5 Mistakes Nearly All Divorced Women Regret Making

You will survive these difficult times, avoiding these mistakes will help.

Divorced woman reflecting on things she regrets Zanuck | Canva

When I was going through my divorce, I was lucky enough to be connected with a number of women who had traveled the treacherous path to divorce before me and who could guide me through it. Now, 10 years later, I want to share with you what I learned from my divorce, and also my clients, about getting through a divorce and starting to navigate life after it.

Five Common Mistakes Divorced Women Regret Making

1. Not getting professional help

When you learn how to drive a car, you get help. To learn math in high school, you got help. To deal with that medical issue, you got help. If you are going through a divorce, something you have never done before, why wouldn’t you get help?


I know lawyers are expensive but they are expensive for a reason — they know what they are doing and can help you get what you need to navigate your post-divorce life. And lawyers don't have to break the bank if you use them judiciously.

When I got divorced, I went to see a lawyer and she suggested I use her for advice and my husband and I could use a mediator to attend to the nitty gritty of our divorce. By doing this, I had her on my side, answering questions when necessary, and we hired a mediator (who was much cheaper) who helped us build a settlement. She read my agreement before we filed it and found some errors - namely a two-year shortage on my alimony. She was worth every penny just for that.


Another professional you need is a therapist or life coach. You will be navigating some difficult waters and having someone who can support you emotionally will be key. I know you have your friends but they are biased and will bring their own stuff to their advice so getting someone impartial will be crucial.

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2. Leaving stuff on the table

When I was getting a divorce, even though he was the one who wanted it, my ex-husband dragged his feet at the end. He canceled meetings with our mediator and missed deadlines. I got frustrated and almost threw in the towel, just to get it over with.

I have a client whose husband was willing to give her “whatever she needed to be OK” at the beginning but as the divorce wore on, he became more argumentative and less willing to help. The conflict was wearing on her and she was tempted to just walk away, to sign the agreement so she could move on. If she had done that, she would have walked away from some support she really needed to be okay. Instead, she stayed the course, knowing that ultimately her husband would come around, if only so he could get the divorce he sought.


Are you in a place where you are getting frustrated by the length of divorce negotiations? Is your soon-to-be ex manipulating you, maybe making you feel guilty by asking for so much? If yes, don’t throw in the towel. Stay the course and advocate for yourself. And talk to your therapist/life coach about how it makes you feel so you can find the strength to stand firm.

Arguing is a mistake nearly all divorced women regret Cast Of Thousands via Shutterstock

3. Letting emotions rule

Women are emotional creatures and that is OK. Unfortunately, many women can let those emotions overwhelm them so they aren’t thinking clearly or behaving productively. When you are going through a divorce, don’t let your emotions overwhelm you.


I have a client who simply couldn’t accept that her husband wanted a divorce. Whenever she saw him, she berated him for his actions and refused to talk. She refused to get a lawyer and stopped showing up for court dates. Ultimately, despite her checking out, her husband got the divorce that he sought and she got less than she was entitled to.

Another client used every conversation with her ex to rail against him for the choices he was making. She belittled him, acted passive-aggressively, and tried her best to make him feel guilty. As a result, he had no interest in working with her to find an amicable divorce settlement. If she had only stayed calm when dealing with him she might have gotten the settlement she needed quicker and with less of a fight.

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4. Not being honest with your kids

For many women, the instinct to protect their kids from the messiness of the divorce is a natural one. After all, we moms do whatever we can to protect our kids. Unfortunately, in this instance, shielding our kids from the realities of what is happening is a bad idea.


While kids don’t need to know the nitty-gritty of the divorce agreement, they need honesty about what is happening. After all, their parents are getting divorced and that is life-changing for them. Be sure you are there for them when they have questions and answer them honestly. While it might be painful in the moment, ultimately having the information they need to process will be helpful. And they will continue to trust that their mom will always be honest with them, a vital thing in these tumultuous times.

It is also important that you don’t bad mouth your ex to your kids. That man, even if you don’t like him anymore, is their father and always will be. They don’t need to hear from their mother how horrible he is. Talk to your friends and your therapist about your ex, not your kids. Your kids should not be the ones supporting you.

5. Dating too early

Many women are scared of being alone after a divorce. They worry that they will never love or be loved again. And so, they start dating. And dating only derails everything.


I must admit that I was guilty of this. Two months after my husband moved out, I started dating and a few weeks into dating I entered a relationship. A few months later that relationship ended and I was devastated. Again.

Getting into a relationship is a bad idea for a few reasons. The first is that you just aren’t ready. Your marriage is ending and you are processing that. You are in negotiations with someone you made a vow to love forever. You are navigating waters you have never navigated before. These things you must manage — being distracted by another person won’t help you do so. Furthermore, being in a relationship where you are only badmouthing your ex isn’t very attractive, and you will only push away your new person by bringing him into your messy life.

And, the last thing you need right now is more heartbreak and more reason to feel horrible about yourself, which often happens in the treacherous world of dating.

The time will come when you can put yourself out there and date but now is not the time. Now is the time to focus on taking care of yourself and heal!


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Come out the other side successfully

I know that they might be hard to hear, and implement, but listen to someone who has been there, done that, and who knows many other women who have come out the other side successfully. Divorced women want to support divorcing women and won’t lead you astray.

From a mountain top, she sees the mistake divorced women regret making Olha Volynska via Shutterstock


I do want to add one more regret that many women have — thinking that the divorce is all their fault and that, if only they had tried harder or had more intimacy with their husband or weren’t so nit-picky, things might have ended differently, or not ended at all. I want to remind you it takes two people to take care of a relationship. What is happening is not all your fault. Yes, you might share the blame, but running negative tapes over and over about what loser you are isn’t going to help you get through this tough time.

What I can promise is you are going to be OK, you will survive these difficult times, and you will come out the other side a happier woman, one who will now have the opportunity to be who you want to be and find the love you seek.

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Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate who works exclusively with women to help them be all they want to be. Mitzi's bylines have appeared in The Good Men Project, MSN, PopSugar, Prevention, Huffington Post, and Psych Central, among many others.