After Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston divorced in 2005, journalists spent years speculating whether Pitt would eventually leave Angelina Jolie and their large brood of kids and get back together with Jennifer Aniston. Rumours they were getting back together were constantly fuelled or generated by the press.
In early 2010 Aniston kicked off another flurry of press excitement when she said during an interview for GMTV that she believed “absolutely” that divorced couples could get back together “in real life”.
She was there promoting her film, The Bounty Hunter, in which a bounty hunter reunites with his ex-wife. Referring perhaps to the film and perhaps to her ill-fated marriage to Brad, she went on to say:
“Sometimes you meet each other in a time in your lives and you’re not necessarily ready…you haven’t been quite formed – not fully formed to sort of have the maturity it takes to be in a relationship.”
Whatever the truth may have been in her case, it’s clearly true that divorced couples do – sometimes – get back together in real life.
Here a couple describes marriage second time around – to the same partner.
Ben and Carrie
Carrie: We divorced after being married for 10 years. Ben had an affair and he left me and the kids for thisother woman. It was incredibly painful. We still saw him several times a week; he wanted to see the children and he still helped me with things around the house. Things were very awkward between us. We just couldn’t talk to each other at all. My lawyer urged me to hit him as hard as I could financially but I just wanted him back. The kids wanted him back. When we got divorced and the papers came through I absolutely howled with grief. I just couldn’t accept our marriage was over. We had a family and it seemed insane that he would just walk away. We were divorced for over two years before we got back together. He looked increasingly rough while he was living with his girlfriend and I got the idea things weren’t going well. He looked unhappy. Then he told me he’d moved out of her place and rented a tiny apartment. Frankly I was delighted their relationship fell apart.
He started to spend more time back at home with us. It was like walking on eggshells. I never really asked at that time what was happening between him and her. Things were too tense. Then one day he said he’d stopped seeing her altogether and didn’t want to see her any more. He cried and said he’d ruined all our lives for nothing. I asked if he wanted to come home and he said he did. I was frightened he’d do something else stupid though; he seemed so unstable. So we waited nearly three months. In that time he came round more and bit by bit we started talking. The first time we had sex after the divorce was terribly emotional. It made me miserable; for me, intimacy was very hard to rebuild.
But life went on and we gave it time. We remarried after two years and have been married, second time around, for ten more years. Our daughter is getting married soon and I’m just so pleased that she’ll have both her parents at her wedding, together, and that when she has children they’ll have grandparents who are together. I look back now and feel we’ve had, overall, a long stable marriage but with this huge terrible period of upheaval and instability in the middle. We were lucky to get through it.
Ben: The divorce was entirely my fault. A colleague started flirting with me and instead of rejecting her I got involved. There were any number of points at which I could have said No but each time I said Yes. Right up to leaving Carrie and the children. I was bewitched by this woman. She was carefree and single and being with her was such a contrast to home which was all about nappies, domestic chores, bills and organisation. But my big mistake was thinking life with her would be better. I was miserable without the children and, you know, very guilty about what it was all doing to Carrie.
The stupid thing is that I never stopped loving Carrie. It was just that this woman was like a drug. I worried constantly that Carrie might meet another man and I’d lose my children to him. And then it was like a fog lifted. I began to find my girlfriend shallow. She seemed immature compared to Carrie who was managing a job and the home and the kids without me. I became critical of her and found myself comparing her negatively to Carrie. It was also as if suddenly I could see what everyone else must think of me – a total rat who ditched his family. After a very brief period of feeling torn between my two homes I rented an apartment. It was as a transition really. I was on my way back to Carrie and the kids – if they’d have me. Luckily for me, they did.
When we remarried, the wedding was very low key but we had close friends round and I made a speech acknowledging what a loser I’d been. It took some of our friends a long time to accept me again – rightly.The kids were delighted we were back together and I tried to make their home as stable as possible after we remarried. I think the second marriage has been successful but it’s mainly because Carrie was so patient and forgiving. We’ve had difficult times over the years when it all resurfaced and she’s naturally resentful when she dwells on it. But most of the time we’re happy to be together again. I made a colossal, stupid mistake divorcing her.