potential fallout? It is important to remember, not everyone will be on board.

Some couples, like Steve and Ann above, take years to realise they’ve made a mistake, whilst others realise much quicker. In another example, Julie Minter and Martin Copland from Pavenham, Bedfordshire married following a whirlwind relationship in 1999. However, tensions soon emerged after spending long periods apart because of their careers working abroad. Birthdays were missed and they disagreed over what their priorities should be. Although they divorced and had new partners, they were in constant contact with each other and were struck by regret, which never left them. Less than 2 years after their split, the couple reunited and married for the second time after Julie proposed whilst on a Caribbean cruise.

If you are remarrying and you feel you need legal advice, contact specialist family solicitor Mark Heptinstall of Slater Heelis Solicitors. He is recognised as a ‘Leading Individual’ in The Legal 500 and ranked in Chambers UK, and is described as having “the amazing ability to bring calm into troubled waters”.

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