BetteBack April 16, 1997: Rekindled love on the rebound

Winnipeg Free Press
April 16, 1997


WHEN Ann Taylor and Layton Payne eloped to Sedona, Ariz., six years ago, they promised to remain together “till death do us part.”

As with a lot of married couples, divorce got there first.

But nearly four years after splitting up, the Houston couple decided to try again.

They were remarried recently in a traditional ceremony before family and friends at the chapel of Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Houston.

Their reception included wedding cake and champagne.

The bride even wore white, “as inappropriate as that might be,” she joked. But the couple is serious about making this marriage last.

“We tried divorce. It didn’t work for us,” says Taylor, who owns a public relations and marketing communications firm. “This time around, we really want to do it right.”

More than half of all marriages in the Houston area end in divorce. And when they do, the majority of exspouses run as far away from each other as they can get.

Yet amid all the divorce chaos, it seems that a growing number of exspouses are seeking to re-establish a relationship that might work better the second time around.

While no statistics are kept on the number of remarriages between former spouses, getting together with an ex is the focus of a new Bette Midler movie, That Old Feeling, and happens often enough to turn up as a topic of conversation.

“Most people have sort of a fatal fascination with the idea,” says psychologist Sally Porter-Ross.

Attorney Earle Lilly handles some of Houston’s nastiest and most highprofile divorces. But even he is seeing couples who reunite after fighting it out in divorce court.

“People think the grass is always greener in the next yard,” Lilly says.

But after they get divorced, he says, they find out the grass isn’t that green after all. “They really realize what they had, and in some cases, it’s not too late.

Franklin Rose and silhouette artist Cindi Harwood. The’couple, who regularly appeared in social columns during their nine-year marriage, were divorced for six years before recently rekindling their romance.

“As you get older, what you really want is companionship,” Rose says.

The couple had remained friends after their divorce in 1991, largely because both are devoted to their two children. They had active dating lives but found they kept comparing their dates to their former spouses.

“I had fun at first, but we both had our fill (of single life),” says Harwood.

Her feelings for her ex came to the surface last December when she went out with an attractive single man. Her date kept talking about his ex-wife’s bad habits, and Harwood found herself listing her ex-husband’s good habits.

“Here I was on a date with someone who I thought was really nice, and I’m praising my ex-husband. That’s a crazy thing to do,” she recalls.

When she got home around midnight, the telephone rang. She knew it was Rose. “No one else would call me at that hour,” she says.

He was calling from a hospital emergency room. He had fallen on a sidewalk in front of her house, dislocating his shoulder, after returning their two children home from a basketball game.

“There’s no one to pick me up,” he wailed She went to the hospital to fetch him.

Since doctors couldn’t operate on him for two weeks, Rose, Harwood and their children went to his parents’ home in Aspen, Colo.

“Cindi nursed me back to health,” Rose says. “I felt like my family life had been given back to me. It seemed very cosmic, like what God intended.”

“I realized no one else seemed to compare to him in every single way,” Harwood says. “Sometimes you have to run away from home to realize there’s no place like home.”

The couple are waiting to remarry until they find a new house, because they want a “fresh start,” Harwood says. Having had a large wedding the first time, they are planning a small ceremony with their children, their parents and their rabbi.

Rose is convinced that their marriage will work the second time. “I’m older and wiser,” he says. “Besides, I can’t afford another divorce.”

Rekindled love can be powerful, psychologists say. But there are pitfalls.

Sometimes it feels so good to be back together that couples ignore problems that broke them up in the first place.

“When couples reconnect, it feels so good that they think surely it will work this time,” says M. Dorsey Cartwright, a marriage and family therapist. “But unless they’ve done something to mature themselves and learn more skills, that (romantic love) will: wear
off just like it did the first time, and those old issues will be there.”

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