Maybe you’re facing marriage regrets because you got married too quickly. Or, perhaps you ignored the red flags and warning bells because you were in love. You wanted to get married – and you never dreamed you’d never regret it! But things changed. Maybe your partner changed. These tips for what to do when you regret getting married are inspired by a husband who rushed into marriage because he believed in love at first sight. After the wedding, his relationship with his wife changed and he realized he made a mistake.
On When You Find Out Your Wife is Cheating on You Jose said, “My case is different because I am the husband. I feel trapped in my marriage but I feel I can’t just throw her out into the streets. I am not that cruel. My wife does not speak English too well, but when we first met it was love at first sight.”
Jose goes on to say that his wife was great in the beginning but soon changed after they got married. That’s why he’s searching for what to do when you regret getting married, and why he feels trapped in his marriage. “My wife stopped loving me and only focuses on her son,” he says.
What advice would you give a man who regrets marrying his wife? Sometimes it’s easier to cope with feelings like regret and remorse when we imagine we’re giving advice to someone else. Try writing a letter to Jose. Tell him about your marriage and why you regret marrying your spouse. Finish this sentence: “If I were you, I would _______.” What do you find yourself writing to Jose? Maybe you’ll find insight and healing into your own marriage regrets.
Dealing With Marriage Regrets
Jose also said: “This is my stepson that I acquired through the marriage. I do everything I can to support my wife and her son. I work hard and do side jobs to bring extra income. I come home and clean the house, wash clothes, clean dishes, and restrooms. I do this just so that she can take it easy for a while but I soon learned that it was a mistake. She takes advantage of everything I do. She got a job working part time for a friend of mine and she does not appreciate what I do for her. She never communicates or tells me anything and I feel like I should not have gotten married. I feel like I can’t just leave because I don’t want my stepson to feel bad or think I’m a bad person.”
I don’t give advice, but I can share the questions that occurred to me when I read Jose’s question.
How are your children affected by your marriage?
Jose said he doesn’t want to leave his wife – even though he’s unhappy – because of how his stepson will be affected. This seems like a honorable, loving thing to do…but when I think about it more, I wonder how his stepson is affected by his mom’s marriage to Jose . What is he learning about love, life, making mistakes, repairing lives, moving forward?
If you’re wondering what to do because you regret getting married, or if you’re unhappy and trapped in a loveless marriage, you may be thinking about how your children will be influenced if you leave. I’m just curious about how they’re being affected now. They can sense what’s going on – perhaps they’re even caught in the middle of your arguments and pain.
What is the cost of staying versus the cost of leaving?
Before I experienced a divorce in our family, I didn’t think leaving a marriage was a big deal. I grew up with a single mom who divorced when I was a baby. So, to me, divorce seemed normal. Healthy, even. But when someone in my husband’s family experienced a long, painful, expensive, destructive divorce I learned how traumatic it can be. Even the friendliest of divorces are painful for everyone. So, I no longer believe couples should just divorce if they’re not happy.
I also don’t believe we were created to experience joyless, painful, dreary lives. Deciding what to do when you regret getting married is an individual, personal choice that requires reflection and wisdom. There are no easy answers; whatever you choose to do will be difficult. But if you make your next decision with with care and wisdom, you won’t regret it!
Have you talked to an objective person about your marriage regrets?
It can be helpful to talk to a friend or family member who is supportive and wise. If you hide your regrets – or if you feel ashamed by the marriage or your spouse – your emotional burden will grow. Find someone you can talk to, who can help you figure out what to do when you regret being married.
One way for you to resolve this dilemma is to consider the cost of staying married even though you regret it. Weigh that against the cost of leaving your marriage. I encourage you to do this “cost benefit analysis” with someone you trust. Counselors are often good people to talk to because they’re objective and experienced in helping people make difficult decisions.
Have you read the Boundaries books?
One of my favorite books is Boundaries in Marriage by Drs Henry Cloud and John Townsend. These counselors help couples understand the friction points or serious hurts and betrayals in their marriage. Do you want to stop regretting getting married and start finding a solution – such as creating mutual care, respect, affirmation, and intimacy you long for in your marriage? Learn how to set boundaries in your relationship. I thought of this book while reading Jose’s story, because it sounds like he’s allowing his wife to take advantage of him. He feels used and alone in his marriage – of course he regrets getting married! He doesn’t have a life partner, does he?
If you regret getting married because you feel you’re being used by your spouse, read Cloud and Townsend’s books on boundaries. Learn what your role is and how you can change your responses to your spouse. You can’t change your spouse, but you can change how you respond and feel.
In How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It, Patricia Love and Steven Stosny teach couples how to get closer in ways that don’t require talking about your marriage. This book has lots of stories about couples who have turned their marriages around, plus practical advice about the behaviors that make and break marriages. It’s a great resource that might be helpful for people who regret getting married, but don’t want to get divorced.
If you’re a woman who regrets getting married, you may find Did I Marry the Wrong Guy? I’m Still in Love With My Ex helpful.
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – C.S. Lewis