When America looked at the failing marriage of actress Debra Messing and husband Daniel Zelman this week, plenty of us saw the ending Hollywood seems to bring to marriages. I saw two parents who are in a pretty sucky situation and are trying to make the best of it. And I see one of the luckiest kids on the planet: 7-year-old son Roman.
It seems Messing and Zelman have technically been separated for months now, but they've been sharing a house. The goal is to make things as easy on Roman as possible. But it's not two parents in a house that makes Roman lucky.
Messing's kid is lucky because his parents have taken his needs into consideration at all. If there is any one key to helping kids survive divorce, that seems to be it.
Honestly, I want to say that living together while you're divorcing is the perfect thing, and everybody should do it. But I can't. For some people, it may work out just fine, and to them I say mazel tov, go for it.
Sadly, I see too many of my friends who are barely able to speak civily to their former spouse over the phone; living together would likely result in someone being arrested. And no kid wants to visit Daddy (or Mommy) in prison, you hear? Some people need the benefit of distance to be able to deal with their grief and summon the courage to act like adults for the sake of successful co-parenting.
Besides, I can't even begin to contemplate the logistics of trying to date again. "Hey, dude I used to bump pelvises with, would you mind throwing some chicken nuggets the kid's way because I've got to shave my legs and put on purty flirty panties, ya dig?" Yeah, no, not on my life. If I'm ever to walk the divorcee path, I'd much prefer I not know when the father of my child is sowing his oats thankyouverymuch.
But while some people are shaking their fists at Messing and pulling the OMG, what an idiot celebrity card, I have to give her and Zellman credit. They're navigating rough waters, and there be sharks ahoy. And they seem to be doing it, it not swimmingly, then pretty darn well. They've figured out a way to put their adult differences aside to make it work for their kid. That's something that should give every parent hope.
Have you ever lived with an ex post break-up? Were there kids involved?
Image via Rubenstein/Flickr