5 Biggest Regrets Divorced People Have About Their Marriages

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Divorce Regret: 5 Biggest Regrets Divorcees Have About Their Marriages
Heartbreak

University of Michigan psychologist Dr. Terri Orbuch collected data from 373 couples (46 percent of whom later got divorced) during their first year of marriage. She found that most divorced people shared the same five regrets about their marriages.

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Here is the advice she gathered about most common divorce regrets, based on the post-divorce experience of 210 of the subjects, of whom 44 percent remarried.

1. Show your partner you love and care for them in your marriage before it heads to divorce.

Small gestures like complimenting your partner, saying "I love you," or holding hands go a long way when you are in a marriage.

The most important ways to display affection are showing love, showing support, making your partner feel good about themselves. Also, affection keeps things interesting in the relationship so you don't feel bored in your relationship.

2. During a divorce, you may regret not talking about money.

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. 

Money should be something transparent in a relationship and it should be something that you can talk about without fighting or losing one's temper.

Money is something that causes tension, it always will. So, instead of letting it get to you as a couple, let money bring you together because it's something one person should be left out of.

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3. Leave the past in the past or you will regret it in the future.

Dr. Orbuch believes that to engage in a healthy way with your partner, you need to let go of the past.

She said, "This includes getting over jealousy of your partner's past relationships, irritation at how your mother-in-law treats you, something from your own childhood that makes it hard for you to trust, a spat you had with your spouse six months ago."

Write down your thoughts and feelings in a journal, talk to a friend, or seek out a professional. 

4. Try to not blame each other or it may lead to a broken marriage. 

Ask your partner for their view of a problem.

"There are multiple ways of seeing a problem," says Dr. Orbuch. "By getting your partner's perspective, and marrying it with your perspective, you get the relationship perspective."

5. Communication is the key to happiness in a marriage, or you will regret not talking when you are divorced. 

Forty-one percent of respondents cited communication as the number-one factor they would change in their next relationship because a lack of communication is the biggest factor in the drive to divorce. 

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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.

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Caithlyn Hitt is a freelance writer and editor who's work has been featured in Thrillist, Romper, the New York Daily News, and more.

Editor's Note: This article was originally posted in August 2012 and was updated with the latest information.