Heidi Klum and Seal were caught kissing. Something they probably used to do every day. Perhaps several times a day for years and years. They made babies together so they did even more than kiss, too. They were intimate in the most intimate sense of the word. And then they weren't. They broke up in January 2012, But, as I mentioned, Heidi and Seal were just recently caught kissing. Not in the "I want to be with you" way. In the "I made babies with you and we're co-parenting now" kind of way. Which is a weird way.
It's really strange to go from kissing someone every time you see them to not being able to kiss them in a romantic way anymore. I'm going through this very thing with my ex. And I'm not sure I'm doing it the "right" way.
When I see my ex, which is every week at pickup and dropoff of the kids, we say hi. Smile. Not a whole lot of eye contact. We talk about the kids. Maybe a little more. But it feels awkward and strange. We don't kiss hello. We don't kiss goodbye. We don't hug. We don't greet each other as we would friends, which is typically a cheek kiss or a quick hug. We have, but it's been odd. Stiff. Forced? Confusing? How are you supposed to do this divorce thing anyway? Is there a manual? I didn't read the marriage manual so clearly I should read something to at least get this divorce thing right.
I just don't know how to be around him. Do I go with my instinct and give him a kiss on the cheek hello? Or is that overdoing it? I kiss friends I don't know nearly as well as I know my ex hello. And my ex is one of the few people who knows me better than anyone. At least I thought so. He was there for the birth of our children. He's bought me maxi-pads and hemorrhoid cream at the drugstore. He's been in the bathroom with me when I was ... doing stuff. A little peck as a greeting shouldn't be such a big deal, right? Wrong.
These are the little things that change when you break up and yet still have ties to each other ... a.k.a. those two amazing children we created. These are the things that happen during divorce that no one warns you about. Sure everyone talks about custody and who's paying for ballet class, but we're on our own when it comes to figuring out how to act around each other.
Seal said after his breakup with Heidi, "Just because you decide to separate, I don't think you all of a sudden stop loving each other. I don't think you all of a sudden stop becoming friends." And he's right in a way, but it's misleading. Because things stop. They have to stop or else you would still be a couple. It's all learning about how to stop and being okay with that stop and what to do when things stop. The kissing. The hand holding. The touch on the knee. The sharing of bills. The family dinners. The cuddling in bed. It ends. And then you start again, but different. Learning how to be parents together, who are not together. Maybe all of that takes about 21 months or more to figure out because that's how long Heidi and Seal have been broken up and they seem to be just fine.
Then again, it's just a photo. Everything can look just fine in a photo. Just like my marriage did.
How do you greet your ex? Do you think it's strange to kiss your ex hello even when you are co-parents?
Image via Jennifer Mullin/Flickr