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When it comes to marriage, everyone wants to only do it once, of course. But, sometimes the second time is the charm — with the same person! Here, real brides share the crazy stories of how they remarried their exes.
"We remarried 30 years after the split! The two main stressors the first time around were finances, and him hating his job. I was a stay-at-home mom. Now we are both smarter financially and love our professions. We remarried on what would have been our 38th anniversary and I wore my (modified) wedding dress from 1979." —Karen
"The first time around Patrick and I married after nine months of dating. We recognized there were issues but believed our immense love would be enough. We divorced in year seven when our son was three. I was devastated and didn't date for several years, eventually marrying a nice guy. (The love of my life was taken so I settled for second best!) My ex remarried too — with both our marriages ending two years later for unrelated chaos. After much hesitation we agreed to try again and went to counseling, marrying 11 months later. That was 2004. The first time we had a traditional church ceremony. Our second marriage was at Opryland Hotel in Nashville - the only ones present were our eight-year-old son and a handful of guests... I joke I've been married to Mr. Right, Mr. Wrong and Mr. Right at the wrong time. We both had lessons to learn and some of them had to be exaggerated and learned with other partners so we could see our part. When the same issues show up with different partners, it's time to ask, 'Who is the common denominator?'" —Angela
"Four years after our divorce we moved back in together. It took another three years before we decided to remarry — driving from Los Angeles to Vegas and eloping at a tiny chapel. It's been 10 years and our relationship is better than ever!" —Sheila
"My husband and I were married the first time right before we turned 22, back in 2007. We were so immature (I had never lived anywhere but my parent's house and was still in college), we didn't know how to cooperate as a unit — and we both definitely did not want to compromise. We fought constantly; resented each other and often times regretted getting married. We finally called it quits in 2010. Through the years, we toyed with the idea of getting back together. We dated, talked, but never really made a definitive decision on whether to be together. We dated others, he was actually engaged at one point to another woman, but we never really moved on from one another, even though he lived in another country. October 2015, I told him that I was done trying and if he wanted us to ever be together again, he needed to make a statement to show me he was serious. He promised things were different, that he was ready to be with me and that he never wanted to be without me again. Two months later he made a trip to visit me, and proposed in the middle of Disneyland! I said yes on the condition he move back to California from Canada and make a real effort to make things work. We remarried May 21, 2016. Our first wedding was huge — 150 guests. This time we went to the courthouse and had a backyard reception. We both now realize healthy relationships take compromise, having interests outside of each other, and communication is key. —Sara
"Bill and I had a big church wedding. We were 22 and 23 respectively. Twelve years in, his work involved a lot of international travel and we grew apart. When I packed a bag and left, he was shocked. He'd had no idea I was so unhappy. He wanted to try again, and I refused. Following our divorce, we only spoke through lawyers. I had another brief marriage, which ended with my husband's infidelity. After my sister died from cancer, a friend told Bill, who subsequently showed his love and support in ways he hadn't when we were together. We'd both come to realize what was really important in life — having someone to love and count on. We married spur of the moment while on vacation in Hawaii. This time it's for keeps." —Ellyn
Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.