Going through a divorce is usually an extremely painful experience. We typically enter a marriage expecting it to last forever, “until death do you part”, but the unfortunate reality is that often, something else beats death to the punch. In the United States, for example, between 40-50% of all first marriages end in divorce. Although painful, sometimes ending a marriage is the right choice to make, if both parties have grown apart or there has been inexcusable behavior taking place, such as abuse or infidelity.
But while high divorce rates are a common topic of conversation, we don’t often discuss how many people regret dissolving their marriages. According to a study from Avvo, 27% of women and 32% of men who have gone through a divorce regret ending their marriages. And recently, many people who fall into that category have been opening up on Reddit and sharing honestly why they regret going through divorces.
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We’ve gathered some of their most eye-opening and heartbreaking responses down below, so we know this article may be tough to read, especially if you have experienced divorce or once watched your parents go through one. But it can also serve as a reminder to hold on tightly to your loved ones. The grass is not always greener on the other side, and ending a marriage is not to be taken lightly. Be sure to upvote the responses that you find most impactful, and then if you’re interested in reading another Bored Panda article where people open up about what caused their divorces, you can find that right here.
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 realise how compatible I was with my ex and how rare that is.
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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.
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Not me, but a kindly older gentleman that I knew had divorced his first wife when their daughter was eight. He eventually remarried and had a son.
He told me once 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.”
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I initiated the divorce because I was unhappy, he was growing into a person I no long recognised 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 & I miss him everyday. I don’t know I actually regret it but I wish I’d tried harder.
He is about even with good and bad points but I decided I know longer wanted to spend half my time unhappy and more than anything, I wanted him to be happy more often too.
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My (physically/mentally/sexually) 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 and he is remarried and still hopelessly in love with and obsessed with my mother. Best thing that ever happened to her.
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I initiated the divorce because I thought that my depression was genetic, and we both really REALLY wanted kids. I couldn’t justify forcing a kid to feel the way I do, so I told her that I wasn’t going to have kids. She wanted to be a mom so badly, so I told her that maybe it would be best to divorce so she could find someone who she could have kids with. After the divorce I found out I have leaky gut syndrome, which basically means my intestines don’t digest certain foods correctly and let’s bad things into my blood stream which caused my depression. After fixing my diet and finding the right medication I’ve been so much better. I tried to fix it with her but I had damaged our relationship beyond repair in her eyes.
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Not a day goes by where I don’t think about her. Since the divorce I moved to Europe to be with my family. I’d give anything to take away all the pain that I caused her.
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I cheated on him. I was sure that was the end of it, and 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 find 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’d just like to add that 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.
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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 f*** 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.
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I did it during a psychosis. Once the meds hit and I came to my senses, it was too late.
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Not me, but my mom.
Recently divorced my father to ‘teach him a lesson’ about how she should be his one and only priority in life and he shouldn’t have any hobbies or interests outside of pleasing her.
Needless to say it’s not going well for her.
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Sometimes. Married 25 and together almost 30 and 3/4 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 8 years of our marriage, which was part of the problem, but he was also very frugal, and 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 to the fact that both my ex and I want to provide inheritance to our kids and divorce basically wipes that out, it gives one pause.
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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 young employee and I still wanted to make it work. He started making some financial moves & 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.
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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.
Yeah. I’m sad that my family has been ruined, and I’m 99% sure our kids have worse lives now. Also the PTSD of having my ex say she didn’t love me anymore and didn’t want to be a family anymore really broke me inside. I’ll never be the same.
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Every minute of every day. But I didn’t want it to end, certainly not like it did anyway. 14 years, many were tumultuous, with amazing highs and rough lows – but nothing compared to the agony of the heartbreak and grief/loss. She was abusive in every way, but I still love(d) her fiercely and just wanted her to get help.
Every damn day… yet you can only hold on for so long when someone is pushing away so hard because of their issues. I’m still not over it. I can’t date because I’m so fu***ed up over it 6 years later. Yet he’s out there living his best life not giving a f**k, even tho he destroyed our life after 14 years.
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I’ve thought of it this way: Both of us wish the circumstances were different. We regret that they 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.
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.
It’s hard knowing you can’t protect them, but you couldn’t protect them when you were together either. Having one stable household is better than none. Teach them empathy, self respect and morals. Demonstrate healthy behaviour. One day they’ll be able to make the decision themselves if they want the other parent in their lives and you can be there for them.
I wouldn’t say I regret it, but I wish it didn’t have to be done. I wish my husband would have grown up and gotten help and put some effort into fixing us so that the divorce wasn’t necessary. I absolutely don’t want the divorce, but I can’t stay miserable either.
