Are You Friends With Your Ex?

When 20-something Lissa married Bud, who was 23 years her senior, she was his third wife. Bud had five children; four from his first marriage and one from his second. And, he was friendly with both of his former wives, Bonnie and Marjorie, so Lissa became friends with them, too. I even knew them because they’d come to many of the get togethers Lissa and Bud loved to throw for their friends and family.  

Douglas and I haven’t been married for decades, but we’re best friends and love spending time together. My daughter-in-law cooked a birthday dinner for me yesterday, and Douglas joined us.

A young woman I know, who is living apart from her husband,  goes on “dates” with him.

Although animosity often accompanies divorce or separation, who wouldn’t prefer friendship and goodwill with someone you once “loved”?  When young children are involved, they, too, benefit from an amicable relationship between their parents.  Even adult children like to see their parents “together.”

“It is rare, it seems, that couples are able to hold onto a friendship and remain close while still moving on after the divorce. I am always impressed when I see couples who manage to stay friends, as it takes strength in character and an understanding of the bigger picture to rise above the hurt,” writes Seth Meyers, a licensed clinical psychologist, author, and relationship expert, on www.psychologytoday.com.  “While we can’t do much to change the state of affairs in other couples, you can reflect on your own relationship. If you are single, reflect on what you hope for in your next relationship. If you’re looking for a partner who is also your best friend, think in advance about what you can do now to make sure that you never have to see an ex and treat him or her like a stranger,” Meyers continues.

If a relationship stops working, it doesn’t mean you chose the wrong partner. He might well have been the right partner then; he just isn’t the right one now.

Every relationship actually teaches you what you need to attain “true fulfillment,” Meyers believes.  “Barring cases of abuse, learning to forge a friendship with your ex after divorce can be a truly healing experience and allows for an important integration of your past with the present.”
I adore the Netflix show,
Grace and Frankie, with Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Sam Waterston and Martin Sheen. Although the characters Sam and Martin play announce that they’re gay and in love with each other, their former wives don’t stop loving them.  Sure, the women were mortified and upset, but once they accepted the reality of the situation, they figured out how to move on with their lives and keep their exes in them, too!

If you’ve maintained a good relationship with your former husband, we’d love to hear your inspiring story. Tell us what you do to keep your ex in your life by filling out the form below. We’ll keep your name anonymous if that’s what you’d prefer.