Sometimes divorce just doesn't stick. Take Britney Spears' folks, for example. Just this week, People Magazine reported that Jamie and Lynne Spears have decided to give love another go after being divorced for eight years. Before their divorce, they'd been married for 30 years.
It's common for young children of reconciling couples to see their parents getting back together as a dream come true. And in some ways, a reconciliation can be in their best interests. "Unless there was anger and violence, for many children, the fantasy of their parents being back together continues for a long time," says Dr. Michelle Golland, clinical psychologist and momlogic expert. "If there can be mending, this will lessen conflict as they get older. For example, they won't have to address allegiances during family events like holidays and weddings. Even after many years, emotional issues surrounding divorce can continue to dominate the emotional landscape of the kids involved."
Thinking of reconciling with your ex? Here are a few important factors you should closely consider, according to Dr. Golland:
Reconcile for yourselves, not for your children. "The motivation should be for mutual love, respect and a wish for a happy future," says Dr. Golland.
Process the problems that dissolved your marriage. Enlist professional help to understand and renegotiate the relationship, with a healthy and mindful understanding of why the divorce occurred.
Focus on the positive. "When people divorce, the emphasis is often on the negatives and the faults in the other person," says Dr. Golland. "Concentrate on each other's strengths and focus on creating the positive and connected future you both desire."
Forgiveness is key. Marriages that end in divorce have endured many ups and downs. Forgiving each other for past wounds and letting go of the past are crucial elements in creating a better future.
Only tell your children once you are solid in your decision to reconcile. If you tell your children prematurely and it doesn't work out, Dr. Golland says you risk opening old wounds and devastating your kids. Also, waiting until you're both sure you're ready to give your relationship another go allows you both to better deal with other people's opinions about the reconciliation, which no doubt will be offered up -- for better or worse.