Yes but only because I don’t get to see my kids all the time now
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Uhm yes. But I never wanted it. I wanted to work through it. Only signed because of the whole, “if you love them, let them go”. 🙁
I regret filling as fast as I did. Realistically when she left. I wish I would have snapped my phone in half and drove 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.
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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 2 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 6 years. But 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 your two young children… and would do anything for them… 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… she probably was cheating… but she was checked out at that time… 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 I’m crying inside. This isn’t how my life was supposed to be. It’s crazy how different things are now than they were 8 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.
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I initiated the separation because none of the problems we had talked about were being addressed. I wasn’t going to put in more work… But I wasn’t able to at the time (crappy work schedule, always sleeping during the day).
At least I told myself I wasn’t able to. If I had put in 15min to 30min of extra effort every day, I could have saved what we had… And made her feel a lot better about herself… And us in general… But I guess I was just a lazy POS.
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She had been withdrawn and acting weirdly for a couple of weeks, including a 5 day cruise. I finally brought it up during a fight and she admitted to acting differently because she had “given up”. I said that if she wasn’t going to even try anymore, then I wanted a divorce. The next day, she asked if I would consider a separation instead. I agreed to that, but it was essentially over. She would never again re-engage in the relationship again.
We ended up talking a lot more over the next few months. Actually, in some areas, more than we ever had in the previous sixteen years. But, it would take some work to overcome the difficulties that we had been having. She was clearly uninterested in doing any of that work. After a few months of separation she decided that she was done.
I regret that running my mouth in a moment of anger is an excuse that she’s used over and over as to why she wouldn’t try. I regret that my kids have had to go through this because of my mouth. I regret losing “family” that I had grown very close too.
I do not regret that the marriage is over. As soon as we separated, I started therapy for my anger issues. That therapy has put me in a better place emotionally than I have been in since I was a teen. When she moved out, I found that I really hadn’t been as happy as I had thought.
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Not myself, but my friend’s ex did this too him.
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 it’s 4 bedrooms. It turned out that the parents were full of s**t too – they started taking lavish vacations because they didn’t need to pay their mortgage anymore.
Anyhow, 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 2 years of their relationship before serving him with papers.
About 6 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 hot 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.”.
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I thought it wasn’t working and that I didn’t love her anymore. Now in retrospect, I realise it was different.
Basically what happened is that we were both so similar that we even had kind of the same mental issues (nothing too serious). After I did a psychiatric treatment and got better she started getting worse (like a late contagious disease heh). I thought that it was just her being a b***h. 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 f****d 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 f*****g this fragile bond by getting back together. We just wish each other well and that’s fine. Also I learnt 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.
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Absolutely. I often think we should’ve worked harder when things were tough
I do. I regret it a lot. My divorce should have never happened, and it was just a set of unfortunate circumstances that could have been easily avoided (mental health, drugs). We were a happy couple with a child. It’s been tough.
I regret how quickly we did it (I filed like straight after I found out he was cheating). We didn’t even try to work it out but then we tried reconciliation the divorce. It was a mess and ultimately the right decision but I think we should have taken more time to figure every thing out.
He was an alcoholic and very controlling and abusive. It was getting worse and I finally had enough. I didn’t want my son to grow up like that so I got a restraining order and got the hell out. I don’t miss him at all and I know I did the right thing for me…part of me wishes I had tried to stick it out and get more counseling/help for the ex (even though I know deep down those are only band aids and he would have gone back to the terrible behavior…tried before many times)…just for my son’s sake. I worry that he would have been happier if I had just stayed…also visitation time (supposed to be supervised by family members but still) just about kills me with worry. There were lots of good (sober) times but when it was bad it was terrible…deep down I know I did the right thing, no one should have to be afraid to come home every day and I hope the peace in our life makes up for what my son is missing out on…but I still second guess the decision and worry that I should have tried harder to work things out.
In Texas (and most states?) the court does not allow the custodial parent to move away from the NCP without the NCP’s permission. This is the default order in any divorce court order. So by initiating the divorce, I locked myself into living in Texas when I could have simply left the state and taken the kids, and by the time he filed for divorce, I’d have established residency for me and my kids in a better place for us all, and Texas could not have done anything to make me return.
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 c**p 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’s didn’t work because he convinced her it wasn’t the woman’s place. She had some c**p lawyer while he had some hot shot. He walks away with the house, the cars, and partial custody of the kids. Meanwhile she has no credit, no higher education, and hasn’t worked for the last 20 years. To top it all off her primary custody will be revoked if she finds at least a three bedroom place to rent inside their city. Naturally after it gets finalized and reality sets in she’s wants to go crawling back.