Why Would Anyone Remarry Their Ex?

Wasn't one bad marriage to a person enough? What makes a man or woman think if they remarry, the result will be any different?
01/26/2012 12:50 pm ET Updated Mar 27, 2012

I know it happens. I know people remarry their ex and give the union another shot.

But why? Wasn't one bad marriage to a person enough? What makes a man or woman think if they remarry, the result will be any different?

I understand getting back together with a girlfriend or boyfriend. There's far less at stake than remarrying an ex. You don't have the legal considerations of joint property and child custody.

I say, break up with your significant other and get back together as often as you want. But allow yourself only one marriage per person.

I know of two guys who remarried their ex-wives. Guess what? Neither remarriage worked out. The two couples wound up in divorce court again. Surprise.

If anyone knows of people who successfully remarried each other, I'd like to hear about it. Why did they choose to remarry and how did they make it work?

I'm curious because I've met few people who regret their divorce. They may be sad the marriage didn't work out. But they don't second-guess the decision to end it. Usually, divorce happens after much contemplation when there's no chance of saving the marriage.

How do you start on the path toward remarriage? I suppose by dating each other again. You'd get dressed up, pick up your ex, and go to a fancy restaurant -- all with romantic overtures?

If you continue to date, what would it be like to kiss again? Have sex again? The mind reels.

I scoured the Internet for statistics on remarriage to the same person. I wanted to find out how common the practice is and the likelihood of success. But I couldn't find any stats. My guess? I'll bet way more than 50 percent of these marriage do-overs end in divorce.

I found a few articles that offered advice to consider before remarrying your ex. They agreed on a few points:

• First, explore why your original marriage failed and take responsibility for your role. See a marriage counselor to help both of you navigate this process.
• If you decide to start dating, proceed cautiously. Allow time for each person to confront their feelings and back out of the relationship if they choose.
• Don't imagine that you could recreate the marriage you once had. A remarriage must be a new start completely.
• Examine your motivation. Are you wanting to remarry your ex to make your kids happy? A marriage built on pleasing someone else won't survive.
• If you remarry, work hard to avoid the attitudes or behaviors that sunk the first marriage.

I agree with this advice. Still, I can't imagine a scenario in which I would remarry either of my ex-wives. (They would probably agree.)

Marriages die for a multitude of reasons. Once pronounced dead in divorce court, I don't see how a marriage could be revived -- and endure.