Should You Stay Friends With Your Ex for the Kids?

Inspiring 15

My husband of nearly 10 years and I decided in July that were going to take a detour from "marriage city" to "divorce rock city," which isn't nearly as good as the song, but I digress.

After a decade together and three kids under our belts, we'd become more friends than partners, and it was time for us both to move forward in our lives. Just ... apart.

But we've been careful -- beyond careful -- to put aside personal differences and make sure that we stay friends after the divorce is final.

Why?

Simple: The kids deserve it.

I'm not here to be all glib and say that this is the easiest thing ever, because it's not. Divorce, no matter how you slice it, is so far beyond hard that sometimes I'm overcome, breathless, terrified, and down. Other days are easier, but nothing is quite the same as it was.

Seeing my husband moving on, seeing him build his life without me while I build mine alone ... well, it's tough to watch. Devastating, even. 

But we're separating because it's what's best for our family, no matter how difficult those moments may be. Putting up with the minor stresses like those means we're able to do things like have family parties and even go to them together. We're still family; we always will be. He's the father of my children, and no piece of paper will change that.

He and I speak most days about our lives, our children; we work together to ensure we each see the children as much as we can and that the custody arrangement is fair to us all. I'm proud that we've been able to put aside our squabbles and focus on what we truly are: friends.

As they grow, I hope that our children learn the value of friendships and understand that we all have the ability to overlook our differences and stay friends with the people in our lives who truly do matter to us. That's an important lesson, and one I wish I'd learned when I was young.

I'm sure it will be confusing to other families when we show up to events together with our children. It's certainly not the norm, and it's certainly not always easy to explain, but in the end, we know we're doing the right thing for our family.

Because that is what really matters.

Would you remain friends with your ex for the sake of the kids? Why or why not?


divorce, exes

15 Comments

To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

nonmember avatar NoWay

My ex-husband and I get along great ... better than when we are married. When our kids were little, they didn't even know we were divorced. We didn't live together, but that didn't seem weird to the kids, I guess. LOL. We don't always agree, but I do my best to be sure he can see the kids as much as possible. He has fallen on hard times so sometimes I will even pick him up and bring him to the kids sporting events and such. I am remarried and he was in a serious relationship. He and my husband get along, too, and I get along with my husband's ex wife. It makes life so much less stressful. :)

jacki... jackiecad

This is one thing that my divorced parents did well, even after my mother remarried, my stepdad and dad would both attend things together to support us kids, even when mom couldnt make it. When my mother passed away this fall my dad took it very hard even 20 years after the divorce because they had created and kept a strong friendship through the years and he was going to miss her and sharing our lives (and now the grandkids) with her. You go Becky, your kids will look back on this and be so thankful that you two showed them how to be good people.

nonmember avatar blh

If I ever get married I'm not going to get divorced unless I can't stand him anymore. Breaking up with my sons father has been enough of a hassle and we weren't even married. I'll never go through that again unless I'm absolutely forced to, so I'd say no I probably wouldn't be friends with an ex. Just civil.

nonmember avatar Samantha

Depends on how the marriage ended. I never plan to go through it, so its a non issue, but if things were managable, id be civil, but not exactly friends. I dont think i could be ok watching the person i love move on with another woman & family. I personally wouldnt be able to handle that well enough to be buddy buddy with everyone.

nonmember avatar Dee

My parents were both married a couple times and we had a very blended family. It took a little time after each breakup but everyone ended up being very friendly and it was awesome for us kids. I never thought it strange to go spend 2 weeks w/ my dads first wife and hang out with my brother & sis that lived there and on and on. To this day it makes things easier on my son and it's Soooo the best way if kids are involved. Good on you Becky, yours kids will appreciate it, other people often thought it strange, but very cool

early... earlybird11

Thank you for this! its a model to follow for anyone going through it. My dad divorced his first wife 32 years ago. my brother is 34 ; the first 3 years were rough to try and manage the divorce and find their happy medium but once both parties remarried and life was "moved on" our families are wonderfully blended in to what some find super weird! My mother "raised" my brother, as my father has primary custody - I regularly talk to my brothers bio mom, and her daughter from her second marriage is a very close person in my life. Every milestone for my brother, and some even for myself, she has attended.. just because you dont love someone a certain way that would include being married, does not mean they are not good people.

the4m... the4mutts

Xh & I get along better now that we're divorced. We were friends before we married, we're slightly less close friends now. He's not a bad person, hes a good father, and I respect him. We talk most days, even about things that have nothing to do with the kids. Recently he came to me for advice about a career change, because he knows he will get an honest answer from me. I told him that his idea was a good one, but wouldnt be as easy as he thought to tranfer his collge credits from accounting to teaching lol. But I know he would make a good teacher. He's always grateful for my input, even when he disagrees.

We get along, even if we still argue sometimes. I see no reason not to.

RoseL... RoseLiMom

i dont understand why marriage vows are so meaningless nowadays. You vow to be with someone through everything, until you die, but when the "feeling" of love goes away you just separate? My parents divorced for similar reasons, and my mom now knows it was a mistake. Unless there is abuse that cant be fixed through therapy, or adultery or something just horrible and unbearable STAY TOGETHER thats what you should do. Why not try and work it out? If you can be friends,  you can stay married. I seriously dont get it...vows mean nothing?

nonmember avatar Dee

Bot going to address the vows comment, that's a separate discussion. But to this day we are one big family and I always felt like it was just more people to love me and help raise what ended up being like 12 kids through remarriages. And it's for the kids, even when the adult relationship doesn't last most people still live the kids they help raised. When my brother died (moms son) my dad was as broken up as anyone, jumped in his car and was with my mom and her BF and all of us the whole way. When my parents divorced another brother lived with my dad over a year (not his biodad) because it was best at the time. You can divorce your spouse, but don't divorce the kids. And I adore my dads first wife, she always treated me like one of hers and we are still close. It's like that all over the family. Not one nasty divorce where people don't speak and the kids suffer.

Hocke... HockeyMomNJ

AB, you are spot on as usual. My ex and I are better friends now than when we were married. He's a great dad, and we speak all the time. Not gonna delve into the vows comment too much. But I did not want my son to grow up thinking that our marriage was the norm (as we were basically roomates with a kid). Nor do either of us deserve to fake it for the rest of our lives. Nobody plans on getting divorced, but it happens. There's plenty of guilt involved already, really no need for the extra judgement from people who have no clue about the situation. My vows meant everything to me, but then something happened - I became a mother. My son became way more important than vows.

1-10 of 15 comments 12 Last