According to University of Michigan psychologist Dr. Terri Orbuch, who collected data from 373 couples, 46 percent of whom later got divorced, most divorced people shared the same basic five regrets about their marriages.
Here is the advice Dr. Orbuch gathered, based on the post-divorce experience of 210 people, of whom 44 percent remarried:
- Demonstrations of love are very important. Complimenting a partner, and saying “I love you” or holding hands go a long way. The most important ways to display affection are showing love, showing support, making a partner feel good about themselves and keeping things interesting in the relationship.
- Finances should be discussed. Money is the number-one source of conflict in most marriages. “Talk money more often – not just when it’s tax time, when you have high debt, when bills come along,” Dr. Orbuch says.
- The past is gone. Couples must let go of the past. “This includes getting over jealousy of a partner’s past relationships.
- Couples must not blame one another. Understanding begins by seeing a problem from another’s point of view. “There are multiple ways of seeing a problem,” says Dr. Orbuch.
- Communication is key. Forty-one percent of respondents cited communication as the number-one factor they would change in their next relationship. Dr. Orbuch believes in practicing active listening, “where they try to hear what the other person is saying, repeating back what they just heard and asking if they understood correctly.” She also says partners need to reveal more about themselves in order to maintain communication.
Divorced people cite bad communication as their number-one regret about a failed marriage.